Grenade – The Impact of Incest

WWII grenade, Author J-L Dubois (PD)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

A romantic dream unfolds lazily.  A man and woman who are obviously attracted to one another banter playfully.  The scene shifts and they kiss passionately. 

Then a grenade goes off.  The man’s image is replaced with that of the woman’s father.  He states blandly that she initiated their sexual encounter, that the fault for the incest is hers. 

Though she knows the accusation is false, though the incest was years in the past, though she was a child at the time, though there was never any “romance” involved, the horror is overwhelming.  It continues even after the woman awakes.

Incest is rarely discussed in polite company, and then in hushed terms.  The damage it inflicts is like that of a grenade going off.  Hopes are shattered.  Lives are destroyed.  And the grenade never stops inflicting damage, leaving lifelong scars.

The metaphor may sound extreme.  Tragically, it is not.

The victims of incest experience enormous guilt and shame.  But the fault is NEVER theirs.

Incest has been classified into the following categories [1].  Often, these overlap:

  • Affection-based.   The incest in this situation provides the victim a semblance of emotional connection where real nurture is lacking.  Pseudo-concern (“grooming”) by the perpetrator masks as genuine support for the victim.  There is an emphasis on the “specialness” of the relationship.  Emotional a/k/a covert incest (in which a parent effectively makes a child his/her surrogate spouse) falls into this category, whether or not sexual contact occurs.
  • Erotic-based a/k/a Polyincest.  In this situation, all relationships in the family are eroticized.  There may be multiple perpetrators.
  • Aggression-based.  In this situation, the perpetrator vents his/her frustrations on the vulnerable victim.  Both forced sexual contact and physical abuse are frequently involved.
  • Rage-based.  In this situation, the perpetrator is sadistic – deriving pleasure from his/her victim’s pain –  and the life of the victim is at risk.

Incest victims may spend years wrestling with guilt and shame, slamming into walls, repeating past mistakes.  However painful and difficult our struggle, it is not fruitless.  Rather, the incest victim’s battle is a valiant expression of the human spirit.

We have looked Satan in the eye and survived.  That is a remarkable achievement.

[1]  Psychiatric Times, “Ramifications of Incest” by Richard Kluft MD PhD,



Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Rape, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault, Violence Against Women

19 responses to “Grenade – The Impact of Incest

  1. Yes. That’s all I can say right now. Just… Yes.

    Thank you for your compassionate, empathetic, knowledgeable, affirming voice.

  2. Amir

    Reblogged this on Notes and commented:
    There seems a lot unsaid in such a brief post. For example, how does the past incest affect one’s future potential of finding and trusting true love?

    • You are absolutely right. These issues are complex. They can take a lifetime to untangle. Broadly speaking, the damage from child abuse, in any form, falls into two categories: damage to victims’ ability to trust others, and damage to self-esteem. Problems w/ trust can cause victims to self-isolate, in an effort to avoid further pain. Problems w/ self-esteem can cause victims to believe they are unworthy of love, so select (or settle for) partners who do not treat them w/ the love and respect they deserve.

  3. Pingback: Grenade – The Impact of Incest — ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse

  4. An unimaginable theft on which you have been able to speak the unspeakable. I think the educational way you do so, filled with faith based inspiration gives a glimpse behind the meaning of your term “survivor”.

  5. Anna, thank you for having the fortitude to write about a very traumatic experience. And thank you for your courage. Blessings, my dear friend.

  6. Allan Halton

    Regardless how deep the stain, there are no beings in the universe more pure and clean than those who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. That blood is in the Spirit, whom God gives to all who believe in Jesus.

  7. Pingback: Grenade – The Impact of Incest – NarrowPathMinistries

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