"The taboo against talking about incest is stronger than the taboo against doing it." - Maria Sauzier, M.D.
Traits of Families that Tolerate Incest and Child Abuse
Sexual child abuse is just one of a number of abuses taking place in an incest family. There may also be a history of family violence, substance abuse, and other criminal activity.
Duplicity, deceit, collective secrets
The incest family hides its embarrassing secrets.
Rigid and tightly controlled
Incest families have rigid rules to prevent revelation of their secrets.
Demand for blind, absolute loyalty
Incest families usually have a domineering head of household who rules the family through force.
Disrespect for each others' privacy, rights, and individuality is common in incest families.
Parents immature and inexperienced in life
Parents of incest families usually never become fully mature adults.
Conflictual marriage or troubled divorce
In incest families, this may refer to situations where children are pushed into the drama between a conflicted mother and father.
No childhood for the children
Incest families are somber and strict places, where the authority figure (usually one of the parents) dictates behavior for everyone else. Rather than let children run around and play, they force children into a regimented routine.
Chaotic situations, traumatic stress
Incest often takes place in chaotic households, with unstable roots. These families may move often and lack connections to any one community.
Low level of appropriate touch
In the most toxic incest families all touching is considered taboo. Parents do not hug, caress, or cuddle their children, as normal families do. This is perhaps the most telling symptom of incest.
Compensating veneer of religiosity
Incest perpetrators often hide behind an external show of religion.
Traits of Healthy Families
1. Individuality is respected.
2. Differences are tolerated.
3. Boundaries and roles are clearly defined.
4. Problem solving is open and valued.
5. Communication is responsive and accepting.
6. Strong marital bond between parents.
7. Strong ties to extended family, community.
8. Healthy humor, play, fun.
9. Shared spiritual life.