Understanding Engulfment in Relationships

Have you ever felt like the relationship you are in is consuming your entire life? That’s a feeling of engulfment, and it can be very difficult to manage. Engulfment is a term used to describe feeling overwhelmed and consumed by a relationship. It can make someone feel trapped in an unhealthy situation.

Let’s dig into what engulfment looks like and how to deal with it.

What Does Engulfment Look Like?

Engulfment is often experienced as an imbalance of power between two people. One person may feel they have given up too much of themselves to their partner, while their partner continues to take more and more without reciprocating any emotional support or love in return. This can manifest itself in different ways, such as one person constantly putting the needs of their partner above their own or one person taking control of all decisions for both people in the relationship.

Engulfing relationships often come with feelings of guilt and shame for not being able to “do enough” for the other person or not meeting their partner’s expectations. This feeling of guilt can make it even harder to escape from an engulfing relationship because guilt prevents us from taking care of ourselves first before our partner.

Dealing With Engulfment

If you find yourself in an engulfing relationship, there are some steps you can take to regain power and start healing from this experience. The first step is recognizing that this type of relationship is harmful and not normal, no matter what your partner may tell you otherwise. Once you have identified that this behavior is toxic, take time away from the situation if possible—even if it’s just a few hours every day—to clear your head.

You don’t owe anyone anything; so don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about needing some space or time away from them. Taking a break will also give you some much-needed perspective on the situation, allowing you to see things more clearly and gain insight into what’s really going on between you two. If needed, reach out to friends or family members who can provide emotional support during this trying time as well.


Engulfment can be incredibly damaging to our self-esteem, mental health, and overall wellbeing if left unchecked for too long, so it’s important that we recognize when we are in an unhealthy relationship before it gets too far out of hand. Remember that no one deserves to be treated with disrespect or without love and understanding; if someone isn’t giving those things back to us then we shouldn’t hesitate to leave them behind for healthier relationships elsewhere! Take care of yourself first before tending to others; only then will true healing begin!