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Silently Seduced

When Parents Make Their Children Partners

by Kenneth M. Adams

When a parent singles out a child for special privileges and attention, that child is often unaware that the relationship is unhealthy—even incestuous. As adults, these children struggle to feel validated, because while they have not been directly abused, they feel a sense of violation and crossed boundaries—usually done in the name of 'love' and 'caring.' The parent's love feels more confining than freeing, more demanding than giving, more intrusive than nurturing. Yet these children suffer from what psychologist Kenneth Adams calls The Silent Seduction—because there is nothing loving or caring about a close parent-child relationship that services the needs of the parent rather than the child.

In this revised and updated 20th anniversary edition of his groundbreaking book Silently Seduced, Dr. Adams explains how 'feeling close,' especially with the opposite-sex parent, is not the source of comfort the image suggests, especially when that child is cheated out of a childhood by being a parent's surrogate partner. He offers a framework to understand this covert incest and its effect on sexuality, intimacy, and relationships, and how victims can begin the process of recovery.

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Recommendations: 1

Categories: Psychology & Mental HealthRelationships, Parenting & Personal Development

Reading time: 34 hours


Neil Strauss
Author and Journalist

What happens with people who are enmeshed is, they want love, they want relationships. Then, they get in a relationship, and they feel suffocated. They feel trapped, and they sabotage it or want to get out of it somehow. It’s this crazy intimacy attraction, that avoidance pattern usually, and it’s a great book about it. It walks you through it, explains the cases, and then gives you steps to break the pattern. I highly recommend it, Silently Seduced by Kenneth Adams. If this is appropriate to you or someone you’ve dated in the past or someone you care about, it’s a good gift. I’ve definitely given at least 100 of these away.