Saturday, December 03, 2005

betrayal bonds: trauma blocking

trauma blocking: This aspect of betrayal bonds is about numbing out in all its various forms. Alcohol and drugs are often used. I used compulsive masturbation and internet porn to kill memories and pain. Others eat compulsively, excessive sleep, watch mind-numbing TV to waste time, become workaholics, maybe bingeing occasionally on any of these behaviors. Often times this is trouble for recovering alcoholics: When they stop the drug, the pain rushes in and they go back or switch to other addictions. The behaviors reduce anxiety, but have their own set of problems.

Often trauma blocking alternates with trauma arousal. A person will engage in high-risk, high shame behavior such as compulsive sexual activity followed by numbing out with food alcohol or something to numb out the shame. Another example would be an addict alternating between ice and alcohol, the former for arousal and the latter to numb out afterwards. When I was using, I used to do speed with alcohol and depressants in order to be "normal!" Not quite.

All the quotations and information not otherwise attributed above comes from Patrick J. Carnes, The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships (Deerfield Beach, Fla.: Health Communications Inc., 1997), 12-14.


  1. Thank you for being honest about this stuff.

    I can put most of these things on my "Been there, done that T-shirt".

    I dunno about you, but I was perfectly aware at the time why I was doing what I was doing. That didn't mean that I was in any sense practical capable of stopping. In order to stop I had to come to terms with the events in some way.

    The pain and the repetition (memories, nightmares, triggers) would get so wearing some days that I couldn't deal with it anymore. I would pop down to the store for some 'snacks' and coincidentally come back with some alcohol. I would work until exhaustion set in (it was in fact necessary, everyone was doing the same hours) but exhaustion would get me maybe one night where I didn't wake up and slept more deeply between the dreams.

  2. I'm new. I've been reading more of your blog. For the first time in my life I think I understand something about myself through you. I can't thank you enough for sharing your story. It explains so much and gives me names for so many things like intrusive thoughts, time wasting, trauma bonds, etc. Understanding about reliving every trauma and betrayal over and over in my head, nightmares, now understanding why I just can't make the thoughts go away or get over it, avoiding things and not knowing why, not feeling safe and not knowing why, feeling in agony and crying and curled up and rocking, not understanding why my former shrink and therapist didn't get it, I would ask my shrink how after seeing me for 5 mins he can diagnose me and prescribe medication. Hating the holidays and feeling guilty about it because my family doesn't get it (they like to pretend things are just perfect during Christmas, my Mom's reason is "because it's Christmas"), finding myself being exploited time and time again even though I say never again, etc. Finding Betrayal Bonds on your blog explains what I've been going through and trying to figure out for a thousand years seems like. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  3. You are totally welcome. Glad that my writing about it has opened some doors for you and I wish you well in recovering from this awful thing. It can happen, slowly but surely, but only once you know what is actually going on, at least in my experience.