Many adults suffer from childhood trauma.
Do you suffer from your parents' drama or conflicts?
Do you want to free yourself from toxic family attachments?
Relationship goals can include a desire
for partnership or parenthood, etc, or can be the shared
goals of partners, families and teams. Relationships can be strongly influenced
Relationship bonds refer to obsessive beliefs and compulsive behaviors. Bonded behaviors can be on a spectrum from
ambivalent commitment to total obedience. Toxic relationship bonds
can motivate obsessive compliance, addictions, compulsive behaviors and
Even after I had left home for eight years,
I wasn't living my own life. It was like I was living my older brother's goals.
For example, I tried to copy his career and I was only attracted to women who
looked like his wife. You helped me clean up this mess. I stopped being a
cheap copy. Now I live my own life. Toronto
As relationship bonds are not limited to people, I formulated a
- Bonds to possessions, things, places, buildings,
parts of town
- Bonds to activities, games, ritual movements,
- Bonds to to schools, colleges and
- Bonds to beliefs - fixed ideas about people or
things - "All men are xxx"
- Bonds to values - fixations - "my
values are better than your values"
- Bonds to identity - fixed ideas about the
nature of self - "I am X"
- Bonds to the world/universe/cosmos -
"The world is Y"
We help people change their bonded beliefs and
behaviors. We coach people to explore what prevents or support
success, and to change unwanted influences on their thoughts,
emotions and behavior. These influences often show up as fixations,
obsessions and compulsions.
Who is Conscious of Relationship Bonds?
Few people seem aware of who really influences them. Some people recognize the influence of authorities such
as parents, bosses, presidents or religious leaders.
bonds as conscious, knowable and taboo. I
help people evaluate and change unwanted bonds to people, schools,
religions, etc, and to reject unwanted marketing and other
Children bond to people who meet
their needs. Bonding is almost certain in the first year of life, unless
the parents are severely disturbed. Trauma, bipolar or attachment disorders
may result if bonded relationships are threatened or severed.
As family members seem to be the most influential people in
our early lives, I help people discover if they accepted limiting beliefs as
rigid truths, and to discover if they accepted substitutes for
partners and children etc.
Assess Relationship Bonds
- Evaluate body sensations
- Observe nonverbal signals
- Evaluate emotional reality
- Evaluate metaphoric reality
- Observe relationship behavior
- Explore relationship history
- Explore blocks to goals and plans
- Explore the origin of limiting beliefs
- Explore psychosomatic symptoms
- Explore obsessions or compulsions
In practice, I focus on relationships that people want to
improve or end, and on the relationships that somehow prevent or delay
their achieving their chosen goals. (Bonded relationships need not
be current, nor with living people. Often, people want and need to
clarify relationships with past partners and/or with
people who are missing or who have died.)
We think of bonds as reciprocal attachments,
which people expect to continue, and which, if interrupted,
may affect the behavior of both people.
1. Observe external behavior
People who feel pleasantly bonded to other people usually appear
relaxed, happy, and enthusiastic while with those people. People who
are unpleasantly bonded may express stress, irritation and depression when
together. It's not difficult to observe human bonding behavior - it can be
difficult to help people interpret and change it:
Observe Bonded Behavior
- Behavior when together
- Time and place together
- Reciprocal attachments
- Nonverbal signals
- Inclusion in relationships
- Excuses, blame, complaints
By nonverbal signals I refer unconscious body
movements and vocal changes. Common nonverbal indicators are that the voice
becomes quieter and the tonality becomes childish. I note a person's gestures
when talking about a relationship - gestures often indicate body locations
affected by bonds. (This gave rise to our study of those parts of the body often called
chakras. People often touch these places unconsciously when discussing
relationships - see Relationship Yoga).
Behavior such as
forced laughing and limited responses are more likely in conflicted
relationships. You can observe people's ability to recognize and respond
to each others' non-verbal cues (e.g., eye contact, smiling, touching,
voice tonality etc).
- How and how often do the people touch?
- Do they make eye contact and smile at
- Do they seek comfort and guidance from each
- How do they respond to each other's signs of
hunger, thirst or fatigue?
You can assess how a relationship is perceived by a human system
(e.g. school, work, friends, neighbors or extended family). This can include:
- Does a person rely upon and trust their system?
- Does a person identify self as a member of the system?
- Do other members consider that person to be a member?
- Is a person accepted as a system member by the
2. Explore Relationship History
I find the best predictor of future behavior to be past behavior, and relationship history provides important information when assessing
bonds. As I explore people's relationship
history, I ask about pregnancies, births,
parental conflicts, partnerships, parenthood and deaths, etc. This can be
3. Evaluate Descriptions of Subjective Experience
The closest relationships in people's lives are likely with their
parents, siblings, intimate partners and children, and with people who are
perceived as substitutes for family members. Our systemic diagnosis
helps us assess the closeness and type of relationships as a basis for change.
A trainer suggested that we
cut our connections with every person every day. I
did this and it felt good but I have since divorced
and I am not motivated to visit my family nor my children ...
that trainer had an ugly divorce following sexual affairs with his
Known bonds (e.g. I feel connected to my ex-partner)
are often described as dark or gray connections to another person.
Some therapists recommend cutting these connections -
and I absolutely don't. At risk is your ability to bond to people at all.
We joined Amway and tried to
recruit our family and friends as instructed. After a year we had no friends,
only "business associates", and we were becoming evangelical. After we quit,
it took us years to create a new circle of friends, who we now
treasure. That 'business opportunity' now feels like a ton
of black weight on our shoulders! Arizona
Therapists who try to make bonds
go away, may dissociate or fragment the bonds. A common consequence is
that the emotions and beliefs become diffuse - and much more difficult to manage. We
often help people recover from such techniques and
Relationship Bonds - Part 2
Do you want to change unwanted beliefs, motivations and obsessions?
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Martyn Carruthers 2005-2018
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