Part 1: Many Beliefs are actually BONDS
Part 2. Bonds & Identity Loss
... Part 3. Resolving Emotional Bonds
As I developed our systemic psychology, I explored many
models of emotions, beliefs and relationships. The bondwork models that
I now use (1999) are so effective that it is strange
for me to remember when I did not even suspect them.
What I call Bondwork includes
beliefs, obsessions, compulsions and identity issues
that bond us to people, ideas or things. These bonds
can support us or block us from getting what we want.
By beliefs I refer to feelings of conviction; and
by bonds I refer to feelings of connection. While beliefs are usually
more conscious, and bonds less conscious,
both beliefs and bonds motivate us to behave in repetitive ways. The more
intense the bonds, the more we invest into our bonded relationships.
Emotional bonds are partial
identifications, where some parts of us identify with
other people, leading to contextual emotions (as opposed to existential
Strangely, resolving bonds, bonded beliefs and identifications
is largely missing in psychological and therapeutic education, although
ignoring them seems to
support short-term therapeutic effectiveness and multiple relapses.
Examples of harmful bonds include repetitive thoughts
such as, "I'm not good enough!"
or "I am bad" or "I cannot be happy",
by which people attempt to explain unpleasant
feelings. Although the verbal components of a bond can
be challenged, logic and
counter-examples are unlikely to change underlying emotions.
Three breakthroughs in my understanding were that 1)
beliefs often represent bonds, 2) bonded beliefs are often
taboo (we may not know or even suspect
our hidden beliefs,
and 3) bonded beliefs often supply a sense of identity.
My study of beliefs included
the work of Phineas Quimby, a 19th century
healer who was credited with healing thousands of people by changing their
Quimby wrote that education and religion were the primary
sources of destructive
beliefs that manifest as disease symptoms.
I would add, in the first place, parents.
Bonds may appear to be supportive or destructive.
Supportive bonds can include:
- Feeling connected to and at home in your body
- Feeling connected to mentors whom you respect
- Feeling connected to a meaningful life vision or purpose
- Feeling connected to a person whom you wish to emulate
Although psychoanalytic theories refer to
fixations of sexual energy, I find that most fixations result from relationship disappointments,
in which limiting beliefs allowed a sense of connection with difficult
people - e.g. parents, teachers,
priests or authorities. The consequences of unpleasant bonds can last for decades
- Voice-like thoughts
- Horrifying images and dreams
- Guilt: depression and self-sabotage
- Depression: life does not make sense
- Diseases centered in the bond locations
- Feeling stuck to people you want to leave
- Strong emotions which do not make sense
- Compulsions, obsessions, fixations and fetishes
Another root of my bond work is in the
pre-contact huna healing used
by native Hawaiians.
Ele'ele eke (black bags) refer to emotions,
beliefs and images held in the body
which can be healed by
ho'omoe (dreaming together) and other ancient methods.
Most emotional bonds are created during shared emotional experiences
and include family and cultural traditions. Stronger bonds include
codependence and the strongest may be
identification with a person,
organization or nationality.
Bonds, and their consequences, that connect people
into families and lineages may be called family traditions.
Many bonded beliefs begin with I am ...
(e.g. "I am a psychologist"), as bonds can be
substitutes for identity - a form of identity loss. (E.g. many
people identify with the diagnostic opinions given by medical doctors.
In a hospital, instead of a human being, you may become "the
gall-bladder in room 13").
For 20 years, my colleagues and I have helped people
explore and change bonds, some of which we call
taboo. Taboo implies that people may not allow
themselves to consider, let alone challenge, their underlying beliefs and
(E.g. "I am too stupid to survive alone" might support
attachments to difficult or abusive people).
Is cancer random? Some cancers (e.g. lung and skin) are risk
related, and some seem to develop in those body locations where we feel bonded
to certain people.
and compulsions into ordinary temptations.
Some bonds arise from marketing suggestions, commonly used to
influence people to feel connected to commercial products, political rhetoric or religious dogma.
Do you want to explore the roots of emotions, behaviors
and change unwanted self-sabotage,
obsessions or compulsions?
Many Beliefs support Bonds
What do you HAVE to believe to remain in your
job? What MUST you believe to stay in your marriage? What
SHOULD you believe to be your parent's child? What are you
REQUIRED to believe to participate in a religion? And if those or similar bonds limit your happiness or depress your
sense of life, can you change them?
Many unpleasant relationship bonds are consequences of
e.g. parental alienation
(a parent alienates the other in the mind
of their child) or of covert emotional incest
(when an adult family
member relates to a child as a substitute for a partner).
I often hear people say things like, "I want to be healthy,
but not if I must change my beliefs about ... xxx",
where xxx is some political slogan, New Age ideal or religious dogma.
Many bonded beliefs may feel more important than health, some feel more
important than happiness and some may seem more important than life.
Some organizations strive to install
obsessive bonds and compliance in their members. Consider political parties,
religious cults, military organizations and multi-level marketing companies.
People with obsessive or compulsive bonds are more easily manipulated.
If you were abused, if you abused someone or if you suffered
therapist damage, your
bonds to those people will impact your other relationships. When your
abusive bonds are triggered, you may suffer the consequences of abuse again and
The Name is BOND
Relational bonds encourage you to cling to beliefs,
obsessions and compulsions. Why did you buy your current car ...
or mobile phone? Professional marketing programs are designed by experts to install obsessions and compliance
in people like YOU.
show limiting beliefs, obsessions, compulsions and
symptoms? Such people live in a state of trance.
Part 2. Beliefs
& Identity Loss .
Part 3. Resolving Emotional Bonds
Do you want to change obsessions, compulsions or relationship habits?
Online Systemic Coaching, Counseling and Therapy
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Plagiarism is theft. Copyright ©
Martyn Carruthers 1999-2017