John Phillips and daughter Mackenzie
Can Incest Be Consensual?
Mackenzie Phillips Highlights the Impact of Incest
When Mackenzie Phillips dropped her bombshell during an episode of Oprah, revealing that she had had an incestuous relationship with her father, John Phillips, for 10 years, controversy swirled. The revelation came on the heels of the publication of Phillips’ memoir “High on Arrival,” in which she accuses “Papa John” of The Mommas and the Papas of molesting her when she was 18.
Though Phillips says she doesn’t remember if the incident at age 18 was the first time her father acted inappropriately with her, she acknowledges the sexual relationship continued for another decade and eventually became consensual. . . .
Thomas Nagy, Ph.D. . . . says . . . “When the victim encounters that abuser again in adulthood, in that moment, they’ve dissociated into an adolescent mindset again,” he points out. That’s why it’s so important for victims of abuse to seek and stick with therapy for the long haul. “These victims have to grow boundaries and learn how to find a sense of self again.”
“It’s always traumatic in the long run,” Nagy adds, whether the incest begins when a child is six or 17. “It’s child abuse, and there is no such thing as consensual sex with a child.”
No, incest can never be consensual — even if child is an excited participant. Incest is the vampire father feeding off the child’s soul by abusing the psychologically normal and healthy “family romance.”
That said, when the child later works through the events, the child, now an adult, must acknowledge the participant aspect. The situation is not expressed simply by the terms incest victim or survivor, incest participant is the usual reality. (Incest rape, paradoxically, may be easier for the child to handle psychologically. The monsterhood of the father would not be hidden in that case.) The problem is that the child throughout her life is forever caught in the crossfire of love, desire, shame and humiliation — thus many spend their lives chased by psychological ghosts — expressed through drugs, affairs, broken marriages, etc. Mackenzie Phillips is to be lauded for making her story public.
Failure of the adult incest victim to come to terms with the willing participant aspect will leave her prey to predators. Sooner or later a sociopathic or other seducer will come along who senses the father’s approach. The adult child will have no choice but to dance to the music. In the psychological universe there are few things uglier than an adult incest victim discovering she’s still enslaved by the incest trap, years after thinking she was free.
“Phillips says she doesn’t remember if the incident at age 18 was the first time” – I believe she’s being untruthful. One shouldn’t expect incest victims to be straightforward in divulging their stories. Indeed she would sometimes tell relatives, then later claim she was joking. Also it seems she is still protecting her father — who she still loves and whose love for her she still believes in.
Bijou was only 13 when her older sister told her the shocking story. . . . Her confusion was only compounded when “shortly there after Mackenzie told me it didn’t happen.” http://www.popeater.com/2009/09/25/chynna-and-bijou-phillips-support-their-sister-with-regrets/
The Mamas and the Papas singer Michelle Phillips, who married John in 1962, claims that Mackenzie revealed the affair in 1997 – but told her stepmom she was joking. “She called me back and said, ‘You know I’m joking,’” http://www.popeater.com/2009/09/24/michelle-mackenzie-phillips/
An overview can be found here: http://www.oprah.com/dated/oprahshow/oprahshow-20090826-mackenzie-phillips
Finally I doubt very much that it is that rare for incest to continue into a woman’s adulthood. Why should it stop? We need a closer study of this occurrence.