• A.J. Mahari

Emotional Incest - The Parentified Child

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

When a parent, often with Borderline Personality, Narcissistic Personality or who has Anti-Social Personality Disorder is lacking "Self" and is emotionally so immature that they seek to have their emotional needs, security, emotional soothing needs met by a child or children. This is known in the Mental Health profession as the Emotional Incest of a child - a parentified child. Often the personality disordered and/or alcoholic/substance abusing parent will require a child or children to listen to their never-ending complaints and feelings of being victimized while they victimize the child.

The parentified child experiencing this emotional incest, often is the cause of the fawn or freeze trauma response that is at the heart of codependency for so many.

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The parentification of children, and I was a parentified child and adult-child until my 30's, is seriously impacting upon their mental health and well-being. This may show up by teen years but the real cost of this role reversal that are violations of a child or teens (or even Adult-Child's) boundaries causes untold pain and relational difficulty, if not worked out in therapy, to the parentified children in adulthood.

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