About Covert Incest from “Silently Seduced” by Kenneth Adams. Exploring the dynamics of covert (emotional or non-sexual but gender-related) incest.
From pages 99 – 105:
The primary task for covert incest survivors is to separate from the opposite-sex parent. [Blog host note: It has been my task to separate from the same-sex parent, and the sexualized energy was actually limited punishment for being womanly.] The fact that so many covert incest survivors remain inappropriately bonded well into their adulthood suggests a tremendous struggle to let go. The separation will not be given. Real emancipation cannot be given. It must be taken. Emotional maturity cannot be realized until emancipation occurs. You cannot be an adult man or woman and hold onto Mommy or Daddy. For a marriage and a relationship to work, full access to your emotional and sexual energy is necessary. Even then, it's tough...[A] relationship cannot be fully functional when leftover sexual energy is tied to the opposite-sex parent...
Remember that abandoned and hurt little child inside you has likely created a rich fantasy life about love, sex and romance as a way to cover your pain. If you continue to attempt to create adult relationships out of your fantasies, you will add to your sense of abandonment and chronic feelings of dissatisfaction. Keep working toward acceptance of the reality of yourself and your partner. You stand a much better chance at establishing a workable relationship. Allow yourself to grieve the loss of your fantasies and illusions...
Set boundaries and make your personal needs a priority in your relationship. The fear of losing yourself in a relationship is usually founded in truth. The incestuous relationship teaches you to sacrifice your needs for the love of your partner. Though this is needed at times in all relationships, you may experience a loss of choice and do it chronically. The hope is that maybe finally your needs will be met. This doesn't work, and the seeds sown for deep resentment eventually help erode the relationship.
It's okay to do what's good for you and not be concerned with pleasing your partner all the time. Setting boundaries needs to be concrete, even though you fear it will displease your spouse. It is crucial that you begin to develop a tolerance for allowing your spouse to be angry or displeased with you. If not, you'll stay stuck in the incestuous pattern of trying to please in the hope of getting your needs met. At this juncture, it is no longer your parent betraying you – it is your own self-betrayal.
You're likely to feel guilty in these attempts. Your guilt is the result of being violated in the incestuous relationship. Allow yourself to be outraged over being burdened with so much guilt. Your sense of outrage helps you to set boundaries. Adults who grew up with dysfunctional parents who did not use them to gratify their own needs do not feel enormous guilt when they attempt to get their needs met.
Health Communications, 1991