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The Emotional Incest Syndrome: What to do When a Parent's Love Rules Your Life Paperback – February 1, 1991


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$14.53 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 5 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


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The Emotional Incest Syndrome: What to do When a Parent's Love Rules Your Life + Silently Seduced: When Parents Make Their Children Partners + When He's Married to Mom: How to Help Mother-Enmeshed Men Open Their Hearts to True Love and Commitment
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (February 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055335275X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553352757
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Very well written.
Cherith M Zujic
This book has helped change my life, if anyone is in a dysfunctional/abusive relationship you need to read this.
calabria69
It is unfortunate that folks go through things like this but the book is very informative and helpful.
Cindy B

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

99 of 102 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
It can be extremely emotionally validating to realize some things you experienced as a child were unhealthy, especially if they get in the way of happy, productive relationships later in life. This book is about recognizing unhealthy, enmeshed relationships and learning how to move toward something more healthy. It teaches you how to do the work necessary to make things better for yourself. You won't change the parent who put you in an emotionally incestuous situation so don't waste your energy on an effort that's guaranteed to fail. Instead focus on learning new ways to respond to the unhealthy behaviors of your parents. This will enable you to recognize and change your own unhealthy behaviors, which is especially important if you are a parent who wants to end the cycle of emotionally-damaging parent/child relationships.
This book helps to identify, understand, and overcome many prior experiences that have been holding you back. It describes perfectly the relationship my husband had with his mother, his inability to pull away for so long, and the reaction of his family when he finally tried to gain a healthy distance from her. Recognizing this behavior and learning to deal with it was an emotional life saver for me. If I could give this book 10 stars, I would!
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65 of 69 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have read many. many self-help books...but this is the only one that focuses specifically on this complex and often overwhelming problem. The author exactingly describes "incest" scenarios and the possilble background of your parents that makes them the way they are. I'm now in my 40s, and still struggling with the issues the author discusses...this book has been a tremendous resource. It's comforting to know I'm not alone...now if only we could all form our own support group!
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book helped me more than any other self-help book I have read. Not only did it help me learn things about my past and why I have some of the behaviors I have now, it taught me things that I did and did not want for my two young boys. It was very easy to read and understand and described principles I apply to my life daily. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who feels they have a parent or parents that controls their feelings, actions and life.
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful By CovertIncest.org on June 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
In this comprehensive book about emotional incest, Pat Love goes into great depth about the causes of emotional incest and its devastating consequences. The author explains how emotional incest can take on many forms, depending on whether the parent is neglectful, critical, or sexual. She also provides helpful exercises throughout the book to help emotional incest survivors come to terms with the abuse. Highly recommended.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 1998
Format: Paperback
I read this book some 9 years ago when I was having marital problems. A Christian counselor recommended the book. She knew my family personally. The title frightened me, but I found truth in almost every word. I feel the insight I gained into the unhealthy way I had been relating to my husband and children (of course, I thought I was always the healthy one heretofore)enabled me to begin a process of change. I continue to refer to the book in my mind, as I continue to lend out each new copy I purchase to friends who want it and won't return it!
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By boshardy@adams.net on March 21, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book should be required reading for every couple contemplating marriage, having children, or seeking help for problems in their current relationships with partners, family, or friends. I read this book over and over and will again. I continue to buy this book for family members when they ask why I act the healthy way I act with my spouse, children, sibling, parents, and in-laws. I continue to recommend it for patients I treat so that their exploration of their family's dysfunctional parenting and partnering(and that's most families) will help them with their current problems with relationships. It allows everyone to obtain inciteful and practical tips on the path to recovery, uncovery, and discovery of why we behave the way we do in relationships. This book appeals extremely well to current mothers and fathers, adult children, siblings, grandparents, in-laws, and significant others. It works. If this is the only book you read in your life, this should be that book.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
Iwould DEFINITELY reccommend this book for ANYONE to read--not just those that have controlling parents--or think that they may have controlling parents. This book was especially helpful as someone who is very close to me fits this profile to a tee... This book helped me to see why my loved one is the way he is and why he copes in his life the way that he does. The book does not, however, discuss what to do if you are a spouse, significant other, etc. of a person that has been emotionally incested. I wish that it did... READ IT... It will help you understand a lot of issues much more clearly.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Frances Durbin on August 28, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I looked for years for a description and diagnosis of my abuse symptoms, and, after years and years of therapy, found this book to be the link between my existing abuse symptoms and my past. The best part of the book is it's forgiving approach. Heal yourself, don't condemn. Know that no parent is perfect, understand the source of the problem, understand what behavior needs to change & practical tips on how to do it.

A fine, insightful -- and I think -- groundbreaking book, though there seem to be others with similar theses.
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The Emotional Incest Syndrome: What to do When a Parent's Love Rules Your Life
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