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"Betrayal violates us," write University of Oregon psychologists Jennifer Freyd and Pamela Birrell in the preface of a new book that tackles the devastating act and probes the deep underpinnings of why people cover it up.

In "Blind to Betrayal" Freyd, an expert on betrayal and child abuse, and Birrell, a licensed clinical psychologist, present case studies of unfaithful spouses, abuse by powerful authority figures and corrupt institutions. More importantly, they address coming to grips with betrayal and how doing so helps victims move on.

The work is a penetrating look at a topic that is both fascinating and challenging, from two of the world's top experts on betrayal and abuse.

Infidelity, abuse, treachery, workplace exploitation, discrimination, and injustice: all are examples of betrayal. Betrayal can be mundane or a central threat to our wellbeing. When we see it, we hate it. Yet, even though it is often in our very midst and of critical importance, we frequently don't acknowledge or even notice it. Whether the betrayal occurs in our closest relationships, in our workplaces, or in our society, often we are powerfully and surprisingly motivated to remain ignorant.

Written by one of the world's top experts on betrayal and child abuse along with a psychotherapist and educator with twenty-five years of experience, Blind to Betrayal explains the many different forms of betrayal, finally revealing why its victims can endure mistreatment, sometimes for years, without seeming to know that it is happening, even when it may be obvious to others around them.

The book examines the fundamental experience of betrayal and its incredibly destructive effects on both individuals and society. It explains the psychological phenomenon of "betrayal blindness," while offering important insights on how to see through it, confront, and overcome its effects.

The authors reveal their findings from substantial original research carried out over the last decade, as well as their own stories of confronting betrayal.

Betrayal is a source of much suffering. We have a choice—to remain blind or to begin to heal ourselves and the world. Read Blind to Betrayal and start learning how to understand betrayal, confront it, and create a better future.

In recent years, the world's media have been filled with stories of betrayal, including sexual abuse of young boys by priests and by an assistant football coach at one of the nation's most-respected college football programs. Freyd often is among psychologists asked by the media to try to help people understand the underlying complexities.

"Everyone is touched by betrayal," said Freyd, currently the editor of the Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, in an interview. "Betrayal can happen in close personal relationships and in larger social contexts, such as the workplace. If we reflect on our own lives, we realize we have all experienced betrayal. What is the impact of betrayal? And why should we deal with it? Do we turn a blind eye or do we confront it?"

In the book's opening chapter, Freyd and Birrell present the case history of a married woman who was betrayed by her unfaithful husband. As the chapter closes, the reader is told: "On discovery of betrayal, a key response is to reorganize one's perceptions of what has happened — to rewrite history. Betrayal therefore has a fundamental impact on one's perceptions of reality."

A paragraph later, the authors address the issue head on: "And yet, although betrayal is so common and insidious, very little has been written about it in the psychological literature. Psychology as a discipline may suffer from betrayal blindness. Part of the problem stems from a tendency in clinical psychology and psychiatry to focus on individuals and individual symptoms. As a result, the relations between people — betrayal and its blindness — are not seen."

For many people, Freyd said, the first betrayals often are experienced in early childhood where there is little option to confront the full reality. "In fact," she said, "it usually is safer for children to be blind to betrayal when it comes from the hands of a caregiver or someone the child trusts. In that situation, seeing the betrayal would likely only make matters worse — because a natural response to seeing betrayal is to confront it in some way. If a child confronts a betraying caregiver his or her situation is likely to become worse, even threatening survival."

Blindness to betrayal is a survival response, she said, but there is a high price for not seeing the betrayal for what it is. "It keeps us from being fully strong, alive or healthy," she said. "It makes us vulnerable to more betrayal makes it difficult to have truly intimate relationships."
Blind to Betrayal tackles the why behind the blindness, details its toxicity and extensively explores the healing power of coming to grips with betrayals that occur.

Here is the link to the original article: http://uonews.uoregon.edu/...

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    Join us at Young People's Pavilion for a journey through children's literature. And follow this discussion on Twitter

    by The Book Bear on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 11:20:28 AM PDT

  •  An interesting puzzle but a very sad topic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DrLori

    There is so much just wanting things to be okay in human nature, so we pretend they are. We fear confrontation, and rejection.

    Especially if we already live in a deceptive, manipulative environment. People who grow up in frank, respectful, loving families tend to expect and demand a higher level of honesty and responsibility from their friends and lovers.

    Then there's that tribal thing, where police or priests should confront the corrupters in their midst, but feel they have to cover up for their own.

    Thanks for the review, The Book Bear.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 12:15:35 PM PDT

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