In the last several months I have written a great deal on this blog about the nature of love and bonding. If you would like to know more, read The Betrayal Bond, Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships, by Patrick J. Carnes. I just read this book and was happy to see so much commonality with my own view.
Dr. Carnes himself survived a Betrayal Bond, and as such writes with the authority of someone who has “been there.” Remember, it is not just women who are affected by love fraud. Normal men bond and are deeply affected by their love relationships.
Dr. Carnes discusses in detail the psychological trauma associated with a relationship with a sociopath, though his book does not focus only on sociopaths. When you finish this book you will have a clear perspective on why and how you became attached to a sociopath. The book is full of questions and exercises designed to help you assess yourself and find healing.
Many people have asked me if I believe that sociopaths can change or if I think someone suspected of sociopathy should be given a second chance. Dr. Carnes spells out the criteria for allowing someone back into your life. On page 160 he gives a clear cut, sound opinion on this matter. He states that the betrayer/abuser should have:
- A clear track record of non-abusing behavior (I add 6-12 months).
- A verifiable commitment to therapy and to 12- Step Group attendance.
- A coordinated effort of joint therapy involving both partners.
- An acceptance of the consequences of his/her actions.
- A clear and earnest effort to make amends to all who have been hurt.
- An agreement for zero tolerance of old behavior.
He also states that victims need time away from the abuser to heal. These guidelines are very important because not all people with sociopathic traits are incapable of change. Sociopaths at this point are beyond help. Sociopaths are not capable of steps 1-6 above.
Dr. Carnes also addresses personal recovery and the barriers to recovery he has observed. Barriers to recovery happen because of an over dependency on the abuser in an exploitive relationship. He says victims may resist having to become independent again.
The only technical point that I took issue with regarding this book was the assertion that “Betrayal Bonds” are different qualitatively from other human bonds. I think that these bonds form for many of the same reasons and with the same neurochemistry as healthy bonds. The important point is that FEAR STRENGTHENS BONDING. Fear bonding can occur in a normal couple following a natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane. The unconscious often does not recognize that an abusive partner is the source of fear, so bonds can be intentionally strengthened by a sociopathic abuser.
In summary, I believe that The Betrayal Bond is clear, understandable and well written. I highly recommend the book to Lovefraud readers healing from an exploitive relationship. If you want to order the book, click on the title above to be directed to Amazon.com.