Betrayal. A breach of trust. Fear. What you thought was true-counted on to be true- was not. It was just smoke and mirrors, outright deceit and lies. Sometimes it was hard to tell because there was just enough truth to make everything seem okay. Even a little truth with just the right spin can cover the outrageous. Worse there are the times of seeming sincerity and care that effectively obscure what you know to be true. It was exploitation, not love. You were used. Everything in you wants to believe you weren’t. Please make it not be true, you pray. Yet enough proof has emerged. Facts that can no longer be denied.
Betrayal. You can’t explain it away anymore. A pattern exists and you know that now. You can no longer return to the way it was (which was never really as it seemed). That would be unbearable. But to move forward means certain pain. No escape and no in-between. Choices have to be made today, not tomorrow. The usual ways you numb yourself will not work. The reality is too great, too relentless.
Betrayal is a form of abandonment. But I haven’t been abandoned, my wife or husband is still here, you tell yourself. Often abandonment is difficult to see because the betrayer can still be close, even intimate. Yet YOUR interests, YOUR well-being is continually sacrificed.
Abandonment is at the core of addictions. Abandonment causes deep shame but abandonment by betrayal is so much worse than mindless neglect. Betrayal is purposeful, self-serving and traumatic.
But that is not the worst part. The worst part is a mind-numbing, highly addictive and strong attachment to the person who has hurt you! You may even try to explain and help them understand what they are doing- convert them into non-abusers. You will probably blame yourself, your defects and your failed efforts. You strive to do better as your life and any shred of happiness slips further and further away.
These attachments cause you to not trust your judgment, distort your own realities and memories and place yourself at even greater risk. The great irony? You are bracing yourself against further hurt. The result? A guarantee of more pain!!
These attachments have a name. They are called traumatic bonds or betrayal bonds. Exploitative relationships like that with an overt or covert narcissist, create these bonds. These occur when a victim bonds with someone who is destructive to him or her. Thus the hostage becomes the champion of the hostage-taker and the victim becomes the champion of their abuser.