Surrogate partner to the same gender parent

Psychologist Kenneth M. Adams explains how the emotional abuse of a same-gender parent can create problems later in life
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Surrogate partner to the same gender parent

So what are the differences when a child, a son or a daughter, has played the role of a surrogant husband or wife to the same gender parent, say a daughter with a mother or a son with a father. It's not very common that we see a son with a father, sort of the father kind of bring the son in. The few times that I've seen that, it's what I've seen is that the father is really gay and he kind of acts out the romantic interest in the child. More typically though, we do see the daughter being the mothers partner, best friend at the cost to the husband. That is fairly common. So when it's opposite gender and the child is wired, you know, biologically to be hetereosexual, they tend to develop more sexual problems. When it's same gender, they tend to develop more eating problems, eating. So we see alot of the eating disorders with daughters who are amesh with their mothers. They can't separate from their mothers but dog gone it, I will eat what I want and you can't tell me what I can eat. I have to listen to you talk about my dad. I have to listen to your loneliness, but I have some autonomy and they act it out with food. That's a fairly common issue with women who are amesh with their mothers. And so the treatment of that group is very similar to the opposite gender. They have to separate and even though there's not a romantic relationship between the daughter and the mother, sometimes the daughter will internalize the mothers anger, or dissatisfaction, or disappointment with men and then she will have a hard time bonding with a man sort of in the service of her loyalty to her mother. So the treatment goal is very similar. There has to be a separation and an individualation from the parent. I don't mean that you stop seeing them, you know? People can move across the country and not see their parents and still be amesh with them. It really is an emotionally maturing process in which, you know, conversation, the conversation, I'm in charge of this conversation mom, dad, you're not, right? You can't run my life. So really becomiing their own man or their own woman regardless of the gender of the parent is the critical issue.

Psychologist Kenneth M. Adams explains how the emotional abuse of a same-gender parent can create problems later in life


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Kenneth M. Adams, PhD

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Kenneth M. Adams, Ph.D., CSAT, is a Licensed Psychologist, the Clinical Director and Founder of Kenneth M. Adams and Associates in suburban Detroit, Michigan, as well as a faculty member at the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals. As previous Clinical Director for the Life Healing Center in Sante Fe, New Mexico, a residential treatment center for trauma and addiction, Dr Adams created the first inpatient program exclusively for partners of sex addicts. In addition to maintaining an active clinical practice, Dr. Adams is a national lecturer, workshop leader, and consultant in the areas of child abuse, dysfunctional family systems, and sex addiction. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed publications, the books Silently Seduced and When He’s Married to Mom, as well as co-editor of Clinical Management of Sex Addiction. In 2011, Dr Adams received the “Carnes Award” for “outstanding work in the field of sexual addiction and compulsivity”. He is a certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT), a CSAT supervisor, and CSAT training facilitator as well as an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) practitioner. Dr. Adams is 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) as well as an advisory board member to SASH and IITAP, and an editorial board member of Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention. For more on Dr Adams visit


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