Freedom from Obsessions and Self-Sabotage © Martyn Carruthers

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Are you serving other people’s values – not your own? Are you entangled in past relationships?
We help motivated adults free themselves from limiting beliefs and entanglements.

2. Bonds & Identity Loss3. Resolving Emotional Bonds

Part 1: Which Beliefs are actually BONDS?

As I developed what I later called Integrative Systemic Coaching, I explored many current models of emotions, beliefs and relationships used by helping professionals. Close to the core of my emerging model of consciousness arose practical concepts that seem so obvious and practical now, that it is strange to remember when I did not use them – or even know of them. These useful concepts include belief-bonds, identity loss and mentor damage.

I use the word belief to refer to a feeling of conviction about a verbal statement; and the word bond to refer to a feeling of connectedness, enmeshment or entanglement. While beliefs are more conscious, and bonds more unconscious, both beliefs and bonds appear to motivate and modify behavior.

Two important breakthroughs in my understanding were to realize that many beliefs are actually bonds, and that some beliefs (I sometimes call them identity beliefs) are substitutes or compensation for a sense of self. I use the term Bondwork to mean helping people explore and replace unwanted bonds.

The roots of this part of my methodology include the work of Phineas Quimby, a healer who was credited with healing thousands of people by changing their beliefs. Quimby wrote that education and religion were the primary cause of destructive beliefs that manifested as disease symptoms. I would add … parents.


 Examples of supportive bonds can include:

  1. Feeling connected to and at home in your body
  2. Feeling connected to a meaningful life vision or purpose
  3. Feeling connected to a mentor whom you wish to emulate
  4. Feeling connected to children or pets whom you nourish and care for
  5. Feeling connected to family members or to people whom you respect or enjoy

To Freud, fixations reflected the effort people exert to move through developmental stages. We note that adult skills often reflect childhood challenges … for example people who can be very funny may have developed this skill under duress.


Psychoanalytic theory also refers to fixations of sexual energy either in specific erogenous zones or to specific objects … I now perceive most fixations as results of entanglements and bonds. Examples of limiting fixations include beliefs that were uncritically accepted from other people, particularly from parents and mentors. The effects of limiting bonds can include:

  1. Acts of self-sabotage
  2. Feeling isolated, lost, lonely or disconnected
  3. Failing to find a sense of life, or a meaningful life purpose
  4. Feeling strong, often chronic emotions which do not make sense
  5. Feeling stuck to people or to places that you want to leave or avoid

Another root of my Bondwork is in the pre-contact huna healing used by native Hawaiians. Ele’ele eke (black bags) described emotions held in the body which were difficult to heal except through ho’oponopono (an ancient Polynesian family therapy).


I and my graduates help people explore and change limiting beliefs and bonds, some of which we call taboo. Taboo implies that people may not allow themselves to recognize certain bonds – usually to avoid threatening important relationships (typically with a parent). We regularly help motivated adults explore the relationship roots of their intense emotions, compulsive behaviors and obsessive beliefs, and change the emotional roots of self-sabotage, obsessions and compulsions.

Dissolving relationship belief-bonds and fixations can change obsessions and compulsions into ordinary temptations.


Many Beliefs are Fixed Ideas

What do you HAVE to believe to remain in your job? What MUST you believe to stay in your marriage? What SHOULD you believe to be your parent’s child? What are you REQUIRED to believe to participate in a religion? And if your beliefs limit your happiness and sense of life, can you change them?

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) (a parent alienates the other parent in the mind of a child) and/or emotional incest (a parent or guardian uses a child as a substitute for a partner) often accompany relationship bonds.


Many times we hear, “I want to be healthy, but not at the expense of changing my beliefs about … xxx“, where xxx is often a life philosophy, political slogan or religious dogma. Many beliefs seem to be more important than health, and some beliefs seem to be more important than life.

Of course I want to be healthy – but not if it means changing my beliefs, changing my self-image or changing my lifestyle.
Heard from many, many clients … Martyn Carruthers


The shared experiences and love that bond family members are the basis for some of the strongest relationship bonds that humans can experience. But while people need strong nurturing family bonds to function in a society of families, many people remain bonded by unpleasant or toxic family beliefs.

Leaders of some organizations strive to create obsessive bonds and fixations to their agendas. Consider political parties, military organizations, multi-level marketing companies, religious cults and sports teams. Obsessions and fixations leave people highly vulnerable to compliance and manipulation.

Shared experiences generate relatively weak relationship bonds. Stronger bonds can be cultural and family traditions. Even stronger are symbiosis and codependence, and the strongest may be identification. See how to assess emotional bonds.

In 1664, Spinoza wrote, Ethics of Human Bondage or the Strength of the Emotions.
Spinoza wrote that bondage relates to human weakness in moderating emotions. According to Spinoza, ‘when a man is prey to his emotions, he is not his own master, but lies at the mercy of fortune.’

If you experienced trauma or abuse, or if you were victim of emotional incest or therapy damage, you may suffer from limiting beliefs and dysfunctional habits that impact many of your relationships. If you are bonded to certain people or groups – triggering these bonds can cause you to suffer the consequences of unresolved relationship issues and other emotional baggage!

Emotional freedom can grow if you ponder
How do I want to connect emotionally to my parents / partner / boss / …

The strongest bonded relationships seem to be based on a shared sense of identity. Beliefs beginning with I am (e.g. “I am a medical doctor”) appear to be substitutes for identity – hence I see them as one type of identity loss. I find that much dysfunctional behavior appears to be based on beliefs that provide feelings of connection or a compensation for identity loss.

The name is BOND

Psychological obsessions can be conscious or unconscious. You are aware of conscious bonds – you can describe your connectedness to certain people, groups and organizations. You are not normally aware of unconscious (taboo) bonds that may strongly influence your perception of yourself and your behavior. Many people appear to repeatedly think and act in certain ways, without knowing why.

Relational bonds encourage you to cling to beliefs, obsessions and compulsions. People often describe the more conscious relationship bonds as colored tubes or cords or shadows between themselves and other people. These synesthesia patterns provide much information about the nature of the bonds.

Why do you buy your brand of soap? Many marketing programs are
designed by psychologists to install obsessions, compulsions and compliance.

Taboo relationship beliefs often appear localized in body organs or muscles – often associated with chakras and with symptoms that may be called psychosomatic. Sometimes deep massage can trigger bonded emotions. Dissociated relationship bonds are often felt near the body – people often spontaneously describe them as blocks, walls, dark clouds or entities.

Your relationship bonds determine what feels true or right. If you feel bonded to or entangled with dysfunctional people, for example, you may cling to irrational beliefs and behave strangely during times of stress (work or family problems, etc), with symptoms that prevent you making healthier decisions.

To summarize, many people appear to be influenced during their relationships – especially with mentors (e.g. parents, teachers and therapists). The consequences of mentor damage include limiting beliefs, obsessions, compulsions and psychosomatic symptoms that compensate for disappointments and injustice. Such consequences bond people – even people who would otherwise avoid each other.

Part 2. Bonds & Identity Loss   Part 3. Resolving Emotional Bonds

We help people explore and change unwanted relationship bonds;
and dissolve the consequences of spiritual and therapist damage.

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