Sanctuary for the Abused

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Covert Incest

Covert incest typically occurs in families where one parent (the shadow parent) does not actively participate in family affairs, thus setting the stage for the other parent (the invasive parent) to turn to a child for emotional support. The invasive parent in effect makes the child a surrogate spouse who is forced to take on the responsibilities of the shadow parent. The roles are essentially reversed; instead of the parent looking after the child, the child is responsible for the parent's well being. This is a terrible burden for a child to carry, as a child is incapable of meeting the emotional needs of an adult.

Relationship problems are endemic amongst covert incest survivors. They often fall for the wrong type of partner—someone who is a replica of their invasive parent. Thus, their emotional needs remain unfulfilled which leads to unhappy relationships.

Because of the conflicting emotions that result from growing up with an invasive parent, survivors usually find themselves both attracted and repulsed by members of the opposite sex (or same sex, depending on their sexual orientation and gender of the invasive parent).

In addition, since the atmosphere in which they were raised was sexually charged, it is common for survivors of covert incest to use sex as a means to intimacy. This can result in sexual addiction or other types of dysfunctional behaviors as an adult.

Covert incest can persist all the way into adulthood. As long as one remains in such a relationship, it is impossible to form healthy relationships with others. Unless the close bond with the invasive parent is altered, the parent will continue to interfere in the life of the child, causing problems to arise in relationships.

If the invasive parent refuses to change the nature of the relationship, there may be no other recourse than separation. This separation can be temporary or permanent. What is important is for the child to set firm boundaries which the parent cannot cross. Depending on the severity of the situation, it may even be necessary to permanently separate from the invasive parent.

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shared by Barbara at 12:30 AM


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