Image sourced from:×800.jpg February 7, 2013

Would you defend someone you love?  And as you think about this question, I want you to see if you are in a destructive relationship or not, if you are in denial, if you have a bond of betrayal with the person you love.

What is betrayal?  Betrayal is a breach of trust and involves fear. What you thought was true, it is not true.  Everything in you wants to believe it but there is so much in front of you that is very hard to not see.

Betrayal – can also be a form of abandonment.  Betrayal can be traumatic.  And once you have been betrayed, you may never feel safe again.  It is very difficult to trust.

The worst part of betrayal is a mind-numbing, highly addictive attachment to the people who have hurt you.

  • You try to show them what they are doing is wrong
  • You blame yourself, your defects, your failed efforts

These attachments cause you to distrust yourself, distort your own realities, and place yourself at even greater risks

Exploitative relationships create betrayal bonds.  Betrayal bonds happen when a person bonds with someone who is destructive to him or her.   Examples of betrayal bonds include:

  • Not exposing the wrong doing of a parent
  • Sexual exploitation professionals

As you think about whether or not you should lie to defend someone love or if you should defend the liar you love, evaluate and assess, whether or not you are in an exploitative relationship.

When we think about bonds, we think about a healthy connection, or positive attachment with someone you care about; however, bonds can also be negative and destructive.

What make us vulnerable to be caught up in a bond of betrayal?  Adult survivors of abusive dysfunctional families struggle with bonds that are rooted in their own betrayal experiences.  Loyalty to that which does not work, or worse, to a person who is toxic, exploitive, or destructive to you, is a form of insanity.

Signs of a betrayal bond:

  1. When everyone around you has a strong negative reaction, and you continue covering up, defending or explaining the relationship.
  2. When there is a pattern of nonperformance and yet you continue to believe false promises
  3. When there are repetitive, destructive fights that nobody wins
  4. When someone is horrified by something that has happened to you and you are not
  5. When you feel stuck, knowing what the other person is doing is wrong, but you feel that there is nothing you can do about it.
  6. When you move closer to someone you know is destructive to you with the desire of converting them to a non-abuser.
  7. When someone’s talents, charisma or contributions cause you to overlook destructive, exploitive or degrading acts.
  8. When you keep secret someone’s destructive behavior toward you because of all the good they have done or the importance of their position.

Signs of betrayal bonding include misplaced loyalty, inability to detach and self-destructive denial.

Place where betrayal bonding will happen

  • Domestic violence
  • Dysfunctional marriages
  • Exploitation in the workplace
  • Religious abuse
  • Cults
  • Addictions

Dimensions of Recovery

  1. Health bonds – must be available in your life: friends, family, therapy, support groups
  2. Boundary development – critical to restoring the ability to take care of yourself
  3. Trauma resolutions – diminish the power of original events
  4. Make the transition to non-exploitive relationships
  5. Develop a strong sense of self
  6. Develop a new working model of relationships

If you think that you are experiencing betrayal bond and you have not been able to break free from a destructive relationship on your own, seek out help and support from a mental health professional.

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Marta Rocha

About the Author: Marta Rocha is a Mental Health Counselor. Marta is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and English. Marta Rocha is specialized in the areas of Marriage Counseling, Family Issues, Stress Management, Leadership Training, Anxiety, Depression, Sports Psychology, Grief, and Substance Abuse & Addictions. Marta Rocha has 12 years of experience in sales & marketing, advertising, promotions, management, and professional development. Her professional affiliations are with the American Counseling Association, and the American Association of Christian Counselors.

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