Incest: The Love that Devours Its Young
Frederick A. Levy LCSW

Once again, Joey could hear his mother's plea, a whisper with a wandering whiskey cadence, calling him to the place where his father would have slept. Moth-like, he found his feet treading the well worn path from his room to his mother's side. Buried with her blankets and soft wet kisses, Joey disappeared into the lace covered warmth beside him.

Hopelessly drawn and repulsed, Joey could feel his body go numb, as he clutched at their special closeness. Terrified and confused, something inside him felt terribly wrong.....but, she was his mother.

Joey, an eight year old Child of an Alcoholic (CoA), became his mother's special little man as her drinking bouts sent his father further and further away. Joey was her comforter and confidante, haunted by the eyes that constantly begged for unending declarations of love.

Seeing her emotionally hollow and hungry could seer his soul; Joey couldn't give her enough. He continuously tried until he stopped trying, until the sound of her approaching footsteps would freeze him like a deer in headlights. And then, cornered, he would stiffen as she would clutch him to her chest, loving him lifeless.

Mother's incestuous love was like a wild animal that devoured its young. She was everywhere; even when Joey was a young teenager she would make visits to his room when he was dressing "to help him pick out his clothes." Her bedroom door was usually ajar; he often needed to avert his eyes as he passed, overcome with a mixture of curiosity and shame.

And late in the evening, between drunkenness and stupor, she would curl up next to Joey on the couch. There they would remain, her head resting snugly on his shoulder; silhouettes by the shifting lights of the TV screen. His mind safely tucked away, he would wait for release, hoping her head would fall into unshakable sleep.

As Joey grew, he struggled to be free of his mother's grasp. He tried to date, but mysteriously, attraction to young women would unnerve him, and their presence would literally make him tremble. The harder Joey pressed, the more humiliated he felt in his failure to carry off a simple date. He couldn't understand what was wrong; he never suspected it might be his mother's voice, murmuring in the shadows.

But at last, Joey found the haunted green eyes that could give him refuge. Her gentleness and sensitivity somehow surrounded his loneliness. In exchange, he embraced her pain which together they would heal; never before had he felt such ecstacy. But slowly he sank through her emptiness, as his sense of separateness began to leave him. Horrified, he escaped, while still having a self to save.

Many women passed through Joey's life. The faces changed, but their eyes would stay the same. Then he met someone totally different: serene, self-possessed: a grown woman without the need of a knight. Joey was confused; he loved her, but still pined for the passion in losing himself in another. He was sure he disappointed her. Still, she just smiled, and glowingly escorted both he and his astonishment to the alter.

Even so, despite his wife's steadfastness, Joey sensed that something was missing. But when his daughter was born, she quickly became the center of his life. No one had ever looked at him with such adoring eyes; she lifted him from his emptiness.

Sometimes she would snuggle in his lap, her head against his chest, and sigh contentedly with the rhythm of his breath. Seldom had Joey known such peace; he wished he could hold her forever.

Then one day, while they were cuddling in their overstuffed chair, Joey felt a disturbing presence within. Closing his eyes, he looked, and to his horror, his mother looked back.

Suddenly, Joey knew he needed to bid his ghost goodbye, and give his love back to his wife. Then, he called to her, and with grateful tears, hugged her back into his life.

Copyright Fred Levy, LCSW all rights reserved