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Blind to Betrayal: Why We Fool Ourselves We Aren't Being Fooled Paperback – March 1, 2013
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Book web site: sites.google.com/site/betrayalbook/
Blind to Betrayal
"In Blind to Betrayal, Jennifer Freyd and Pamela Birrell break new scientific ground, grasping that trauma is caused not only by singular, dramatic catastrophes but by the sometimes slow, subtle, even secret devastation of betrayal. And by uncovering the phenomenon of 'betrayal blindness,' a survival mechanism that turns noxious, the authors shed light on a toxicity afflicting girls and women much more frequently than men. They point the way to healing, too, in this remarkable book that will literally save lives." --Robin Morgan, Author and activist
"Even if, like me, you are less than enchanted with therapy (ANY therapy!) you will find much of value in this courageous path-breaking book that honors the stories of survivors of abuse of many kinds. It is compelling, readable and most important of all, true."--Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of Assault on Truth, Final Analysis and 24 other books.
"Blind to Betrayal dares to say what most of us know, intuitively, about the basic human need to trust in the goodness of others. Fear of experiencing the overwhelming pain of knowing that people to whom we render ourselves vulnerable have exploited rather than cherished our trust makes us "blind" to betrayal even when it's right there in front of us. Drs. Freyd and Birrell have built a critical bridge of knowledge that allows us to take the blinders off and become comfortable in our discomfort. This book is a gift to all who suffer with or support those who feel stuck in the reluctance to know the ugly truth about the people and institutions we entrust with our minds and bodies. Open this book - then open your eyes to the power and liberation that always comes with new insight and truth."--Wendy J. Murphy, JD, New England Law/Boston, Author of And Justice For Some
"Drs. Freyd and Birrell open our eyes to the profound and pervasive human vulnerability of betrayal blindness. They show how it deprives us of key information and realizations, often with catastrophic results; how the scientific research helps us to understand it; and how we can break free of it. These preeminent experts have created a book that will of great help to many people and that belongs on the book shelf of all therapists and coaches, on the reading list of all clinical training programs, and in the hands of everyone who seeks a better understanding of human behavior and experience."--Kenneth S. Pope, Ph.D., ABPP, Diplomate in Clinical Psychology
"Powerful, illuminating, and disturbing, this translation of decades of meticulous scientific research and sophisticated clinical observation is an eye-opener in the best sense for social scientists, clinicians, and any reader interested in understanding the impact of trauma from a unique new perspective. The work Dr. Freyd and her colleagues have done in this controversial and increasingly urgent area of violence and victimization, the description she and Dr. Birrell provide of the paths to recovery that become possible when psychological blindness is recognized and understood, and the compelling case examples in this book, is a groundbreaking and essential contribution."--Julian D. Ford, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry University of Connecticut Health Center
"Drs. Freyd and Birrell have created a masterwork for all of us who struggle to comprehend our own experiences of not seeing, not knowing, and not protecting ourselves and others from betrayal. The pervasiveness of both betrayal and betrayal blindness, and the challenges inherent in becoming able to know and see betrayal, as well as the psychological science making sense of these painful dynamics, come to life in this book. It's one that I'll be buying several copies of, because I know that it'll constantly be on loan to clients and students. A must-read for everyone who has experienced betrayal and betrayal blindness -- and that means almost all of us."--Laura S. Brown, Ph.D. ABPP, Director, Fremont Community Therapy Project
From the Back Cover
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.
This powerful and life-changing book:
- Examines the fundamental experience of betrayal and its incredibly destructive effects on both individuals and society
- Explains the psychological phenomenon of "betrayal blindness"
- Offers important insights on how to see through betrayal blindness, confront betrayal, and overcome its effects
- Reveals findings from the authors' 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 choiceto 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.
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Top customer reviews
But this work did surprise. And it provided the kind of profound insights that informed the work I do in a very different field.
Freyd and Birrell take a complex body of research on betrayal and clearly and accessibly bring it to life through the lives of real people. These are complex human beings, struggling with fully-human contradictions and anxieties, who face nothing less than the collapse of the most basic assumptions about safety, security, and self. Why, they ask, didn't I see that my secure world was about to be shattered by a lie, an infidelity, a betrayal? Freyd's and Birrell's subjects are so richly drawn that what society often caricatures as the implausible gullibility of the betrayed is revealed to be a much more basic and powerful human response, a way we all protect ourselves from the deep hurt of having had a supposedly trusting relationship suddenly ripped apart.
The larger issue I am now stuck on - and the reason I think people from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines need to read this book - has to do with the question of evil with which my colleagues (sociologists and criminologists, for the most part) deal. Much of our work tries to understand large-scale, collective acts of extreme violence that can also rip away our most basic feelings of safety and security. But as I was pulled into the world of individuals who have felt the sting of betrayal, I found myself questioning the most basic assumptions of what constitutes evil behavior. Might our focus on genocides, natural disasters, and acts of terror obscure the extent to which cruel acts of betrayal - sometimes occurring behind closed doors and without explosions and mayhem - are among the most painful and traumatic experiences we can know as human beings? And might the perpetrators of these betrayals fully deserve a fully prominent position in any hierarchy of evil?
I may not have any answers, but Freyd and Birrell have brilliantly brought these questions to life with profound wisdom and insight.
Imagine my surprise when, nearly a decade after I had read that first book, as an undergraduate psychology major at the University of Oregon, I found myself registering for a Psychology of Trauma course taught by Jennifer Freyd. As luck would have it, I had also taken a Psychopathology course from Pam Birrell that had led me to clearly see "clients" as people, therapists as human, the therapeutic relationship between them based in equality and mutual respect, and many (if not most) symptoms of "mental illness" as reasonable (even if seemingly unhelpful) reactions to a person's individual life circumstances.
This book greatly expands on Betrayal Trauma Theory to thoroughly explore the dynamics of betrayal blindness, a mechanism which helps insure our individual survival when we find ourselves in the untenable position of losing our own safety or losing our bonds with those we depend upon for nurturance, protection, and a sense of belonging. With precisely the right blend of reliable science, personal narrative, and case study analysis, these two amazing women take us on a guided journey to examine betrayal blindness on every level--from the most intimate to the institutional.
I do not simply recommend this book. I implore you to read it, encourage you to share it with as many people as possible, and challenge you to apply it not only to your own life, but to the individuals and institutions which claim to serve you. I see the awareness this book brings and the widespread healing it could lead to as absolutely vital to building the sane and sustainable communities we must create in this society.