Episode 26 – Betrayal

Sep 27, 2018

The experience of betrayal is painful, confusing, and damaging to one’s basic sense of self and reality. The betrayer is often seized by feelings that demand gratification and involve self-deceit, abandonment of responsibility and empathy for the other. Are there ever times when betrayal is necessary for growth, either as the betrayed or the betrayer? Can betrayal be used as a call to deepened feeling, increased consciousness and more creative self-expression?

In this episode, we refer to Impossible Love: or Why the Heart Must Go Wrong by Jungian analyst Jan Bauer and The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm. Here’s a link to Nina Paley’s animated film Sita Sings the Blues.

Here’s the dream we discuss:
“I was in a house that belonged to my parents, but it wasn’t a house my parents have ever actually lived in. My boyfriend and I were fooling around in the bathtub. I was enjoying myself but he warned me that we were making a mess. I turned around and saw that we had somehow flooded the bathroom with several inches of water. I started to panic about how angry my parents were going to be. There was a radio on the floor that was an actual radio that my dad owned when I was a child. I was afraid to step out of the tub and into the water because I thought I’d be electrocuted. I was able to lean out and unplug the radio, and music that I hadn’t realized was playing stopped. I jumped out of the tub to grab a bucket to try to deal with the water, but by then most of it had drained away. I was trying to scoop up what was left and dump it down the drain. My boyfriend wasn’t helping and I was getting mad at him. He seemed to think it wasn’t any big deal because the water was almost gone. I told him that the water had obviously drained into other parts of the house, causing damage and that my parents were still going to be angry.”

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash


  1. Judy Gibson

    Hey, you forgot the link to Sita Sings the Blues!

  2. Mik

    You make it sound like people have choices about these kind of behaviors and they don’t tell the people who they “betray” If you are abandoned in a relationship and the abandoner refuses to leave, for example, then if you want to live a whole life you may have no choice. You may tell them you are going to go be with other people, it may technically be adultery but where is the responsibility of the other party of they were the person who left your bed years before? It’s not one sided. Don’t make it sound that way. It’s complicated. Oversimplification is unfair.

    • Joseph23455

      Oversimplification is indeed unfair Mik – this is always the danger in addressing such delicate topics in a general way without the living context. I agree that the failure of a relationship rarely rests solely on the shoulders of one person. I can sense the pain in your comment and appreciate your courage in sharing so deeply.

  3. Jeanie

    The dreamer initially describes a house that her parents never actually lived in. As I listened, I was thinking deeply about betrayal , as well as the patterns of early betrayal that can set us up to find compensatory, often codependant patterns to mediate and manage the hurt … it helped for me to see that in this dream , if the parents weren’t living in their house, how could the child learn to live in hers? Was there an early deficit in capacity and holding?

    • Joseph23455

      I’m resonating with the inter generational complex of “not living in ones house”. ~ Joseph

      • Jeanie

        Yes, and that this dream was in the episode on betrayal interests me, that not living or inhabiting oneself fully is a betrayal, that has ramifications.

        • Joseph23455

          It does indeed Jeanie. The soul responds to every choice, or refusal to choose, that the ego makes. Joseph


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