Monday, July 7, 2008

The Simple Checklist: Effects of Covert/Emotional Incest and the "Chosen Child"


From "The Emotional Incest Syndromeby Patricia Love with Jo Robinson.. Exploring the dynamics of covert (emotional or non-sexual but gender-related) incest.

Note: This checklist [FROM THE INSIDE COVER] is contained in the longer “Symptoms of Enmeshment” checklist. But if you don't want to take the long one, this general one will do.



If you follow the family paradigm taught by these groups, I only ask that you read and consider this information. I believe that the truth of it will resonate and remain with you, even if it is filed away in the back of your mind. As it was with me, the truth of it from examples in my own life were astounding. Twenty years ago, I could have written most of this list as a description of my own feelings without any coaching. If you baulk at it today, that's okay. It is my hope that it will return to your remembrance later, as it did for me when the truth of it remained.


Were You A Chosen Child?



1. I was the source of emotional support for one of my parents.

2. I felt closer to one parent than the other.

3. I got the impression a parent did not want me to marry or move far away from home.

4. Any potential boyfriend or girlfriend was never "good enough" for one of my parents.

5. I felt I had to hold back my own needs to protect a parent.

6. I felt responsible for my parent's happiness.

7. I sometimes felt invaded by a parent.

8. One of my parents had unrealistic expectations of me.

9. One of my parents was preoccupied with drugs/alcohol, work, outside interests, or another sibling.

10. One of my parents was like my best friend.


If you answered yes to three or more of the above statements, you may have been a Chosen Child and suffered the emotional abuse of a parent who was overly involved in your life. In this insightful and groundbreaking book, you will learn how to recognize the signs of emotional incest and what you can do now tor reverse its negative effects in your adult life.


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