We think of loyalty and fidelity as virtues and they can be.
But like any qualities they can turn on you. The terms are also frequently misapplied.
We need to ask –
- Is this the right word for what I am dealing with?
- To whom or what am I loyal?
Relationships in any arena bring the complexity of these questions into sharp relief.
Many bullies at work are not exposed because victims do not come forward, fearing retribution. This is not an unrealistic fear but anchored in real concern for job security and sometimes safety.
But it is not loyalty.
Those in abusive relationships can experience a bizarre loyalty to their persecutors. Although these dynamics are highly complex traumatic bonding is a well-documented survival technique. Many wo/men stay with abusive partners too long.