Q&A with Elaine Eisenman and Susan Stautberg…

Q&A with Elaine Eisenman and Susan Stautberg…

Co-authors of “Betrayed: A Survivor’s Guide to Lying, Cheating, & Double Dealing”

For our first blog post, we wanted to take a few minutes and answer a few common questions we frequently receive. We look forward to sharing more on our blog.

 

Tell us about yourselves and how you two met.

Elaine and Susan: Elaine and I met, in New York, when I started having dinners for women who served on corporate and privately held boards and a mutual friend suggested she attend as she had just joined her first public board.

 

Both of you have written books before. What’s special about this book? What sets “Betrayed” apart from the others?

Elaine:

In 2005, I co-authored “I Didn’t See it Coming: The only book you’ll ever need to avoid being blind-sided in business.” Just as we did for “Betrayed,” we interviewed people who had been blind-sided to understand their lessons of experience and renewal. Through this book, and the many workshops I have run on the topic, I learned that the best way to learn is from the stories of the experiences of others. I have been, and know so many successful people who have been betrayed, and who, although they recovered, felt embarrassed or ashamed of the experience. People inevitably blame themselves, rather than understanding the dynamics of trust and the proactive nature of the betrayer. When Susan and I began talking about the topic, we realized that we could be of help to others, as we could not find any source that pulled together these critical insights and lessons to help others avoid self-blame and embrace keeping their power as a foundation for building resilience.

Susan:

Betrayed is a book we wouldn’t have written earlier in our lives. Now we’re ready.

Over the years, personally and in our work, we have been betrayed. We want to alert our children, friends, business associates, and a greater audience, on how to not only cope but thrive afterwards.

The purpose/goal of our book is to help victims recover and move forward in rebuilding their lives stronger and wiser.

Through our research and interviews with over 50 people who have been betrayed, we help readers develop their own “cheater detector” and move forward into becoming stronger, happier, and wiser.

 

What books have most influenced your lives?

Elaine:

I don’t have a favorite book or author. My favorite fiction readings involve dysfunctional families and crime stories that focus on the dynamics of the killer and the victims. On the non-fiction front, I read about risk, willful blindness, organizational dynamics and entrepreneurship. All topics that originate in interpersonal dynamics.

Susan:

The books A Tale of Two Cities and Citizen Kane both helped illuminate people and history.

 

Writing a book alone is one thing, but working alongside a partner is a completely different process. What was it like working together to write a book?

Elaine:

Our long friendship and experience in supporting each other through many changes and transitions made it a joy to work together. While we share common values, our perspectives and style are a perfect complement to each other.

Susan:

Great. We could both bounce ideas off each other and edit. Elaine is a PhD and researcher and loves to write long, informative paragraphs. I’m a former TV broadcaster and White House speech writer and like short quotes and succinct sentences.

 

Why did you write, Betrayed: A Survivor’s Guide to Lying, Cheating, & Double Dealing?

Elaine and Susan: There’s no other practical guide for surviving betrayal and then moving beyond it with one’s strength and dignity intact. Navigating the trauma is just the beginning. Determining how to build resilience, courage, and strength is even more important and that’s our goal: to give readers a roadmap. To enable readers to not only survive but thrive and move forward to a new and better future. Quite simply, we had the time and the motivation to take the stories and pain and remorse that we heard from so many colleagues and clients, and to use our networks to find out the true stories and lessons to help others move forward. We have both benefited so much from friends who are always there to support us through times of great upheaval and change, and we wanted to write a book that, as one of our early reviewers said, felt like a long walk with a trusted advisor.

 

How would you describe your book and who is it for?

Elaine:

The book is for anyone and everyone who has experienced a setback based on trusting the wrong person or institution and helping them realize that they are not to blame and there is a great future ahead if they want to choose courage.

Susan:

Even when you do everything “right”, bad things can still happen. Not everything is in our control. Betrayed shows you how to see red flags, trust your gut, whether or not to get even or forgive your betrayers, and how to build resilience in order to move forward.

Betrayed shows you how to pivot, hold onto your power, determine your value, build courage, and develop a roadmap to move on. Betrayed shows you how to be the rider not the horse. Our message is to choose courage.

Our 50 stories range from a CEO almost being taken down by a rogue trader, to a wife discovering on Facebook that her husband is having an affair with a neighbor, to a young lawyer betrayed by a senior partner, to a husband who not only cheats on his wife but gives his lover a watch he had lobbied her to buy for him.

 

Sharing your own accounts of betrayal means letting your guard down to be vulnerable. Interviewing others can be just as difficult. What was the most challenging part of writing this book?

Elaine:

The interviews were astounding and the willingness to give of themselves to help others was profoundly moving. It was hard to end each interview and move to the next. The hardest interviews were those on the phone because I couldn’t hug the person at the end as a way of insuring that I fully understood and respected their great gift of truth.

Susan:

It was difficult to stop interviewing and start writing.

 

There is a story for everyone in your book. Which stories stand out to you the most and why? Is there one you think that is most relatable for your audience?

Elaine:

The story of the teenager who discovered her mother in bed with the teenager’s boyfriend and was then abandoned by both her father and her mother shook me to my roots. And the story behind her ability to move on and create a happy and fulfilled life reinforced how important our lessons can be for others.

Susan:

I think the opening story illustrates how not to be blindsided. It’s about a woman who learns, at the reading of her husband’s will, that he has left his mistress over 3 million dollars. She then thinks about all the clues she didn’t want to see.

 

Everyone has experienced betrayal, but everyone deals with it differently. What do you hope your readers will gain from reading your book? How do you want them to feel once they’re finished?

Elaine:

Exhilarated and optimistic. We created an acronym, BOUNCE, to sum up our lessons and we hope that our readers will think of bouncing forward whenever they hit obstacles caused by others.

Susan:

As poet Dylan Thomas advised, “Life always offers you a second chance. It’s called tomorrow.” Betrayed provides the tools, “war” stories, and confidence to move forward with courage.

Whether you’ve recently endured a betrayal or you want to arm yourself with the tools necessary to build resilience, Betrayed: A Survivor’s Guide to Lying, Cheating, & Double Dealing is a must-read. Purchase the book on Amazon today.

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