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Emotional Incest - What is it?


Psych Central defines Emotional Incest as the following:

Emotional incest is also called covert incest. It’s closely related to the concepts of:

  • Enmeshment. Enmeshment involves relationships, often in a family, with blurry or nonexistent boundaries.

  • Parentification. Emotional incest is closest to the type of parentification known as emotional parentification, in which a child is forced to take on the emotional burden that a parent or caregiver would usually shoulder.

An an example of this is the single mom who encourages and expects her eldest son to be "the man of the house" which can translate to parenting the other children, supporting her emotionally, being expected to being emotionally responsible for her, not having appropriate emotional boundaries with her and aligning themselves with their parent as a peer and not a child. This happens frequently in household's where there are either single parents or discord in relationships that brings the child in for emotional stability. This is a dangerous slippery slope. This will translate overtime for the child to impact their intimate relationships in the future. This can be averted by the adults being responsible for themselves and having a tribe of their own separate from their child to get their emotional needs met. Don't be afraid to support yourself.


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