BETRAYAL: Dialog with Serena

Serena’s comment: Nan, that’s a useful insight. I’m nervous, though, about the descriptor “more”. I would say the dynamics are simply different. For example a child abused by a teacher who is their hero/ine. Or by a priest who is the conduit of their daily prayers to their Creator, who they love? Having said that I agree it’s about Trust. Not a word I understand, I’m afraid.


Photo courtesy of  Faisal Jawaid


Nan’s Reply:  Yes, I agree that as stated by Shengold is a bit confusing. I just now clarified in my post that these words were his own. I think he’s narrowing himself to the issue of broken trust. I don’t think I’m saying it very well. Finkelhor (1986) outlined four different damaging effects of Incest (powerlessness, damaged goods, betrayal and damage to the victim’s sexuality.) Under the rubric of “incest” he included both blood and non-blood incest (to include such caregivers as babysitters, coaches, teachers, clergymen, etc.).

When someone says “I don’t get mad, I get even,” it is likely that he or she has experienced betrayal. It is one of Finkelhor’s four factors in child sexual abuse, and carries with it anger, depression, clinging, impaired judgment of others, and isolation. When the child’s personhood is disregarded and they are related to only as a sex object, there is also bitterness. “At the moment of abuse, with its profound betrayal of relational and generational boundaries, illusion is forever smashed.” (Frawley-O’Dea 1997, 95).

THE ABOVE IS THE KIND OF EXPLORATION AND EXCHANGE that I welcome.  Feel free to share your thoughts and/or experience.

About Nan Mykel

At 79, I was just about to stop keeping a journal, but that felt like accepting that growth was finished. I don't want to be finished, yet! I'm 80 now, and struggling to communicate with you, if you'll come and set awhile. P.S. My how time flies! I'm 82 now.
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