Mackenzie Phillips Says Revealing Incest with Her Father Ruined Family Relationships: 'They're Devaluing the Victim'
Eight years after Mackenzie Phillips revealed that she was once in a long-term incestuous relationship with her dad, her family relationships seem to be irrevocably damaged.
The former One Day at a Time star exposed in her first book, High on Arrival. the long-held secret that her dad, The Mamas & the Papas singer John Phillips, raped her at age 19 while they were under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The encounters continued, and they soon began a consensual, incestuous relationship lasting around 10 years.
In her new book, Hopeful Healing: Essays on Managing Recovery and Surviving Addiction, Phillips says that some family members still hold her accountable, and at one point disinvited her from a birthday party.
“Another family member was angered that I might attend, and I was told she was just not willing to forgive me yet. She wouldn’t forgive me! For abuses perpetrated against me as a child, or for exposing those abuses perhaps,” she writes.
Phillips, a former drug addict who is now a drug rehab counselor at Breathe Life Healing Center, says that rather than holding on to the pain of being shunned by her family, she reaches out to her own counselor and loved ones for support.
“I’ve come to understand that some in my family have chosen to hold on to the pain and anger they felt when I came out with the truth about my dad,” she says. “I understand that they’re still caught in a textbook response of devaluing the victim and holding up the perpetrator.”
“I’ve also had to accept that, of course, I’d be the target of negative reactions and feelings because I’m the one who wrote the book and told a truth no one wanted to hear. If you’re trying to maintain some sort of façade so you can avoid pain, the last thing you want is for the façade to be demolished.”
When Phillip’s first book debuted in 2009, multiple family members spoke out against her — some accusing her of lying, while others were upset that she revealed a hidden family secret when her father, now dead, was unable to provide a counterpoint.
“Am I exceedingly joyful that my family secret that I told maybe my therapist, my husband and my very best friend in the whole word [is now public]? No,” Phillip’s half-sister, Chynna, told Oprah Winfrey on an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show.
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“I understand Mackenzie’s need to come clean with a history she feels will help others, but it’s devastating to have the world watch as we try and mend broken fences, especially when the man in question isn’t here to defend himself,” another of Phillip’s half-sisters, Bijou, said in a statement.
Hopeful Healing: Essays on Managing Recovery and Surviving Addiction goes on sale Tuesday, Feb. 7. Get it here.