Love and the Mystery of Betrayal
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“Soul-satisfying empathy and validation, as well as higher-self, love-focused guidance on how to respond and heal. A rare combination. She has the corner on the market on describing betrayal in a way that illuminates the depth and horror of such harm – a must-read.” —K. Later, Amazon review
In her award-winning book, Love and the Mystery of Betrayal, Sandra Dennis tells the story of betrayal in love from the inside out. She puts flesh on the bones of the theory that betrayal is a spiritual crisis, an initiatory rite of passage that plunges the betrayed into a prolonged dark night that with patience and grace opens the heart of compassion and teaches a deeper trust in life.
This book articulates the experience of broken trust as a unique pain that cracks through defensive strategies to reveal both our raw vulnerabilities and deepest longings of heart. She describes betrayal as the signature experience of our humanity, one we all secretly know. Simply being born, we are cut off from our source of physical warmth and nourishment, the first “betrayal”.
We don’t tend to think of betrayal as a trauma. But the psyche registers intimate betrayal as a life-threatening event. The pain can threaten your identity and even the life of your soul. With your psychic integrity under siege, the threat needs to be taken seriously.
Neuropsychology has confirmed that betrayal registers in the same brain centers as physical pain. Worse, rejection also stimulates another brain center that causes intense cravings. Similar to withdrawal from an addictive drug, like nicotine or cocaine. These cross currents of hurt and longing can create a form of biopsychological torment.
Studies show that the stress is equivalent to having a magnum .44 pointed at your head. And betrayal trauma can go on for months, or even years, if not treated. Understanding what is happening to you can help you to bear what seems unbearable. When betrayed, the grief, rage and heartache can be overwhelming. The intensity of the pain —as well as how long it lasts— makes it seem there must be something terribly wrong. And there is! The shock shatters our usual sense of self, inflicting a trauma of the first magnitude.
The devastation of a serious betrayal is often too much to bear. For self-protection, we deny, repress, or act out in addictions, illness, damaging sexuality or other self-destructive behaviors. To make matters worse, we live in a culture that is blind to betrayal, denies and stigmatizes emotional pain, and reveres power that is so often misused when we are betrayed.
At the same time, betrayal can be powerful soul medicine. The disease being treated is our limited relation to ourselves, to reality really!This book will help you realize the scale of the re-alignment going on in your soul. It will help you recognize that you are in the midst of an initiation into the depths of the suffering and compassionate heart that will open you to a sweetness of love and life never before available to you.
Several years ago, a few weeks before our wedding, my long-time partner suddenly left me. Since I had been a resilient, high-functioning professional, I was astounded in the aftermath of this shock by the extent of my unraveling. My competence and confidence evaporated and I was reduced to a broken heap on my bedroom floor. Hyper-vigilance, numbness, and replays of his departure moved in and haunted my days and nights. Not for weeks or months, but for years.
Despite advanced degrees in psychology and spirituality, I was bewildered by what was happening to me. I needed and wanted to understand it! I spent the next few years immersing myself in the mysteries of trauma, grief and loss. During this time, I read and researched, prayed and meditated, did deep-diving and soul-searching, as well as talking to others…I learned a lot. Throughout this time, I felt a calling, a responsibility, to share what I was learning. From the depths of my own experience, I began to write Love and the Mystery of Betrayal.
Now, I am grateful for the awards the book has garnered. But I’ve been especially touched by the many notes of relief, validation and appreciation from readers. The book has helped many people recognize and heal betrayal trauma—a shock that is downplayed and dismissed in our culture—and to move through the often unrecognized prolonged grief abandonment triggers.
USA Best Book Awards
Finalist (Non-fiction Narrative)
ForeWord Reviews’ Indiefab Book of the Year
Next Generation Indie Book Awards
Kindle 2015 Book Review