Committed granny incest, what should I do?

We can differentiate between two types of incest: intimate incest and emotional incest.

In this article, we talked about both forms, just as we talked about and what to do if you committed granny incest.

Committed granny incest

Having a intimate relationship with a nearby individual from the family is illegal, yet a few people end up falling into them anyway. 

Before we go any further, we need to define a few terms.

Intimate incest

Incest is intimate intercourse between relatives on the straight line, up to and including the third degree, as well as between relatives on the collateral line (brothers, sisters).

There is often talk of the universality of the taboo, both intimate relations with close relatives and the children resulting from them are subject to a strong social stigma.

But incest is a recurring theme in both literature and popular culture – just think of Game of Thrones.

Moreover, incest is often represented as consensual, even romantic, if the characters are a brother and a sister.

We are left with an impression that intra-family love-making is somehow a completely new phenomenon and that in the past incest was completely demonized and therefore a deviant behaviour that people would have avoided.

However, the categorization of such relationships as incest depends on the socio-cultural context.

In addition, attitudes toward incest tend to be heteronormative and gender-discriminatory (in other words, the relationship with a person of the opposite gender would be more acceptable, as would a man’s attraction to a woman).

Today, once separated relatives have increased their chances of finding themselves through a variety of methods, from social media to DNA testing, and sometimes reunions can result in the development of strong emotions and even intimate attraction. 

The phenomenon is known as Genetic intimate Attraction Syndrome and affects relatives who did not spend time together in the early years when the relationship ended and met in adulthood. 

When people spend these first years together, a mechanism called the Westermarck effect that suppresses intimate attraction is triggered, which is why it is very rare for family members who have always known each other to develop such a thing.

Ideas about incestuous unions have also taken their place in public debates, whether they should be tolerated and decriminalized when they are consensual and between adults.

In Sweden, marriage between stepbrothers is already legalized, and the laws of other states do not punish such relationships. 

Instead, homosexuality is rarely discussed in the media where the syndrome is encountered – perhaps it is too much of a cultural taboo for us.

In one of the most recent cases, Kim West and his son Ben Ford, with whom he allegedly fell in love, the press presented everything in an extremely sensationalist way, stating that intra-family love-making is on the rise and thus suggesting their rarity in last. 

Nonsense, if we take a look at the history of Rome or ancient Egypt. Even a very old text like the Bible tells us about prohibitions, so intimate intercourse must have been a fairly common phenomenon if the need to introduce a behavioural guide was felt.

Emotional Incest

Emotional incest occurs when a marriage or adult relationship is fragile when one parent is alone or in families divided by various situations such as infidelity, mental health conditions or addictions.

Obviously, it would be ideal for parents to be as close as possible to their children. 

However, it is important for a parent to distinguish their child’s emotional priorities from their own, without burdening the child from an early age.

When children are put in a position to respond to a parent’s emotional needs, the relationship becomes dysfunctional and, in practice, the roles are reversed, so that the child, once protected by the parent, becomes protective and emotionally charged.

Most often, emotional incest occurs when a marriage or adult relationship is fragile, when one of the parents is alone or in families divided by various situations such as infidelity, mental health conditions or addictions. 

To meet emotional needs, parents often end up turning to the handiest people around them – the children – without actually realizing the seriousness of the situation. 

Sometimes one parent will undermine the other parent during a dispute or separation/divorce procedure by putting the children in the middle, thus increasing the parent’s level of dependence on the child.

The child, in turn, may become concerned about the need or obligation to protect his or her parent.

It is important to note that, in most cases, parents who foster a dynamic of emotional incest are not aware of the impact of their behaviour and do not intend to hurt their children.

Children who have experienced emotional incest may have great difficulty setting boundaries and meeting their needs as adults without feeling overly guilty. In addition, their relationship with love-making and gender can greatly inhibit their ability to maintain intimacy in adult partnerships.

The impact of incest

Adults who have experienced either intimate or emotional incest during childhood may experience:

  • Difficulties in establishing boundaries and fulfilling one’s own needs in adulthood. They have learned to suppress/suppress their own needs, including emotions.
  • Codependent behaviour.
  • Identity crisis, including intimate, the difficulty of being themselves in relationships.
  • Isolation from colleagues due to insufficient development of the necessary social skills.
  • Feelings of inadequacy, excessive guilt, low self-esteem.
  • Strategies to be “special” as the only way to get the approval of others.
  • An unhealthy feeling of loyalty or an obligation to a parent, which can result in a love/hate relationship between the child and the parent.
  • Fear of intimacy and personal commitment (because of the unconscious fear of being exploited in the same way as they were exploited by the “needy” parent or because of the fear that any such relationship will become “suffocating” like the relationship with the parent in childhood).
  • Difficulties in maintaining relationships due to idealization and inappropriate expectations placed on partners.
  • Indirect communication, through a third party in work, family or in romantic relationships.
  • Substance abuse and compulsiveness around work and eating, problems related to love-making addiction/love-making avoidance or addictive love/avoidance.

Emotional/intimate incest can also have an impact on family dynamics as a whole when opportunities to strengthen the child’s relationship with the excluded parent can be denied.

At the same time, other children (brothers, sisters) may be neglected, another form of emotional abuse, when the parent relies heavily on the “chosen child.

Help for the victims of incest

Unfortunately, incest and domestic abuse are probably the most common forms of child intimate abuse.

The psychological impact is particularly strong and with long-term effects, even if at the moment the child is not aware of what happened to him and cannot discern between good and evil due to his young age. 

Incest has the most dramatic long-term consequences, consequences to which the social reproach that encounters these relationships contributes.

For those who experienced incest as a child, there are several ways to help heal, namely:

  • Therapy or counselling: Find a counsellor who specializes in childhood abuse or addiction, and who focuses on the needs of survivors.
  • Self-help meetings: before attending self-help meetings, it is important that through the process of individual counselling you understand what a survivor of incest is facing. Once this happens, self-help meetings can be a valuable aid in the recovery process and in supporting recovery; Self-help meetings that follow the 12-step pattern can be especially helpful.
  • The diary: writing about painful problems and experiences can be auspicious during the confrontation with the dynamism of obsessive-compulsive behaviours, which occur as a result of the defence mechanisms created for emotional survival when the incest occurred.
  • Psychoeducation: There is a wealth of information and resources available that help educate and increase understanding of emotional/intimate incest. Knowledge means power. Knowing and understanding what happened and the impact it has on your life and relationships can be healing.

I committed granny incest, what should I do?

If you are a grandmother and committed granny incest with your grandchild,  then clearly you need to seek mental health help to uncover the reasons why you got into a intimate relationship with your grandchild in the first place, and what are the effects of this relationship in your life going forward.

Assuming that you are an adult, you need to understand the reasons behind what has happened and its consequences.

Seeking the help of a mental health professional is the best thing that you can for your grandchild.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Conclusions

We can differentiate between two types of incest: intimate incest and emotional incest.

In this article, we talked about both forms, just as we talked about and what to do if you committed granny incest.

Incest is intimate intercourse between relatives on the straight line, up to and including the third degree, as well as between relatives on the collateral line (brothers, sisters).

Emotional incest occurs when a marriage or adult relationship is fragile when one parent is alone or in families divided by various situations such as infidelity, mental health conditions or addictions.

If you committed granny incest, you need to understand the reasons behind what has happened and its consequences.

Seeking the help of a mental health professional is the best thing that you can for your grandchild.

What we recommend for Relationship & LGBTQ issues

Relationship counselling

  • If you are having relationship issues or maybe you are in an abusive relationship then relationship counselling could be your first point of call. Relationship counselling could be undertaken by just you, it does not require more than one person.

LGBTQ issues

If you are dealing with LGBTQ issues then LGBTQ counselling may be a great option for you. Maybe you are confused as to your role and identity or simply need someone to speak to. LGBTQ counsellors are specially trained to assist you in this regard.

References

DeYoung, M., & Lowry, J. A. (1992). Traumatic bonding: Clinical implications in incest. Child Welfare: Journal of Policy, Practice, and Program, 71(2), 165–175.

Pendergrast, M. (1995). Victims of memory: Incest accusations and shattered lives. 

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