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Is There Incest Going On?

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My 22 year old male cousin will not leave his mother’s side. She will not make him get a job or even a GED. She makes his bed, prepares his food and washing his clothes. He is plenty capable of doing all these things.

He will not let her go anywhere without him. When she gets a text or phone call he immediately demands to know who it is. If she is in the house he is within 2 feet from her at all times. He locks himself in his room all day until she gets home from work and jumps to her side as soon as she steps foot in the house.

If there are other males in their presence he will crowd around her to the point of physical contact and create a barrier between her and the other male whomever it may be.

They see nothing wrong with spending all day Saturday at the mall together and the Saturday night just the two of them eating at a restaurant. They have a huge living room with multiple couches and chairs, but at night the sit right next each other while only wearing their sleepwear.

One day I was walking by their master bedroom where my aunt and uncle sleep, and my aunt was blow drying her hair and my cousin was lying on the bed staring at her with bug eyes not taking his eyes off of her for a second. Whenever he hears his parents converse he has to stop everything and even mute the TV so he hears what they are saying. He is constantly bantering with her like guys and girls do at bars.

One day they got home Saturday evening after spending the entire day together shopping he starting going off about what a wonderful day it was and how refreshing and energized he is, as he said this he began approaching his mom very aggressively got up on her and thrusted his pelvis toward her, ripped his shirt off to show her his chest and dropped his voice to a low seductive tone and said “we should do this again.” They have always been too close but now its getting physical and scary.

Any input on this would be helpful.

Is There Incest Going On?

Answered by on -


I can’t determine if there is actual sexual incest going on, but there is certainly a problem with boundaries. Normal growing up means developing a separate sense of “I”, separating from parents and becoming able to live independently. This generally happens gradually from the age of two through adolescence. By the time he is in his twenties, the “child” is ready to leave home and redefine his relationship with his parents — unless there are significant special needs or a significant mental illness.

From your description, it sounds like neither your cousin nor your aunt are doing that positive work. It’s hard to know where one leaves off and the other begins. I would be concerned that your aunt allows it because she is afraid of him except that it seems she is willingly cooperating with this unhealthy relationship.

I have to wonder where your uncle is in this. Why isn’t he insisting that his son grow up and be respectful of theĀ aunt and uncle’s right to privacy?

They (aunt, uncle, cousin) are all adults. Although unfortunate, there is nothing illegal about the behaviors you describe. I suspect that there is very little you can do about it, except express your concern to the couple and perhaps to see if other adult members of the family are equally alarmed. A family intervention to encourage therapy might (only “might”) be helpful. Unfortunately, it may take something tragic happening to get people’s attention. It’s a shame. Your cousin’s future doesn’t look at all promising unless there are changes.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Is There Incest Going On?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Is There Incest Going On?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 27 Mar 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.