Covert incest, or emotional incest, occurs when a parent or caregiver relies on a child for the support that an adult partner would usually provide. They may also treat the child like a romantic partner. Covert incest is different from physical incest because it does not involve sexual abuse.
Do you know someone that tells their children everything? Makes them a best friend? Pours into them about their finances, marriage, struggles in life? Highly possible they are in an emotional incest relationship with their children, even adult children.
The term sounds horrible because when we think of incest we think of physical or sexual relationships but a toxic relationship with your children can be just as damaging.
When my mother and dad divorced I was a victim of emotional incest. I was given the 411 on everything. I knew every need my mother had, she talked about her problems and her finances, and I believe held nothing back. It’s partly why I grew up faster than I was supposed to grow up.
It’s more common than you think. We see it, especially in homes where one parent is absent. If a parent is absent due to work or extra curriculum activities then the other parent left home doesn’t have a spouse present for emotional support. If a spouse is a narcissist and cannot give the emotional support needed then the parent turns to the child. I’ve seen it when one spouse dies and the widow feels lost and becomes dependent emotionally on the child.
Even if we think this child is mature enough to handle it or they are a young adult, no, just stop. Children and young adults do not need to hear your stuff. If they have never bought and car then why are you asking them their opinion on purchasing a car? It’s much better to phone a friend than to tell your children stuff they have no business hearing or knowing.
Emotional incest is unhealthy and many ways toxic. Allow children to grow on their time not as we need them for our support. Give young minds the freedom from our issues that they cannot solve. Let’s have respect for our children and ourselves by honoring them as the child and us as the parents.