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Change Emotional Bonds and Beliefs
Fixations & Limiting Beliefs Martyn Carruthers 2005

Online Help: Counseling & Therapy

1. Introduction to Bonds & Fixations . 2. Bonds, Fixations & Identity Loss

Part 3: Change Relationship Bonds & Beliefs

Although businesses spend fortunes to influence your shopping behavior, their influence is minor compared to that of your parents, teachers and doctors. (Some businesses spend fortunes to motivate those people to influence you.)

Martyn Carruthers, Soulwork Founder

Your beliefs - your answers to "What feels true or right?" - are largely determined by your relationships. If your parents were unhappy, you may have unhappy beliefs about yourself and your world, often leading to obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors.

Did your parents enjoy life and commit to happiness?
Or did they distract themselves from life?
Do you still copy them?

When I help couples enjoy better partnership, I often find that one or both are bonded to parents, past partners or mentors, and that a fixed idea (a mind virus) from those relationships may motivate failure, self-sabotage and separation.

Most relational bonds seem to originate in relationship disappointments during childhood (e.g. betrayal, neglect or family separation). These disturbances may be single intense experiences, or less intense experiences repeated over time.

People who are bonded to parents, ex-partners etc often behave in inappropriate yet predictable ways. I help people find solutions for obsessions and compulsions. A key is helping people define "What is normal?"

Whose drama are you repeating?

People who are bonded to both conflicting parents may experience deep conflict as they act out both sides of their parent's conflicts. Such people may even be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, especially if one parent was often motivated while the other was often depressed.

Signs of Fixations

Fixated people often show obsessions, compulsions, obsessive-compulsive behavior and psychosomatic symptoms. Bonded people are often obsessively responsible or obsessively irresponsible, either in some context (e.g. at work or at home) or in all parts of their lives. Consider these habits:

Must be responsible Must be irresponsible
  1. not rest
  2. overwork
  3. be perfect
  4. finish every task
  5. manipulate others
  6. offer irrational loyalty
  7. victimize self to serve others
  8. are compliant to all authorities
  1. be lazy
  2. be imperfect
  3. not care about others
  4. leave tasks unfinished
  5. betray loyalty - even to self
  6. complain, blame and justify
  7. victimize others to serve self
  8. disrespect and disobey authorities

Bonded people rarely realize that their behavior is so predictable. If anyone, even trusted friends, point out their obsessive/compulsive behavior, bonded people usually respond with justifications, excuses or complaints.

Characteristics of Bonded People

Bonded people may damage or destroy themselves, their family, their work, their relationships and/or their environment to fulfill their emotional beliefs. Some common characteristics of bonded or fixated people are ...

  1. They may say that suffering is normal.
  2. They may say they feel special or chosen.
  3. They may criticize or ridicule healthy behavior.
  4. They may be accused of having weak boundaries.
  5. They may endlessly criticize themselves and others.
  6. They may have difficulty maintaining healthy relationships.
  7. They may seek counterfeit love through fantasies or affairs.
  8. They may display their certificates, collections, awards or trophies.

Is a First Step to Health to Suffer?

Suffering is often a first step to resolving bonds and fixations. The depression or pain of loneliness, or of asking "Is this all there is?" can motivate searches for solutions. Yet many people avoid solutions. When they come face-to-face with their issues, they often respond with denial, distractions or emotional explosions. (Repeatedly denying your emotions may precipitate psychosomatic symptoms).

Suffering often precipitates conflicts which may become stronger and more frequent when people feel emotions and pain that they have long avoided. A useful question is, "Have you suffered enough to sort this out?"

Tips for Counselors & Therapists

Helping Bonded or Fixated Adults

Few people are aware of their darker relationship bonds, and even fewer will connect their difficult emotions or self-sabotage with their relationship history. Bonds are terra incognita for most people - and terror incognita for some.

Note: Incompetent therapy can damage people's ability to bond!

  1. Gently explore and expose bonded behavior and the underlying beliefs. (Bonded people need time to recognize the consequences of their bonds or fixed ideas, and they often need more time to assimilate and/or atone for their past actions).
  2. This sequence works well for motivated adults and supports lasting benefits:
    a) Define life and relationship goals
    b) Assess past and present relationships
    c) Dissolve objections, resistance and conflicts
    d) Recover one's own identity / true identity / true self ...
    e) And only then - replace deep taboo beliefs and bonds

  3. When helping bonded adults:

  4. a) If you lose trust, they will withdraw or reject you
    b) Remind people that they are neither unique nor alone
    c) Expect suspicion, unfair criticism and emotional outbursts
    d) If in doubt, refer bonded clients to experienced professionals
    e) Don't expect much credit for your work - expect people to forget it

Do you believe things that you know are not true?

Part 1. Introduction to Bonds . Part 2. Bonds, Fixations & Identity Loss

Do you want to resolve your emotions and change limiting beliefs?

Online Help: Coaching, Counseling & Therapy

I thought you were just another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 2005-2018 All rights reserved.

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Have You Suffered Enough?

 Where are you now? Understand your emotions, fixations and enmeshments
What do you hope for? Know your goals and stop sabotaging yourself
Do you feel resourceful? Learn to develop your inner resources
Do emotions block you? Relationship problems and mentor damage
Do your beliefs limit you? Change limiting beliefs and end dependence
Do you feel connected? Resolve identity issues to recover lost resources
Is your partner happy? Build healthy partnership (or separate peacefully)
Are your children healthy? Happy parents better manage family problems
Do you want team success? Team leaders and their teams develop together
Do you have complex goals? Specialty coaching, counseling & therapy

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 1996-2018  All rights reserved. Soulwork Systemic Coaching was primarily developed by Martyn Carruthers to help people solve emotional problems and relationship conflicts to achieve their goals. These concepts and strategies are for general knowledge only. Consult a physician about medical conditions and before changing medical treatment. Don't steal intellectual property ... get permission to post, publish or teach Martyn's work - email