Emotional Incest (or Overt Incest), while not overtly physical, is still characterized by an inappropriate sexual energy in which an adult uses a child to fulfill their own emotional or emotionally sexual needs.
Characteristics of this kind of relationship, often fraught with role reversal, can include the following:
Age-inappropriate sex talk from the parent to the child Constant demands from the parent for attention, security or for their emotional needs to be satisfied by the child Lack of privacy boundaries, such as engaging in sexual behaviour in front of a child or watching a child undress Conditional value placed on the child based not on who they are but on whether they can please/amuse/soothe the abuser Experiencing a sense of being objectified or dismissed as valid Feeling special or important, often to one's own detriment Swinging between feeling significant to feeling useless or worthless based on the perceptions of others
Effects on the person throughout their childhood and adulthood may include:
Addictive/compulsive behaviours Trouble setting boundaries Trouble maintaining or becoming interested in relationships of an intimate nature Dissociation Difficulty with self-care (emotional and physical) Co-dependency (especially within love/hate relationships where the person may feel repelled by another's personality but maintains the relationship out of a sense of loyalty or obligation) Attraction to negligent or abusive individuals Sexual dysfunction Feeling a deep sense of shame, violation, or grossness (feeling "icky")
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