Several people have requested more info on this subject. Here it is:
QUESTION: What DAMAGE is done when a parent turns to the child to get the emotional support they’re not getting from a spouse? (non sexual)
We see it all the time...both single mothers and even married mothers treating their sons like a husband instead of a son. We also see fathers treat their daughters better than they treat their wife. What the parent is doing is called Emotional Incest or Enmeshed Parenting. What may look like a close, caring relationship is actually an age inappropriate and generation inappropriate relationship. Being a parent's "surrogate spouse" can expose the child to experiences well beyond their years.
Here are 16 ways these inappropriate relationships damage the child:
1. Instead of raising a strong, independent son, the mother often produces a mama dependent “Baby Man."
2. Instead of raising a secure, confident daughter, the father often produces a selfish, self-centered “Dictator Daughter."
3. If the parent is married, the "Neglected Spouse" is on the outside of their relationship looking in AND may turn to alternative relationships to deal with the rejection (workaholic, affairs, substance abuse, etc).
4. The "Neglected Sibling(s)" may feel resentful, jealous, or unloved.
5. The child's future wife often finds herself entangled in a disturbing love triangle with the mother in law.
6. The parent selfishly abandons the needs of the child in order to fulfill their own needs.
7. The child’s other parent can resent them or become jealous of them.
8. The child (which is normally of the opposite sex) becomes a surrogate spouse.
9. The parent violates the marriage hierarchy:
10. You place an unfair burden on the child to sacrifice their needs to fulfil yours.
11. The role reversal can foster inadequate protection, misguidance, and lack of discipline.
12. The child may have to play the intermediary or referee during arguments or fights.
13. The child can lose the ability to set appropriate boundaries in their future relationships.
14. The child may suffer guilt or resentment when they want to do something for themselves that does not include the parent.
15. The child can become an idol to the parent.
16. The child will not learn that strong families are built around strong marriages.
Allow God to meet your need and stop selfishly using your child.