Author, Dr. Patrick J. Carnes' Ph.D., areas of expertise include compulsivity, addiction, and recovery. Thoroughly detailing the concepts of betrayal and traumatic bonds, "The Betrayal Bond," serves as an informative and instructive guide to the reader on understanding, identifying, and dissolving, limiting, or repairing hazardous relationships. Victims of abusive relationships, as well as friends and loved ones of victims, can benefit from reading this Book. It provides the facts, insight, therapeutic exercises, and hope for freedom and healing from exploitive relationships.

It also provides hope for personal growth and changes through the creating of a new working model for developing healthy, supportive relationships.

'The Betrayal Bond' teaches us how to understand trauma

Fundamental to beginning breaking free from exploitive relationships is understanding the betrayal and trauma bonds that attach victims to their victimizers.

Highly addictive and self-destructive attachments, betrayal bonds cause victims to question their own intuition and their own realities, which creates an even greater risk to the victim's wellbeing.

Trauma bonds also involve dysfunctional attachment and always include some form of risk or danger for the victim. While exploitation, danger, and fear are present there are also elements of righteousness, kindness, and nobility.

When people stay involved with and maintain their care or commitment to people who betray them, cause them emotional pain and severe consequences, and bear the potential risk of death, clinicians consider them to be traumatically bonded. These bonds occur in conjunction with danger, shame, exploitation, seduction, deception, and/or betrayal.

Understanding victim, victimizer, and rescuer

Understanding the three roles - victim, victimizer, and rescuer - which support and strengthen trauma bonds is also vital. Equally important is recognizing when the roles switch, which commonly occurs in betrayal bonding. Betrayal becomes exponential and trauma bonds thrive when role reversals occur because it makes the situation even more complex, intense, and insecure.

The reversal of the victim, victimizer, and rescuers roles can easily occur because all three roles share important commonalities. They all begin with shame and self-doubt; they are all fueled by the belief of being unworthy or defective; they all lack confidence in their needs being met by anyone. In addition, each role obsesses over another, identifies with the victim in the other, lacks boundaries, and displays naivete in their thinking patterns. As a result of all of these shared similarities, one person can easily occupy all three roles in the same exploitive relationship.

Once the reader grasps all of these concepts and recognizes where they are relevant and exist in their relationships, they can embark upon the paths of awareness, action, and recovery.

Ultimately, the book's goals for the reader include developing a recovery plan that addresses the key dimensions of recovery, creating a new working model for relationships, and cultivating the ability to trust, which opens the door to building a solid spiritual life.

Recovery plans consist of identified bottom-line behaviors, a boundaries list, and relationship goals that signify whether a relationship meets one's standards and qualifies as being healthy.

The key dimensions of recovery include healthy bonds, boundary development, role development, trauma resolution, systems change, sense of self, key metaphors, and a recovery plan. All of these elements restore the victim's autonomy, permit the evolution of the relationship to be non-exploitative, and secure a working model for developing healthy relationships.

The importance of building a spiritual life lies in the recognition of the importance of integrity, acknowledging the due significance of things, and surrendering to one's place in a larger purpose. Spirituality requires trust: the trust of others, which can only truly come when one cultivates deep essential trust of oneself. In conjunction with that comes a new relationship with one's true essential self and with their growing relationship network.

A spiritual life can be achieved through three essential developmental processes, according to theologian Henri Nouwen. To commence, one must form a connection with oneself and come to terms with one's suffering and limitations. This precipitates deep trust of oneself.

Next, one must accept their community and cultivate a renewed trust of others. The ability to trust oneself and to trust others paves the way to cultivating trust of a higher power or purpose. Trusting a higher power requires accepting a higher purpose, which does not exclude the potential of bad things happening to undeserving people.

The book concludes by explaining the concept of relationships as perpetually existing once made. Therefore, toxic relationships must experience a transformation or change in one's outlook on it. One's emotionally and intellectual opinion of the person they were traumatically bonded to cannot remain the same if one hopes to change its residual effects.