It begins with a promise. A promise so appealing you could set your intuition aside in favor of it. The promiser sounds so sincere that you persuade yourself to take a chance on them, to trust them, yet again. But eventhough they sound sincere, the promiser turns out not to be so, and betrays your trust by not following through on the original promise, eventhough you followed through on your end of the agreement. This is an example of a betrayal bond. Betrayal bonds have us attaching ourselves to people who are destructive to us. Detaching from people who are destructive to us can be a difficult and painful process to go through as our original betrayal bonds can be with the significant caregivers in our early life. In order to heal this sort of emotional wound, who wants to come to the realization that our beloved Uncle Joe was someone who in fact did us harm when we were a kid? Just the thought of it can turn the mind on its head so to speak. Nevertheless this is an area of my life that I find myself reflecting on, particularly with respect to betrayal bonds I’ve experienced in the workplace. To guide this exploration I’ve been working with an excellent book by Patrick Carnes, Ph.D., a prominent expert in the area of addiction and recovery issues.
In his fine work titled ‘The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships’, Dr. Carnes details the nature of betrayal, betrayal bonds, how we come into them, how we cope with them, how they can devastate and destroy us, and how we can heal from them if we so choose. There are several well developed tests the reader can take to penetrate to the core of understanding the patterns of the betrayal bonds in their own life. This reflective work is not superficial by any means. It guides the reader into the core of the traumatic experiences in their life, and brings to light how and why they repeat themselves. Not for the faint of heart, but well worth the effort, this book is a sophisticated and welcome resource on the path to understanding and healing from the emotional impact of the bonds of betrayal.