What is Covert Emotional Incest?

Covert Emotional Incest (CEI) is an elusive, emotional form of child sexual abuse that occurs in the family system when a parent uses a child to fulfill the parent’s emotional, and sometimes romantic needs. Regardless of whether there is physical contact, this dynamic is incestuous due to the undercurrent of sexual energy between the parent and child.

CEI is characterized by one or more of the following:

  1. Parent using child as surrogate/substitute spouse & confidant
  2. Parent using child to communicate with other parent (triangulation)
  3. Breach of the intergenerational boundary between parent and child
  4. Objectification of the child

Adena’s mission is to bring Covert Emotional Incest out of the shadows and shine light on the process of identifying and healing from it.