Forum Replies Created
December 3, 2021 at 3:10 pm #389375
Wikipedia on the topic of covert incest aka emotional incest: “Covert incest is described as occurring when a parent is unable or unwilling to maintain a relationship with another adult and forces the emotional role of a spouse onto their child instead”. Pam (the boldface feature next, and in the rest of this post is my addition): “I.. have no close friends… I am married but I have depended much more on my daughter, and sometimes my son, for emotional support than my husband“.
Wikipedia, definition of covert incest: “an emotionally abusive relationship between a parental figure and child that does not involve incest or sexual intercourse, though it involves similar interpersonal dynamics as a relationship between sexual partners”. Pam: “My love language is words of affirmation. My daughter (is)… more of a ‘thinking’ personality than a ‘feeling’ one… I’ve always ‘needed/wanted’ from her an affirmation of her love and support and felt as if I’ve rarely gotten it… Two years ago, I was… sick for a year. During that time… she was completely everything I’ve ever needed and wanted from her. We were very close, communicated constantly and she wanted to be with me all the time… She told me… how she couldn’t do it without me, how she never wanted our relationship to go back to what it was, how she loved spending time with me, etc… I don’t feel the closeness and comfortableness with her that we used to have; it seems awkward when we’re together and I cry all the time“.
The rehab. com: “The phrase ’emotional incest’ can be a bit misleading… The word ‘incest’ usually refers to sexual acts, but emotional incest isn’t sexual. Instead, it’s a relationship between family members that’s psychologically inappropriate. Most commonly, emotional incest occurs when a parent is lonely and treats their child as a partner… The American Psychological Association defines covert incest as a form of emotional abuse. The adult is prioritizing their needs over the child’s, at the expense of the child’s mental well-being”. Pam: “I’ve always felt a need to control her… I’ve always “needed/wanted” from her“,etc.
The rehab. com, continued: “A covert incest relationship can take many forms, including: … The parent feeling jealous when the child develops relationships with others. This can cause the child to feel guilty about external relationships and avoid building friendships or romantic relationships”. Pam: “she has recently become friends with a family that she has a lot in common with… and she spends a lot of her time with them, including the mom. I am aware that I have jealous feelings regarding this and don’t understand why she needs a mother-figure when she has me“.
More from the rehab. com: “emotional incest can cause severe issues within the family dynamic. The child may struggle with a love-hate relationship with their parent, both in childhood and later in life”. Pam: “My 34-year-old daughter and I have always had a head-butting type of relationship… she has always fought back… She explained to me that she needed space, that the tighter I held to her, the more she felt she needed to pull away… she is, at times, a little terse and abrupt with me… she is a little short with her answers to me“.
Back to the rehab. com: “Healing from an Emotional Incest Relationship: Both the parent and the child will need to heal from an emotional incest relationship. The parent should seek therapy so they can get help establishing and respecting boundaries with their children. They’ll also have to find a new, healthy resource for emotional support, such as a friend. Children will also need to work on healing from covert incest abuse. Many children who have gone through this experience move far from the parent in an attempt to get away as an adult. However, this isn’t a long-term solution as the parent can still reach out and break boundaries with phone calls, visits, emails, texts and other means of contact”.
Psychology today. com: “It is not a recognized clinical diagnosis and does not refer to inappropriate sexual contact, but the term ’emotional incest’ (also known as ‘covert incest’) is sometimes used to describe parents who are unable to maintain healthy boundaries with their children. Such parents may be living with mental illness, substance abuse, an unhappy marriage, or divorce. In essence, such parents feel alone and unloved, and rather than seek support from other adults, they turn to their children for intimacy and care. They may burden children with their own needs, constantly seek their validation, become emotionally or psychically clingy, or try to control the child”. Pam: “I’ve always felt a need to control her… I also have no close friends”, etc.
More from Psychology today: “Emotional incest leaves a deep scar on a child’s experience of closeness and intimacy; specifically, they struggle in intimate relationships as adults. Signs of enduring this dynamic include: Difficulty sustaining intimate relationships”, etc. From the rehab. com: ” Children with emotional incest syndrome are at a higher risk of: Eating disorders, Self-harm, Relationship dissatisfaction, Feelings of worthlessness or inadequacy, Difficulties prioritizing their needs because they become so used to caring for another, Sexual intimacy issues, Substance abuse, Compulsive behavior, Problems maintaining boundaries with people”.
I will close this post with addressing Pam: I am the product of Emotional Incest. I suffered from the misfortune of being born to an emotionally incestuous mother. Please take this information here to your therapist. The lifetime damage done to a child by an incestuous parent is massive. It is not only you who need psychotherapy, but also your daughter and your son. Please understand: your children were not born so to take care of your emotional needs, to make you feel loved, to make you no longer feel lonely. You were supposed all along to take care of them, of their emotional needs, not the other way around.
anitaDecember 3, 2021 at 2:09 pm #389374
Keeping life simple is not a bad idea, this is what I try to do with my life: keeping it as simple as possible. But I am much older than you. At 26, maybe you need Simple, buy also Exciting, because too simple, for too long gets boring, doesn’t it?
I wonder if you can choose a certain kind of school or work-related training that suits you, that which is not be too stressful and overwhelming for you…
anitaDecember 3, 2021 at 12:42 pm #389372
It’s okay, you don’t have to elaborate on anything you don’t feel like elaborating on, or that you can’t elaborate on. My best guess as to why you why didn’t want to pursue college, and/ or aim at a more demanding and higher paying job than your current, is your fear of failure, fear of not performing well-enough.
I think that you’ve been living a simpler life, a least demanding life, because it makes it possible for you to be the least anxious, and that suits you. It “feels impossible to pick a career path” because a career path is more demanding and stressful than just a job. You want to keep your life simple with minimal stress, and a career path is stressful. Is my understanding good-enough?
anitaDecember 3, 2021 at 12:03 pm #389370
“I’m extremely content and happy with my life“- I am not extremely content and happy with my life and I don’t know anyone who is. I don’t think that I read from anyone in these forums stating anything this positive in over 6 years of my daily participation here. I think that if you elaborate on this one sentence, it will give me great insight into the topic of your thread. Will you elaborate on it?
(I will be away from the computer for an hour or two).
anitaDecember 3, 2021 at 11:11 am #389366
I am glad to read that you are doing well at not focusing on any guy, and that you are focusing on your studies instead. It makes me think of the title of this thread: “Can’t choose between an ex and a new guy“- I very much like it that your choice is no longer between one guy or another: your choice is your studies and future career, excellent!
anitaDecember 3, 2021 at 11:06 am #389365
I want to understand your mind and life a bit better, that’s why I ask (and you are welcome to not answer my questions if you prefer not to): you wrote that you live “a very fulfilling life“- can you elaborate on it?
Also, regarding the many hobbies that you enjoy, what are they?
anitaDecember 3, 2021 at 10:59 am #389364
You are welcome. “I just have let myself down and gone against my moral compass“- there will be a time when your daughter will let herself (and you) down. I know that such time will come because we all let ourselves down from time to time, to one extent or another. And when that happens and your daughter feels badly about it, suffering for it, I am sure that you would not want her to forever-suffer over it. You would want her to feel badly for just the length of time it will take to learn from her experience, and make better choices as a result, am I correct?
“The only way I can justify it is that I need it at the time, but then I just feel selfish“- you are not a saint, Isabel, no one is. Learn from the experience, make better choices as a result and allow yourself to no longer suffer over it. Suffering further will only hurt you and your family. It is okay to let go of the guilt when it served its purpose.
anitaDecember 3, 2021 at 8:56 am #389358
To resolve your guilty feelings and the anxiety that goes with it, I suggest: (1) Don’t add to your guilt by telling your husband about what happened: that will hurt his feelings and harm the daughter you share. Instead, protect your husband from this information and be a better wife to him. By being a better wife, I don’t mean being passive, never bringing up anything that bothers you. I mean be kind to him and be assertive with him: remind him that you too bring money into the household, and that regardless, the two of you are equal members of one partnership/ a marriage, a team of two people. Talk to him about strategies to handle your differences in regard to spending money, so that both of you get enough of what you individually need, physically and emotionally,
(2) Kindly and assertively, tell your co-worker- friend that texting, meeting for lunch and communicating in any way that goes beyond being friendly co-workers in the context of the workplace is inappropriate and will not happen again.
anitaDecember 3, 2021 at 7:39 am #389352
By “I am doing pretty good at it”, at focusing on this one boy- what do you mean?
anitaDecember 3, 2021 at 7:33 am #389351
Congratulations for wearing a bikini and never feeling freer wearing it, cellulite and whatnot. I am sure that the perfect beauty of the freedom in your face was way, way more noticeable than the body’s imperfections!
It is interesting for me to read your paragraph about your mother, how “exhausted” you are from all that trying, “trying to reach her, to explain, to get to know her, to understand her“. I was exhausted too, trying and trying for many years: what a waste of my time and my life. There are many people who are not worth all that time and effort. It is difficult for a daughter to think that her own mother is in this group of people, but truth is, she is. The main reason: her dishonesty, her lies and pretenses, portraying herself as someone she was not. Lies and pretenses are confusing, and in the way of getting to accurately know a person. Here is a 3-L sentence I just came up with: When your mother repeatedly Lies to you, better Leave her than Live with her, or close to her. Can you think of your mother’s lies?
It is Friday 7:32 am and 4 degrees Celsius here (38F), Western U.S., and according to bing. com it is Friday 9:02 pm and 20 degrees Celsius in Western India. Is it?
anitaDecember 3, 2021 at 6:27 am #389347
What a beautiful post, here is some of the beauty that makes this Friday morning feel better for me: “I know it’s s unlikely that I will know how I will die and that the sky isn’t actually loving me it just exists with me but the playful side of me has this view to keep dreaming and hoping“- the playful side of Zeeza is indeed a beautiful “goddess kind of warrior” with lavender blue and purple hair, and a heart kind and generous, giving away her home to friends in-need for a whole month, a courageous heart willing to go on another month-long trip this coming January, not yet knowing where.
Thank you for your kind words and heart emoji, and you are welcome!
It is now Friday, 6:24 am. Did you sleep okay Thursday night?
anitaDecember 3, 2021 at 5:54 am #389346
You are welcome, Pam.
anitaDecember 2, 2021 at 12:33 pm #389329
I thought that it couldn’t possibly harm you, and maybe help you, if I use your thread to further understand the topic of Autism Spectrum Disorders, ASD, with one more post. A reminder to all who may be reading this: I am not a professional of any kind, and these public forums are not a setting for any kind of psychotherapy.
Reading about ASD online, here is my summary: (1) ASD is a spectrum of disorders characterized by difficulties with verbal & non-verbal social interaction and communication, and by restricted interests (ex., being fixated on one particular TV program) and repetitive behavior (ex. spending a lot of time arranging objects in a particular order), (2) There is no medical test, like a blood test, to diagnose it, (3) The severity of symptoms vary greatly: some have normal to high intelligence, excelling in academic learning, highly functional and live independently. Others have low intelligence, difficulty learning, and are severely challenged in daily functioning, (4) It is a neurodevelopmental disorder, meaning it takes place very early in life, while the baby/ child’s nervous system is in the process of developing, (5) The condition is lifelong, but “the degree of symptoms can decrease, occasionally to the extent that people lose their diagnosis of ASD”, Wikipedia, (6) The condition causes significant social, communication and behavioral challenges/ impairment in all people fitting the diagnosis, (7) Adults with ASD “are more likely to… never see friends, never get called by friends, never be invited to activities and be socially isolated… Difficulty navigating the terrain of friendships and social interaction is a hallmark feature of autism… Nonetheless, many people with autism do indeed have a social appetite. They yearn for connection with others”, Science Daily. com.
Let’s look at the fit between #7 above, the social isolation item, and what you shared about your lifetime social experience: “My teenage years were spent entirely lonely and isolated, except that I talked to random people from the internet, I almost lived in a spiritual convent… The sense of not being understood by others, or not wanting to be understood, however, persisted through my adulthood. It’s conflicted, though, as I’ve been afraid of other people’s attention, while at the same time very much craving it”, “Both my ex-es were writers, and a major part of our connection came from sharing/talking about our writings… Both my exes I knew them from the internet, when texting allowed me to express myself better… I never felt comfortable getting to know people from real life due to social anxiety and have very few close friends. In fact, so far, I’d say the only friend who knows the real me in all respects, is my ex-bf, who I still talk to at times”- I see this as a fit.
Let’s look at a few examples of your difficulty with self-awareness, that is, with knowing how you come across to others/ what it is that you are communicating to others, notice your repeated use of ?: “maybe I was too shy/reserved?… I believe he had a good idea that I’m into him?… I tried my best to remain casual / calm (which might have come off as uninterested?)”
Let’s look at examples of your difficulty with other-awareness aka social awareness, not knowing what another person is communicating to you: “What does this post-rejection follow up texting mean?? Did he feel …? Did he want to…? I didn’t know what he wanted… Otherwise he wouldn’t write those messages?… I’ve no idea how he felt… he.. acted uninterested when I showed my interest (I think)… is he truly interested in talking to me / hanging out as friends?… it’s like he’s not really interested in keeping it going (or is that my projection.. ?”
Let’s look at your difficulty with social skills. A basic social skill is asking questions, and it is a necessary skill particularly to a person who has difficulties with interpreting social cues: “I’m clueless about his relationship history or what he expected in a romantic partner… I haven’t got to ask any questions about his past relationships…I’m at a loss as to what to ask him would be appropriate”, “I never asked them until they asked me…What should I ask him?… I still don’t know how I should go about asking him if he’s still interested romantically at all…?“.
Here are a few examples of your difficulty with verbal communication, not knowing what words to use/ what words would be appropriate: “I wanted to let him know that I’ll stop being petty (is that a bad word?)), that I’m sorry if I’ve ever made him uneasy (is this unnecessary?), that I was overwhelmed by my feelings and wasn’t myself (should I say that?), and that I’ve been missing him (should I say that?)”.
At this point I think that it can help you significantly to see a professional regarding what you suspected yourself to be true for so long: that you may be suffering from an ASD. To be properly diagnosed by a qualified professional, or gr0up of professionals, can help you qualify for and receive appropriate treatments, join appropriate support groups, and more!
You wrote at one point: “better if I stay away… I feel safer to be hidden“- no, please don’t stay away! Please don’t hide yourself. Instead: come out of hiding! Seeking a proper diagnosis for yourself may be the beginning of you coming out of hiding!
You wrote regarding M: “it’s the self-composure and what I sensed (or imagined) in him as self-assurance… that for some reason feel so powerful and alluring to me“- imagine that you can experience the genuine self-composure and self-assurance that come with improved self-awareness, improved social-awareness and improved social skills?!!
anitaDecember 2, 2021 at 9:54 am #389321
You are welcome, and so good to read that you made an appointment with a therapist and that you arranged for a Codependent Anonymous meeting!
“Currently, I feel like she is, at times, a little terse and abrupt with me. I’m trying hard not to take it personally but am struggling with that. I feel like maybe that’s an attempt to hold me at a distance, do you think so?“- I think so: I think that she is indeed trying to keep you at a distance, and rightfully so, because you’ve been trying to get too close to her, invading her personal space, a space that she is entitled to.
You need to understand the difference between love and abuse: Loving your daughter means respecting her personal space and no longer invading it. Abusing your daughter = invading her personal space.
anitaDecember 2, 2021 at 9:08 am #389316
Still 16, almost 17, all As (Awesome!) and one B- good job! How if your life with your family?