Emotional incest

Emotional incest occurs when the child believes they are responsible for their parent’s emotional well-being. This can happen when the parent talks to the child as though the child were an adult. The parent may request advice from the child regarding adult issues and can even place the child in the role of therapist.

When the parent is sad or lonely, it’s up to the child to make them feel better, or at least feel their feelings with them. The boundaries are blurred and meshed. The child may lack any sense of emotional separation from the parent (Love, 2011).


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