Fusion in Relationships

Fusion is a way of relating between people who do not have a strong sense of self. Largely unconscious, it avoids the anxiety of feeling separate. Fusion exists in families, both extended and nuclear, in groups, and in pairs (especially intensely in marital pairs or parent-child pairs.)

When optimal relational development has occurred, separation anxiety has been mostly resolved allowing flexible connection with moments of intense closeness and moments of secure separateness. This opposite of fusion has the name differentiation.

Fusion is strongly self-perpetuating--growing up in a fused family stunts differentiation and produces the tendency or need to seek fused relationships with everyone including one's children. Fusion has far-reaching effects on the lives of those who must participate: