Monday, July 7, 2008

The Hidden Messages Sent to Children in Familes Affected by Covert/Emotional Incest

From The Emotional Incest Syndromeby Patricia Love with Jo Robinson.

From page 44:

Hidden Messages that Lead to Perfectionism

  • You've never caused me a minute's trouble.”

Translation: “Don't rock the boat. If you want something different than what I want to give you, too bad. You can want only what I want you to have. Repress the rest of your needs.

  • You've always been an easygoing child.”

Translation: “Be happy. Be pleasant. Don't feel your anger, sorrow or pain.”

  • You're the only one who truly understands me.”

Translation: “I would be totally alone in the world if it weren't for you. Therefore, you must sacrifice yourself to be here for me. My needs are what count. Helping me is what's important. If you have needs that conflict with mine, I don't want to know about it.”

  • You are such a special child.”

Translation: “Be like I want you to be. I have hidden needs that I want you to satisfy.”

  • Of all my children, I expect the most out of you.”

Translation: “I've selected you to be the one to make my life worth living. All my unfulfilled desires rest on your shoulders. Give up your playfulness. Sacrifice your own view of the world. Cooperate with the unspoken agenda.”

Excerpt from
Dr. Patricia Love's
The Emotional Incest Syndrome:
What to Do When a Parent's Love Rule's Your Life

Bantam Books, 1990