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.
Kenneth M. Adams, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and the clinical director of Kenneth M. Adams and Associates in suburban Detroit, Michigan. In addition to maintaining an active clinical practice, Dr. Adams is a national lecturer, workshop leader, and consultant in the areas of childhood abuse, dysfunctional family systems, and sex addiction. He is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT), a CSAT supervisor, and a CSAT training facilitator as well as an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) practitioner. A member of the American Psychological Association, Michigan Psychological Association, Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH), and International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP), Dr. Adams is also an advisory board member to SASH and IITAP, and an editorial board member of Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention. Dr. Adams, along with coauthor Dan Robinson, received the 2001 Reader's Choice Award for "Shame Reduction, Affect Regulation and Sexual Boundary Development: Essential Building Blocks in Sex Addiction Treatment," the article voted by subscribers of Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention as the Article of the Year. He also received the 2011 Carnes Award for outstanding work and research in the field of sex addiction. In 2010, Dr. Adams was part of a focus group set up to advise the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on developing criteria for security clearances for federal employees. He specifically advised on matters related to sex addiction and personality disorders. Dr. Adams is the coeditor, with Dr. Patrick Carnes, of Clinical Management of Sex Addiction and the author of When He's Married to Mom. He does regular speaking engagements and media appearances, including national and local television and radio. For more information, visit www.drkenadams.com.