by Holli Kenley, M.A.
Self-Help, Relationships, Interpersonal Relationships
242 pages, Loving Healing Press, 2d Edition
Reviewed by Sheri McGregor, M.A.
The experience of betrayal can be devastating. Feelings including loss, sadness, and anger are normal. Others have found ways to manage and prevail, and they have healed. In Breaking Through Betrayal: and Recovering the Peace Within, 2nd Edition (2d Edition, 2016, Loving Healing Press), author Holli Kenley, a marriage and family therapist, shares examples of real people to provide inspiration and let readers know they are not alone. Kenley helps readers to cope and recover.
A sense of betrayal can come from many sources. An early chapter that defines the topic provides a few sources of “betrayal” you might not have considered before. Whenever you invest your time, energy, money, or trust, and your expectations are dashed, you feel let down, and can experience a sense of betrayal.
Within the first few pages, it becomes evident that Kenley knows her subject well. Drawing from both her professional involvement and from her own painful personal experience, Kenley conveys her understanding of betrayal and its pain from many angles. From her professional experience, she believes that the experience of a betrayal is often behind issues such as depression, grief, anxiety, and anger.
Using plentiful examples and engaging vignettes, Kenley breaks down betrayal and its many instances to help readers better identify their own situations and the resulting distress. Readers may have invested, time, love, and money in things such as a business, an educational pursuit, an organization, a belief, or a relationship. The type of investment, for how long, and to what are all explored in terms of the betrayal experience. The nuances of each shed light on specific experiences, as well as the recovery process.
Careful and Caring
Writing in a caring voice that reminds readers to pace themselves and pause when needed, Kenley provides rare, honest glimpses into the pain and thought processes that accompany betrayal. Confusion, worthlessness, and powerlessness are common. So is a sense that one has lost control, as if imprisoned by circumstances. These strong feelings can result in thought patterns that make predictions about the future and our place in the future that we can’t know are true. Kenley gently challenges the thoughts then leads the reader to replace them with healthier, more empowering ones. Readers may not have previously been fully aware of what is keeping them stuck.
In this second edition, Kenley has added information on self-betrayal and relapse.
Breaking Through Betrayal: and Recovering the Peace Within, 2d Edition includes exercises to help identify and analyze betrayal experiences. However, readers who choose not to sit down with paper and pen will benefit from guidance, examples, and contemplative material within the text. Intellectual acumen is balanced with heartfelt understanding written in a respectful, hopeful manner.
Divided into three main sections that lead to recovery, Breaking Through Betrayal: and Recovering the Peace Within, 2nd Edition doesn’t sugarcoat the subject. Recovering from betrayal takes time, requires awareness and work, and may at times be painful. Readers are helped to move forward without being pushed.
And Kenley points out that the understanding and knowledge gained through the experience of betrayal and recovery can be a gift.
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