This is an uncomfortable book to read, as I can see not just myself, but a great many people I know, in its pages. It's about covert incest, which is apparently as common as, well, the regular kind. If not more.
Covert incest is not a physical violation, but rather more about parents enmeshing their emotional lives with their children to compensate for an unfulfilling relationship with their spouse.
Given that most people on this planet would rather gouge out their eyeballs than admit their parents seriously lack in parenting skills, I recommend this book to: EVERYONE. Needless to say, most everyone will refuse to pick this book up, for fear of what it will reveal. But the few of you who have the courage to, will find it an eye-opener (much better than turning away or the eye-gouging option, both of which just leave you blind). Here are just a few of the many lines I'd like to share:
"There is nothing loving or caring about a close parent-child relationship when it services the needs and feelings of the parent rather than the child.
"The boundary between caring and incestuous love is crossed when the relationship with the child exists to meet the needs of the parent rather than those of the child .. the child becomes an object to be manipulated and used so the parent can avoid the pain and reality of a troubled marriage. The child feels used and trapped .. over time, the child becomes preoccupied with the parent's needs and feels protective and concerned. A psychological marriage between parent and child results. The child becomes the parent's surrogate spouse.
"In a covertly incestuous relationship, the parent complains to the child about the difficulties in the marriage .. Both parents are active participants .. one is getting some needs met through the child and the other is relieved at not having to deal with the reality of the dissatisfied partner.
"As long as the abuse or neglect experienced in childhood remains buried within, we recreate our family all over again in adult relationships.
"Many of these families appear well put together, almost the ideal or perfect family on the outside. This makes it much more difficult to confront the past in an effort to find the roots of one's current struggles to grow and become healthy.
"It isn't always the abuse, neglect or abandonment one suffers as a child which later interfere with happiness, but rather the distortion in perception which results. The classic example is, 'I beat you for your own good'. Certainly being beaten is damaging, but being told it is for one's 'own good' is the factor that will haunt the child for a lifetime.
" .. it is a set-up for some some form of addictive or compulsive lifestyle. Because of the broken spirit, pain and discomfort of being objectified as a child and feeling inappropriate sexual energy, the adult covert incest victim has a difficult time being comfortable with his body. Addictions represent an escape from the body and a way to medicate feelings. Sexual addiction and workaholism .. food addiction, alcoholism, compulsive spending, shopping, gambling and drug addiction are also common.
" .. those people who give in regularly to their addiction (be it food, sex or gambling) are the ones who remain in denial about the root injury that opened the way to the addiction in the first place.
"Covert incest victims seldom experience life as spontaneous and guilt-free. Rather, they are burdened with a sense of never doing or being enough and are removed from the real or true inner life of who they are. Early on they realise their only source of self-worth rests in sacrificing their own needs and feelings to the emotionally vacant and seductive parent. For a child there is no choice in this - it is a matter of survival. Yet these children intuitively know and as adults are consciously aware of the murder of their souls.
"Real emancipation cannot be given. It must be taken. Emotional maturity cannot be realised until emancipation occurs. You cannot be an adult man or woman and simultaneously hold onto Mommy or Daddy."
When Parents Make Their Children Partners
by Kenneth M. Adams, Ph.D.