Saturday, December 03, 2005

betrayal bonds: trauma splitting

trauma splitting: Carnes defines trauma splitting as the aspect of betrayal bonds that ignores "traumatic realities by splitting off the experiences and not integrating them into personality or daily life." It is creating another reality and going to it during traumatic events. When this coping style becomes a pattern of dealing with everyday life it becomes a problem instead of a solution.

It can take the form of amnesia. I had no memory of what happened at the time when some of the trauma and betrayal stuff happened for years afterward. When it came back I was overwhelmed with flashbacks and stuff, so splitting was an attempt to protect myself from that I guess. I would not be able to remember what day it was or how long ago the flashbacks were either, so I guess that was dissociation too. It can also take the form of splitting from one's body, maybe flying around the room, or detaching and looking down on the scene from above. Sometimes different personalities form during splitting. This gets called multiple personality disorder or dissociative identity disorder (DID).

Addictions often have a component of splitting. Addictive behavior, whether in the consumption of a drug, obsessive or compulsive sex, gambling, or even religious or artistic preoccupation, can be a form of splitting, of creating a fantasy reality that ignores the real state of things. Lots of addicts talk about a "Jekyll and Hyde" experience of having one set of values and behaviors they believe in and another personality, the out of control addict, that seems intent on destroying these.

Some signs of dissociation are spacing out as a response to painful memories, confusion and forgetfulness because of preoccupation, resorting to a fantasy world when things get tough, feeling separate from the body as the result of a flashback, amnesia, preoccupation, having compartments to your life others don't know about, living a double life, obsessing around addictive behavior, losing yourself in romantic fantasies, or using marijuana or psychedelic drugs. All of us space out sometimes, the problem is when it becomes a way of life.

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), 14-17.


  1. Welcome to a NEW WORLD,
    I NOT SURE IF I CAN LAUGH ARE NOT BECAUSE I HAVE TO CHANGE LINKS TOO!! BUT GIVEN THE FACT YOUR GETTING BETTER IS THE IDEA BEHIND THE CHANGE I WILL LAUGH!! TAKE CARE NO I NOT YELLING! one big hug to a fellow blogger who is still very brave. Email your new links out is a small bit of advice. lol
    Have a great week, what is the name again!!!!!!!!LOL

  2. Hi Holly...thanks for stopping by. The name change was a bit sudden...I just decided to do it today.

  3. I'm glad you have changed the names.

    I think by changing the names you are accepting that you also can change and therefore have some control of your destiny. The rest is just hard work :-)

    Maybe it's another 12-steps type thing. You are defined by how sick you were not by how well you are becomming.

    "I was an alcoholic" or "I am a recovered alcoholic" or "I used to have a drink problem because of other issues with my life" can all describe the same reality but the emotional weights on each one and the outlook for the future are all hugely different.

    I have learnt a lot from you and it has given me a way to look at things differently and to understand better.