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According to Dr. Carnes, a long period of betrayal can place a great amount of stress on the body which then spews forth an excessive amount of adrenalin and affects the electrical reactivity of synapses in the brain. This often causes damage to the brain. Trauma can be seen as minor yet occur on a daily basis which takes a toll on the body. Major traumas can cause havoc on the body, mind, and soul such as the Holocaust, childhood incest by both parents,  betrayals that take place in long-term treasured relationships, and betrayals that take place during a war.

Dr. Carnes describes in great detail the ways trauma can effect people through out a life-time. This part of the book is well worth the read. He writes about: Trauma reactions which can occur when something in the present triggers past betrayal and traumatic events so that the survivor under-reacts or over-reacts in his response to it; Trauma arousal can occur and feelings can be hard to control. Both emotion and behavior can intensify and cause problems in living. Fear and danger can increase arousal which can become addictive in nature and in some cases lead to excessive sexual activity or violence. Certain types of people or events can set the arousal in motion so that trauma bonding occurs more easily; Trauma blocking occurs  when the survivor needs to escape from uncomfortable feelings and does some activity excessively to block out past trauma. Such activities can entail compulsive eating, watching T.V. for hours, excessive sleeping, drinking, drugs, and excessive exercising; Trauma Splitting occurs when a survivor becomes over-whelmed by emotions and trauma and escapes by creating an un-reality, fantasizing, or dissociating.

Trauma abstinence occurs when a survivor needs to escape his memories and feelings through impoverishment. He deprives himself of things that could bring happiness such as food, money, social activities, medical care, sleep, and other needs. Past neglect is often involved in trauma abstinence. Trauma shame  can happen when betrayal or trauma has lasted for years. The survivor feels defective or at fault and blames himself for what has happened. He comes to see himself as unlovable. He tends to set unrealistic expectations for himself which results in more shame, self-hatred, and often self-destructive behavior.

Dr. Carnes describes Trauma repetition as a survivor who repeats behaviors or unconsciously seeks situations or people who recreate the original trauma in an attempt to find resolution to it. Another form of trauma repetition is for a survivor to do to someone else what was done to him in order to bring resolution to a traumatic memory. Forming Trauma bonds occur when a survivor becomes attracted to, and attached to someone who continues to break promises or act in abusive ways towards him. He remains loyal out of fear or danger. Shame and fear of failure keep him in the relationship. Fear of losing the relationship keeps him engaged even when he no longer trusts the betrayer. (Continued in Part Three).1



1 Carnes, Ph.D., Patrick J. 1997. The Betrayal Bond. Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships. Deerfield Beach, Florida. Health Communications, Inc.