Becoming an adult, and maintaining ones equilibrium as an adult, means that we will have met and even dealt in betrayal.

The feelings of babyhood and childhood suggest each of us are born with a tremendous drive to bond with our parents or carers. This isn’t simply an emotional need, it is a survival drive etched into us from millions of years of hard evolutionary experience. To survive and grow we must establish enduring bonds. When our innate need to be cared for is met with betrayal the pain is enormous. Here is a quote from a letter I received recently from Heather, a nanny. D. and J. are the parents of Cherry and Susan. They are business people who travel abroad a great deal, leaving their baby and young daughter, Cherry with Heather. Heather has been with them and cared for them both since birth.

D and J are in the USA till next week on business, and I am looking after the children – Cherry and little Susan. I have to have time off so am not always with them. In the meantime, the more people who look after the children, the more upset the children become and then, when it is my turn, I have very upset children to deal with and end up with them both demanding that I carry them about

It is interesting that the younger child IS really missing both parents more than the year older one. She shows it in so many ways and keeps calling for them. Cherry, I think will show it, when the parents come back. J. – the mother – thought it would be Cherry who was upset. Cherry only showed it when she was talking to the parents on the phone. She started by talking with her father, and chattered on about things she had been doing, but quite soon she asked to talk to her mother. When J. came on the phone Cherry immediately said, “Mummy, come back’ in a very quiet little voice with her head hanging down. I could see she was very close to tears, and that is all she would say to her mother, ‘come back”. She sat on my lap for the next hour, and only relaxed a bit when we went up to have a bath.

Cherry and Susan live in what would be termed a loving and caring environment, yet they still show signs of distress at the absence of their mother. When children are abused, or deserted physically or emotionally, the pain is extreme. Such is the nature of betrayal between parents and child. But there is also a form of betrayal within oneself. Fear, pain, desire to gain hold of the material world, may lead us to deny parts of our nature, deny our own wholeness and create an unbalanced life. This form of denial or betrayal causes just as much pain – often arising as psychosomatic illness. Perhaps one has fallen in love, but it is not expedient to allow it; or one has a longing to create something but worry about financial consequences stop us acting on it. Whatever the cause, this is a form of self betrayal.

In dreams betrayal is often shown in the form of abandonment or being left. But it can also be played out in scenes where someone is unfaithful in one form or another. Such dreams do not suggest the person in the dream is going to abandon us, just that we have a deep fear of abandonment. See abandoned.

If we have a brother or sister, some form of betrayal may have occurred in our relationship with them – one way or the other. This usually takes the form of competition for the parental attention and affection.

Useful Questions and Hints:

Is this a feeling I have often?

If I look backwards through my life, when did this feelings start? (Because this feeling deeply influences the way you feel in a relationship, it is helpful to recognise the difference between the history of this feeling as it has played in your life, and what is actually real in your present relationships.)

Where does the feeling or act of betrayal appear in my dream?

Check it out by using Simple Dream Exploration.


-rebecca 2016-02-06 8:49:29

I have recently made steps to try and trace my birth mother, and possibly seek out some adoption trauma counselling. Over the last two nights, I have had two really extreme dreams, one in which a very close male friend stabbed me in the heart, and the other where my best friend revealed she had slept with my (now) ex.
Your article has highlighted the possibility that the dreams are linked to my original adoption trauma which I am now considering tackling more directly in my waking life. Thankyou.

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