Speaking of Incest

I was told by a friend yesterday that Mackenzie Phillips came out with a book outlining her drug use, crazy upbringing and a 10 year period of sex with her father John Phillips which started as rape and grew into a consensual sexual relationship.

My first reaction was, "Why would she bring it up now, oh yes, writing a book so of course she’ll make a ton of money."

But you know, I don’t think all the money in the world could make me admit to something like that. The shots she is taking for it can’t be smoothed over by money. It’s almost self slaughter.
Then I watched her in a fairly lengthy interview. I’m not going to say she doesn’t have many moments reminiscent of drug usage, but she’s forward. I will say that for her. My initial reaction was wrong.

Part of the interview that got me thinking was when she said she hoped that the story could bring incest survivors out of the shadows and get people talking towards healing. If you think about it, it is one of the most taboo topics out there.

I thought I’d share my experience seeing as nobody likes to discuss it.

I was not personally involved in an incestuous relationship. I am a victim of sexual assault by my mother’s boyfriend who lived with us, but I was clearly the injured party. The reason it felt incestuous was that he was supposed to be taking on a Father role and he abused it. So not only was I a pre-teen and he in his 50s but I became extraordinarily confused by his position.

As far as true incest goes, there is a history of it deep in the roots of my family. My great grandfather slept with his daughters (I didn’t eventually come from that, I came from one of his sons) but the crazy part I have had to deal with is the fact that it was laughable in all the generations that followed. There were definitely a few people down the line who came on to other people in the family. Jokes like "incest is best" and the jokes against the Amish/Mennonite communities around us were considered funny at the time. Have you ever noticed how many people cover up pain with a joke?

I have learned that it’s not normal nor is it amusing. Incest is an abuse of power. Incest has ruined lives…ruined future relationships and put a crazy distortion on intimate encounters. But like any racial bias or slur, we think it’s perfectly fine at the time. Humor can paper a nice floral print over ugly cracks in the walls. Incest for many families is the elephant in the room. You don’t just feel its weight but you have to come up with clever ways to get around it.

I think it’s massively important that we make ourselves a really good, non-judgmental people in order to allow those who hurt the freedom to open up without fear of criticism or ridicule. The baggage from these incidents carries into countless other areas which are stopping people from moving forward with meaningful lives.

You will never be judged by me or laughed at. This you can count on. I will not participate in that.

Karen :)

"A lot of people say they want to get out of pain, and I'm sure that's true, but they aren't willing to make healing a high priority. They aren't willing to look inside to see the source of their pain in order to deal with it." ~Lindsay Wagner

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