In this episode, I speak with Dr. Jennifer J. Freyd, the Founder and President of the Center for Institutional Courage, Inc (https://www.institutionalcourage.org/), keynote speaker, author, and professor emerit of psychology with over 30 years of experience researching people and their relationships with institutions.)
Dr. Freyd emphasizes how it is in our nature as human beings to be sensitive to betrayal because experiencing betrayal can be so costly. She also explains how our wiring for connection, attachment, and love can contribute to us not only feeling great shame when we are betrayed, but also may also contribute to a phenomenon she refers to as “betrayal blindness.” She thoughtfully shares her research on betrayal, different types of betrayal (e.g., institutional & interpersonal betrayal), reasons we may forget about experiences of trauma or have difficulty remembering certain details, and DARVO (D – Deny, A – Attack, RVO – Reverse Victim & Offender), a strategy that can be used to deflect blame when confronted with accusations of wrongdoing. Importantly, she highlights hope-instilling aspects of her research which show us how we can refrain from engaging in DARVO regardless of whether or not we believe we did what we are being accused of doing. We also discuss specific, concrete actions we can engage in on individual, interpersonal, and institutional levels to counteract the individual and collective harm caused by DARVO and effectively navigate difficult conversations with courage, curiosity, compassion, accountability, willingness to be vulnerable, openness to believing things we may not understand, and respect for ourselves and others.
I have the distinct honor and privilege of having known Dr. Freyd for many years as a mentor, colleague, and friend, and Dr. Freyd continues to be a huge source of inspiration in my life both personally and professionally. Dr. Freyd is an incredible human being and force in the world and she has taught me so much about what it really means to be courageous and to live life in accordance with our values. This episode is near and dear to my heart and felt particularly meaningful and important, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
About Dr. Jennifer J. Freyd: Jennifer Freyd, PhD, is the Founder and President of the Center for Institutional Courage, Inc. (https://www.institutionalcourage.org/). Dr. Freyd is also a keynote speaker, author, and professor emerit of psychology with over 30 years of experience researching people and their relationships with institutions. Freyd introduced the concepts of “institutional courage,” “institutional betrayal,” “DARVO,” and “betrayal trauma.”
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References & Additional Resources
Please note that the information provided in this episode does not constitute professional advice or therapy, mental health services, or health care services, and is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional advice or services. If you are struggling with a mental health crisis or need immediate assistance, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
As a holistic coach, psychologist, mindfulness, meditation & yoga instructor, & Ayurvedic doula I offer personalized paths to growth & healing.