Incest is described as sexual activity between family members. In some cases this may also be classified as sexual abuse or pedophilia if it is unwanted or performed with a minor. Why does it happen and what is the service to those involved? I'll refrain from using the term "victim" because to do this dis-empowers. Just as there is day and night, positive and negative, a happy and sad, an up and a down, there must be a blessing in every curse. When we find the silver lining the cloud fades into the blue yonder and you experience love. Love empowers.
Let's begin with an example of incest in childhood curiosity, for in this example I have some personal experience. It is likely 1977-78, in the back seat of my parents parked car when my fourth cousin Byron (who was 2 years older than me) showed me how to french kiss. It must have been an awesome lesson because I have been enjoying practising french kissing ever since! I even married a french man. I didn't feel assaulted or harmed in anyway. In fact, I felt I was being educated. I was feeling accomplished and special, until my younger sister told my mother about one of the "you show me yours and I'll show you mine" incidences with some neighborhood boys and then I was shamed for my behaviour. Was it a crime to have had this incest experience?
Another example I've just recently read about in Britain, when a young lady was ‘caught’ having sex with her brother, both siblings blamed the other, citing alcohol, desperation and so, on as motivations. This apparently was not of concern to them. What was of concern is that “the pair were convicted of committing incest under section 1(1) of the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995”. The brother was 21, while his sister was 18. Now, according to the law, they should be convicted. Is this a crime?
A common justification for prohibiting incest is avoiding inbreeding and collecting genetic disorders suffered by the children of parents with a close genetic relationship. Even the father of evolution himself, Charles Darwin married his first cousin and witnessed some of these deformities in their children. What makes it wrong or right? Is it the law that dictates what is just and true? Is it the morals and ethics of society? Is it the individual beliefs? Once again, I believe justice rests upon informed consent. Two men, two women, one man and two women, two cousins, two siblings ……if there are consenting adults and neither are pressured or influenced towards this sexual act, then these situations may morally color the criminal code.
The third example of incest is apparently the most common. Imagine there is a husband and wife who are happily married but after having the children, the wife shuts down her sexuality. According to laws of balance, when one half of the equation is deficient then the other half has a surplus. So that, as the mother is less interested in sex, the father becomes obsessed with it. For a while he is masturbating, but finds that looking at his daughter is creating an erection. There are several different options. He can go for therapy, he could rape his wife, he could go have a extramarital affair, he could watch pornography and continue to masturbate or he could entertain sexual relations with the daughter. His values and the cultural or religious authority to which he gives power, determines his decision. In Japan, extramarital affairs are accepted, in some Hindu traditions the father may be encouraged to take the son for sexual pleasure in place of the mother. Does this situation of a parent having sexual relations with a child disturb you more than the previous examples? As I try to disconnect from my own prejudice and imagine myself being in that situation both as the father and as a daughter or as the mother and son, the first feeling that comes to my heart and mind is that is it not natural. There is a discord in my body and an ache in my heart just imagining it. In my research, I found even wild animals do not have sex with their offspring! Animals smell pheromones on their genitalia to detect who is most closely related to them to avoid copulating with family members. Species propagation in survival of the fittest doesn't support the genetic mutations of inbreeding so nature puts in place mechanisms to avoid incest. I believe subconsciously as humans we have the same mechanisms in place. We can all appreciate the good looks of our parents but I believe it is rare that a young child finds their parents sexy. There are Matthew McConaughey types or older men that may fill my fantasy but my father would certainly not fit into my sexy line up! Most find it disgusting to even talk about sex with their parents so the thought of a child being forced or manipulated into a sexual act with a parent or parent-type figure creates anxiety. It is not so much that it is a crime against the law but feels like a crime against nature? Jungian psychologists report that it is a difference between the conscious and the subconscious that creates neurosis.
Anxiety is only one of the many possible neurosis. Medical signs and symptoms of incest include: depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, self mutilation, personality/bipolar disorders, urinary tract/vaginal infections, temporal mandibular disorders, aggression, drug/alcohol abuse, eating disorders, post traumatic stress and suicide. We also know chronic stress contributes to inflammation and cancer so there maybe many other latent conditions that present as a result of this trauma.
The inequality of parent to child would be similar to teacher to student, priest to parishioner, doctor to patient, employer to employee. In these situations, one holds power over the other. To use this power for their own gratification, sexual or otherwise, seems like a crime against humanity. But what if, as in Japan, mothers argue they are teaching their son sexuality with safe sexual practices that are enjoyable. They talk about it openly without shame, blame or criminal implications. Does this mindset lessen your judgement? The issues for me is informed consent. A child is not able to give informed consent. Sexuality like breathing and crawling is an act of self exploration, following mile stones of curiosity. Baby boys seem to know that pulling on their penis gives them pleasure, this is not a skill I felt I had to teach, coach or watch. Providing a space for their sexuality to develop naturally is to educate then step back and allow nature to take its course. The child exposed to double standards of what is done secretly at home different from what the law suggests and what society accepts, creates an emotional blame-shame cycle. A responsible, evolved caring adult is able to step outside their own perspective and anticipate the anxiety and incongruity of this situation. They put the child's welfare first and find an appropriate outlet for their own desires.
The motivation to over-power comes from a deep feeling of powerlessness. In our world today, we see many of examples of this narcissistic behavior where the "I" is more important than the "we". It is in our politics, in our religions and in our families. This separateness creates a lopsided dynamic from which these situations manifest. If there is no difference between you and me, we reach a homeostasis of equality where love rules and we own our power. When the father, the mother, the doctor, the boss, the preacher or teacher is able to expand their vision into the eyes and hearts of those within their care the dynamic changes, the "I" disappears into the "we", the shackles of fear falls and the natural balance of power is restored.
There are many psychological theories into the dynamics of incest and sexual abuse, as it is a phenomena that has spanned every culture, every religion and every socioeconomic class in the past and the present. Sigmund Freud was one of the first noted to tackled the issue and although I don't agree with his theories of sexual seduction to the opposite sex parent, I do believe that to identify with a victim mentality is dis-empowering. Jung has a more advanced, global interpretation of the Oedipus complex to represent the attraction to the "personality" of the opposite sex parent. He points out the literal sexual attraction and incest activity is an incorrect interpretation of this Greek myth.
"The word 'incest' has a definite meaning, and designates a definite thing, and as a general rule can only be applied to an adult who is psychologically incapable of linking his sexuality to its proper object." ~ Jung.
For those readers who have experienced incest, know you are not alone. 30-50% of the population has experienced incest in some form. In treating and coaching patients and clients dealing with this old trauma, physically it may appear in any area but usually a strong correlation to pelvic asymmetry. Clinically, once the physical restrictions have been released with chiropractic adjustments and the nervous system is normalized, the buried memories often surface for re-processing. With some patients we use this opportunity of 'remembering' to re-frame the trauma with mind-body coaching or with a psychological referral. When we can see that the advantages and disadvantages are exactly equal the trauma disappears from your body and mind. Dr. John Demartini has developed a scientific method that I often use to quickly move coaching clients through this process.
How did this incest serve you? Did the incest give you some pleasure? Did it make you strong and resourceful? Did it bring you closer to some other member of the family? Did you leave home early and become successful because you had this challenge at home? Did the incest act take you away from some other chores that you didn't wish to do?
For those readers who have encouraged incest within their families, know too you are not alone. You too may suffer emotional consequences with this trauma and unlike the person you incested or allowed to be incested , you may never talk about it, leaving you a prisoner of your own mind. The same exercise applies to you. Look for both the negative and positives for you and your family members. Most that participate in incest have themselves been incested. Your beliefs about love are now being challenged so it is normal to feel vulnerable, angry and resentful. Instead of loving as you were loved, now you may rise above your mind to see how to love in a greater realm. What has been done has sown the seeds for transformation and your emotion may fuel the desire for this change. As we evolve more into a spiritual realm the physical desires are tamed and you are able to manipulate them to the most appropriate object for maximum growth. Recent studies show that the EQ (emotional quotient) more than the IQ (intellectual quotient) is a better predictor of success, when we care for the emotional health of our loved ones it moves us all into a higher realm.
For those who may be captured within a matrix to both give and receive weird sexual practises, the same exercises apply. Find the benefits of your particular situation. Ask yourself how this has served you and your family in all areas of your life. How has it strengthened your relationships? How has it fueled other success? How has it benefited you financially, socially, physically, spiritually? Keep writing out benefits until you have tears of gratitude to know even in the darkest days you are love and you are loved. Know that someday those creating the web will meet themselves. Send the web makers love and prayers for they know not what they do will eventually be done onto them. We live in a loving universe that always provides a balance.
In your geographic area there is always a government department that will accept anonymous information if you suspect a child is being physically, sexually, emotionally abused. In Nova Scotia, the number is 1-866-922-2434 if you believe a child is in immediate danger.