Mackenzie Phillips

Mackenzie Phillips has written about the incest she suffered with her famous father, John Phillips from the Mamas & the Papas.  She is very brave to do so.  She has brought up a common area of confusion for so many incest survivors.  She was incested well into her young adulthood, even while she simultaneously had a sexual relationship with a boyfriend.  So many want to judge her and say that she was old enough to know better, to have stopped, or something like that.  So easy to say such things, but when is the true age of consent?

To judge so quickly in a case like this represents the gross inadequacy of education about incest.  The incest began when she was a child.  Her stepmother has made a statement saying that she would talk to her husband about Mackenzie’s “sexualized” behavior around him and stepmom wanted him to put a stop to it.  He dismissed it.  Her public statement actually reveals the truth about the incest.  Dad did not stop the behavior.  His daughter behaved this way around him because he had taught her to do so.  Every little girl longs and rightfully needs daddy’s love and attention.  This is the kind of “love” Mackenzie received (the opposite of real love) and since it was all she knew it seemed normal to her.  Incest feels normal to survivors until/unless they learn otherwise.  Whatever children learn from their parents will feel normal to them, because it IS normal for them. 

She had a huge awakening when she became pregnant.  She felt disgust at what her father was doing with her, an appropriate feeling!!  And, what is more, she immediately told her him NO!  No more!!  This action took courage.  This was her personal age of consent.  The rest of us who are not incest survivors need to accept that most of us do not understand the damage done to emotional/relational/spiritual/physical systems of the human being who has survived incest.  Her pain has been acted out in her addictions.  She is working hard to overcome them, and it will take all her life.  Let’s encourage her on her personal healing  journey, not judge her.

Her book really is a great example of how ‘dad hunger’ for approval can destroy daughters. It goes beyond just incest.

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