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INCESTUOUS FAMILIES; Incestuous famiy here, am referring to incestuous nuclear families. Families in which incest occur tends to be close inwardly, such families lack in real emotional connection to people outside  the family. Incestuous families are are not as stable internally as it might be observed from the outside. The parents are always not in good terms when it come to emotional intimacy, even if there is an active sex life between them. Among the other members of such families, the emotional connection is lacking as well. One or both of the parents were usually sexually abused as children. In this article, i will be focusing on the most common family incest i.e Father-daughter incest. Because it involves the violation of a minor. 

In incestuous family settings, the fathers are always the offenders, the mothers, non- offenders, and the daughter, the victim.In Japan, the mother-son incest is quite common, but here in Africa, in Nigeria precisely, father-daughter is more common. So, i am focusing on father-daughter incest. I want use the following sections to analyse the role of a mother, a father and a victim daughter in a typical incestuous family. 

A typical mother in an incestuous family exhibits some form of weakness capacity. Her work might be taking much of the time she is suppose to spend with her family or she might as well be a lazy full house wife. there is always one form of weakness. She might be chronically ill, depressed, economically dependent and/or socally isolated. She could be the a victim of a sexual abuse herself, when she was a child/adolescent. In most cases, the mothers in an incestuous family are not responsive to their children's needs.

          A Mother might be in a destructive relationship with the father, the marriage may look perfect to outsiders because such family are very secretive.But internally, the marriage is always unsatisfying, limited in communication and lacking in emotional intimacy. Lacking in emotional intimacy with the children too.

          In incestuous family, you will discovered that alot of adult responsibilities are delegated to the female children in that family, most especially, the oldest daughters. Delegation of adult responsibilities to female children could be delibrate or unintentional. Unintentional in the sense that the mother is very sick, divorced, etc. For example, i have come across a family in which the oldest daughter was the one taking care of her younger ones,  did the cooking, serve the father, taking up most of the responsibilities in the house, while the mother sits lazily around doing nothing. And come to think of it, she is barely 13years. The mother in some cases might even depend on the daughter for emotional support. Sadly, the mothers in incestuous normally lack the ability and skills to demonstrate unconditional love. They may be unable to set aside their own responsive neediness in order to respond with empathy to their child's daily experience. 

            Most mother's in an incestuous family are not always aware that sexual abuse was going on in her family. She may have sensed that something was not right without having allowed herself to think that it could be an incest. She may even doubt her own perception of the abuse and thus, may have convinced herself that she was earlier crazy or she is imagining too far in her mind. Often, daughters do not tell their mothers about the sexual abuse going on because they can sense their mother's weakness and might wants to protect her from any further pain and hardship she is going through. Daughters may also fear the loss of the family and take literally, such threats as "It will kill your mom if she finds out about this".

             How do mothers respond to the disclosure of incest involving  her daughter? Here, am referring to incest in a typical nuclear families, the Father-daughter incest. The responsiveness of mothers upon disclosure differs greatly from each other. And also depend on the situation of the mother. In a situation, in which the mother do not depend on the man {father} for basic and necessary needs and is not intimidated by him, then the level of responsiveness is likely to be positive because she can comfortably confront her husband and take  the necessary steps in stopping the sexual abuse. Now, in a situation in which the mother is timid, totally depends on the man,  financially, emotionally and scared of lossing the marriage, then she will be caught in an atmosphere of confusion. 

           Mothers often feel immobilize at the time of disclosure. A woman may fear the disclosure means she must make a choice between her baby girl and her husband. Two people towards whom she feels loved and loyalty. One woman asked "Should i cut off my right arm or my left?". While few women respond to their daughter's disclosure in a supportive manner, many frequently have a very hard time believing that incest has occurred. Some mothers totally disregard the disclosure and forget it was even mentioned.. This amnesia-like response leaves the victim feeling ignored and violated. A woman believing that her husband or partner has abused her girl child or other children not hers can be forced in making choices and take actions. A woman who has already decided to end her relationship {either divorce or temporary seperation} is likely to believe her gir child and take action because she has less to lose. The woman who wants to remain in the relationship or who atleast has mixed feelings- which is the most common response, has the hardest time.

             Now, when a woman fully accept the possibility that incest has occurred between her partner or husband and her lovely girl child/adolescent, alot of thoughts will seems to stream  through her mind. And she will always go through some or all of the following feelings:

  • She is angry at her daughter for not revealing the incest sooner and at her husband for doing this to her child and to her.                                                                       
  • She feels guilty that she has failed to protect her child and that she fails to satisfy her husband. She thinks it may be her fault that the incest has occurred.                                                                                                                   
  • She feel betrayed by her husband, he has been living a lie and a little by her daughter for having kept the relationship a secret.                                                                 
  • She hates her husband for the consequences of what he has done. The damage to her child, to her relationship with her own child, to the relationship between herself and her husband.                                               
  • She repulsed by him, keeps thinking about him touching and fondling her girl child and trying to get the thoughts out of her mind. How could he do it?                                                                                                             
  • Sometimes, she even feels a little jealusy towards her daughter for the extra attention.
  • She feels she has failed as a mother  and as a wife.
        In the next article, i will be concluding on this topic, i will focus my gaze on the role of a typical father and a typical daughter in an incestuous family.