Examples of emotional incest may include:
- A mother confiding in her daughter about her marital problems, seeking emotional support and reassurance from the child, rather than her spouse or a therapist.
- A father relying on his son to fulfill his emotional needs, seeking comfort and validation from the child rather than seeking appropriate adult relationships or therapy.
- A parent discussing intimate details about their sex life with their child, forcing the child to become an unwilling participant in their sexual relationship.
- A parent making the child feel responsible for their emotional well-being, saying things like “you’re the only one who understands me” or “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
- A parent treating the child more like a partner than a child, such as sharing inappropriate jokes or engaging in flirtatious behavior.
It’s important to note that emotional incest can take many different forms and may not always be obvious or easily identifiable. The key factor is that the child is being forced into an inappropriate and unhealthy emotional relationship with the parent.