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Author Topic: The Betrayal Bond - Patrick J. Carnes, Ph.D  (Read 359 times)
merlin96
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« on: January 14, 2008, 06:53:10 PM »

The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships
Author: Patrick Carnes PhD
Publisher: Health Communications, Inc. (November, 1997)
Paperback: 250 pages
ISBN-10: 1558745262
ISBN-13: 9781558745261




Book Description
Exploitative relationships can create trauma bonds—chains that link a victim to someone who is dangerous to them. Divorce, employee relations, litigation of any type, incest and child abuse, family and marital systems, domestic violence, hostage negotiations, kidnapping, professional exploitation and religious abuse are all areas of trauma bonding. All these relationships share one thing: they are situations of incredible intensity or importance where there is an exploitation of trust or power.

In The Betrayal Bond, Patrick Carnes presents an in-depth study of these relationships, why they form, who is most susceptible, and how they become so powerful. He shows how to recognize when traumatic bonding has occurred and gives a checklist for examining relationships. He then provides steps to safely extricate from these relationships.

What really helped me with this book is to understand why I was addicted to abusive types of relationships and why I kept going back for more. I kept trying to make my ubPDm love me and kept on trying pleasing her, hoping she would change. I kept going back after each abuse, forgetting and acting like it never happened. This book also explain the Karpman drama triangle very well. I recommend this book to everyone who have been in an enmeshed relationships at one point. Enmeshed relationships can create trauma bonds--chains that link us to someone who is problematic.

About the Author
Patrick J. Carnes is known as an expert on addiction and recovery issues. He is the author of Out of the Shadows, Contrary to Love, A Gentle Path Through the 12 Steps and Don't Call It Love. He is the clinical director for sexual disorder services at The Meadows in Wickenburg, Arizona. Carnes is the editor-in-chief of Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention, the official journal of the National Council of Sexual Addiction/Compulsivity, an organization for which he also serves as a board member. He also serves on the national advisory board of the American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders.
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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2008, 10:57:07 PM »

It was brought to my attention shortly after joining bpdfamily that I may have experienced a "trauma bond". I tried so hard and put so much into the relationship just to have it come to an abrupt halt. I was crushed. Subsequently, I have done a lot of reading and I'm starting to get an understanding of the phenomenon. This is what I have found:

A trauma bond is where an intense, traumatic experience or betrayal of trust takes place, forming an equally intense relationship/bond. What happened may not have been personal... .it was just typical borderline behavior and consequent actions... .but we bought into fully.

We must to come to an understanding that we bonded ourselves to a dysfunctional person.

Here are some of the signs that a trauma bond:

  • When you obsess about people who have hurt you though they are long gone from your life (To obsess means to be preoccupied, fantasize about, and wonder about something/someone even though you do not want to.)


  • When you continue to seek contact with people whom you know will cause you further pain.


  • When you go "overboard" to help people who have been destructive to you.


  • When you continue to be a "team" member when obviously things are becoming destructive.


  • When you continue attempts to get people who are clearly using you to like you.


  • When you again and again trust people who have proved to be unreliable.


  • When you are unable to distance yourself from unhealthy relationships.


  • When you want to be understood by those who clearly do not care.


  • When you choose to stay in conflict with others when it would cost you nothing to walk away.


  • When you persist in trying to convince people that there is a problem and they are not willing to listen.


  • When you are loyal to people who have betrayed you.


  • When you are attached to untrustworthy people.


  • When you keep damaging secrets about exploitation or abuse.


  • When you continue contact with an abuser who acknowledges no responsibility.


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« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2008, 11:39:22 PM »

Thanks... .great stuff

Piano  xoxo
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« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2008, 01:18:02 AM »

Yep.  This describes me.  Thanks for this.  Something more for me to research.  Explains a lot!
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« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2008, 11:54:49 AM »

There is a great old bluegrass song called "I Wonder Where You Are Tonight".  The chorus:

The rain is cold and slowly falling

Upon my window pane tonight,

And though your love was even colder,

I wonder where you are tonight.


Trauma bonds have always been a part of life.  At least we now can recognize and put a name on it.
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« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2008, 09:00:48 PM »

Thanks for sharing that info.  I haven't really heard the term before but it sure describes what is going on with me.
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« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2011, 10:48:19 AM »

I have heard of this book before but I have just now begun to read it, and, wow!

I have been seeking answers and understanding as to why I have stayed for 29 years with such a destructive person. Why have I justified and defended a r/s that everyone else seems to see is bad for me? Why have I constantly believed in promises that are never kept? Why have I continued to use repetitive, destructive and cyclical communication attempts? Why are others horrified by what happens, but not me? Why have I felt so stuck knowing my H is going to repeat his destructive behaviors but believing there is nothing I can do about it? Why have I been unable to detach from someone I do not trust, or even like much of the time? Why do I find myself missing a r/s that nearly destroyed me (I attempted suicide)? Why was I so willing to sweep my hurt, fears, anger under the rug just to continue the same destructive r/s? Looking at this make me feel like I am the one insane! And perhaps I have been... .

My journey of self discovery has been frightening, sad, and shameful! But I am learning that I am reacting to trauma that I experienced from birth, thru childhood and adulthood. Apparently, trauma, especially repeated and long term trauma, affects people in very profound ways!

TRAUMA SHAME: "When a victim feels defective, or even worse, at fault, there is traumatic shame... .a profound sense of unworthiness and self-hatred. People who become shame-based have core beliefs that they are unlovable... .they do not trust anyone to care about them."

TRAUMA REPETITION: "Therapists use the term repetition compulsion which means repeating behaviors and/or seeking situations or persons that recreate the trauma experience. Reenactment is living in the unremembered past. By repeating the experience, the victim tries anew to figure out a way to respond in order to eliminate the fear. Instead, the victim simply deepens the traumatic wound."

Clearly, I have a lot of work and healing to do. But part of that process is in taking the focus off of my H and putting it on me. I am afraid. I know I have a lot of unremembered trauma. My T is taking me slowly thru this process. I feel ashamed of what I have created in my 50 years of life (more trauma). I worry, will I ever really be okay?

I think I am beginning to care about me, to LOVE me. How new and strange. But the more I begin to care about myself, the more disgusted I am with my r/s. Hence, the emotional detachment. And the more exploited and angry I feel! Yes, I know he is ill... .blah, blah, blah. But this is about me now!
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« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2011, 07:00:41 PM »

I'm so happy for you Cyndi. You are so right that it's about time you loved yourself and not be sidetracked by his illness. We've all been through some really horrific trauma. You're taking the first steps towards getting to know yourself again and care about you first. Self-blame, shame and guilt has to be put behind you now. It's time to move forward and breathe in the fresh air again.

We're all here behind you 100%, don't forget that.   Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2011, 07:04:06 PM »

This post made me cry.  I have asked myself the same questions.  For some reason, no matter what everyone said to me, I thought everything was okay.

This is the first time I've read about Trauma Repetition and it really resonated with me.    

I sometimes think there is something wrong with me because I don't feel anything about the r/s and I don't feel any anger toward my H.


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« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2011, 09:18:14 AM »

I highly recommend Patrick Carnes work and his book. Traumatic bonding theories are very powerful.

The brain pathways actually change due to the intermittent re-inforcement of good times mixed in with periods of trauma. It's the hardest type of behaviour for the brain to stop, hence the " trauma repetition behavior.

It's one reason why a "no contact" period is so helpful, it allows the brain to heal - and then our hearts.
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« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2011, 05:24:26 PM »

When I came about a term called Betrayal Trauma, and oh man are things coming together now. Im trying to grieve through normal memories mixed in with flashbacks... .yes flashbacks... .that can either cause fight (intense anger) or flight ( anxiety and the need to run)... .while I was in the r/s my response to the traumatic times would be a persuasive helplessness instead of fighting with her or dumping her... characteristic of  going through Betrayal Trauma... .the victims put heir feelings aside and forget the trauma because if they don't it risks the chance of not being close to their partner... .

I feel a huge weight has been lifted, I know I still have a long ways to go, but understanding the history of why I accepted the problems, and more importantly that I'm having flashbacks associated with Betrayal Trauma that by definition come with anger and fear and to differentiate them from normal grieving memories is really helping me feel I am not "regressing" but moving ahead... .

Please no pity for what I went through, or feelings of sorry... .

MM

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« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2011, 06:38:23 PM »

When I came about a term called Betrayal Trauma, and oh man are things coming together now. Im trying to grieve through normal memories mixed in with flashbacks... .yes flashbacks... .that can either cause fight (intense anger) or flight ( anxiety and the need to run)... .

The good news is that you are no longer trauma blocking, which are "efforts to numb, block out, and overwhelm residual feelings due to trauma."  There is a pattern here and you can get help with it- but first you have to recognize how trauma is re-worked as a compulsion.  Once you familiarize yourself with these 8 compartmentalized stages, you'll understand yourself and find relief and subsequently, freedom from pain without getting to #9 which is finding a new person to traumatize you all over again.

1. Trauma reaction- Physiological and/or psychological alarm reactions from unresolved trauma experience. (Generally found in the aftermath of a BPD relationship once NC is established.)

2. Trauma arousal- Seeking/finding pleasure in the presence of extreme danger, violence, risk or shame. (Breaking no contact and reading emails or taking phone calls, etc.)

3. Trauma pleasure- seeking or finding pleasure and stimulation in the presence of extreme danger, violence, risk, or shame. It is a frequent outcome of trauma. (Allowing yourself to feel the intense "up" of passionate reconciliations, of breaking no contract only to crash and burn later. Associating with people who are dangerous to you.)

4. Trauma blocking- Efforts to numb, block out, and overwhelm residual feelings due to trauma. (Compulsive overeating; excessive sleeping; alcoholism;depressant drugs; satiation addictive responses. Numbing. Comforting.Relaxing. Anesthetizing. Anything to escape the uncomfortable feelings. High arousal? Something to calm the nerves. Slow down. Bad memories? Anything to obliterate the interior world. An analgesic fix to make it bearable.Some use alcohol. Some use drugs. Some do both. Compulsive eating creates comfort and drowsiness. Watching mind numbing TV wastes time but avoids reality. Excessive sleeping becomes like a butterfly in a cocoon, only there is no intention of coming out.)

5. Trauma splitting- Ignoring traumatic realities by “splitting off” experience and not integrating into personality or daily life. (Avoiding reality through excessive daydreaming;compartmentalizing parts of self to reduce tension; fantasy addictive responses such as romance addiction or artistic or mystical preoccupation; living double life; extreme procrastination)

6. Trauma abstinence- Compulsive deprivation which occurs especially around moments of success, high stress, shame or anxiety. (Success avoidance; self-neglect; underachieving.)

7. Trauma shame- Profound sense of unworthiness and self hatred rooted in traumatic experience. (Self hatred through suicidal ideation)

8. Trauma repetition- Repeating behaviors and/or seeking situations or persons who recreate the trauma experience (Re-enactment; efforts to resolve unresolvable; obsessive compulsive disorder; repetition compulsions. Behaviors done instead of no contact.)

9. A new Trauma bond- Dysfunctional attachments that occur in the presence of danger, shame or exploitation.

The repetition to re-work these creates more trauma, so emotionally, the only way through (at first) is down in a shame spiral. Once you hit rock bottom- there is chrysalis and re-birth. Sorry to sound so self-help, but you're on your way, whether you feel like you making progress or not. You are- as long as you don't create a new trauma bond with another person #9 or try to block it out #4 or any of the rest of the list of maladaptive coping mechanisms that continue to traumatize.

As painful as it sounds, you are in the first stage of trauma reaction.  This is good. Normally, you would swallow this up and hide it.  You can't do that anymore. Now is the time to work through it.

1. Trauma Reaction. Definition: Physiological and/or psychological alarm reactions from unresolved trauma experience.  

Clinical Patterns: Flashbacks; intrusive thoughts; insomnia; triggered associations; troubling dreams; physical symptoms; hyper vigilance; living in extremes. Coping mechanisms would become overwhelmed to the extent that they do not function but the brain, body, and nervous system will adjust. They will acclimatize. So for survival they continue by burying the horrifying experiences into compartments in the brain. Later, sometimes many years later, the compartments start to leak.

You may re-experience the terror and at times with the same realism of the original experience. Therapists call this Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. The stress of the trauma continues long after the actual traumatic event. Living in such reactivity takes a toll on the body. Some researchers make a strong case that the impact of trauma is encoded right down to a cellular level.

According to Patrick Carnes, the Clinical Strategies for Trauma Reactions are as follows:

•Cognitive reframing of trauma experiences

•Hypnotic desensitization

•Teach PTSD concepts

•Implement relapse prevention and other skills

•Controlled breathing

•Stress management techniques

•Developing meaning from victimization

•Therapeutic storytelling

•Systematic desensitization

•Re-experiencing the trauma in a safe environment

•Deep muscle relaxation

•Thought stopping strategies

•Guided self-dialog

•Role playing

•Covert modeling

•Diaries and self-monitoring

•EMDR


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« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2011, 06:58:04 PM »

I am reading this book right now. My therapist believes that I am bonded to my exBPD/NPDbf through "pain"... .I have been going through some heart-wrenching therapy sessions and coming to terms with some of my FOO patterns of abuse... .

These boards are such a God send to me... .xoxo

WhiteDoe
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« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2011, 11:32:41 PM »

Thanks for this post, had I read this during the detachment phase it probably would have helped me to get through the rough spots as I would have understood more clearly what was happening to me.

I will be sure to check out the material and read the information.

One thing I would like to point out that was true of my experience is although I intellectually understood the dynamics of our relationship bond-processing the emotions and grieving occurred on its own accord.

Information is useful as a tool and it is okay to still feel the feelings that come when working through a betrayal bond. It takes time. I remember thinking

"well shoot, I am going through these stages, I understand what is happening to me, so why do I still experience these feelings" And I used to beat myself up for feeling them. Or I would think I had left one stage of the grieving process and advanced to the next when, wham, the same stage of grief would overwhelm me, again.

What finally happened is acceptance of the process and a compassionate approach with myself. Big mental hugs... and a peaceful sigh of relief. I gave myself permission to feel whatever I needed to feel in the moment. Something I was not allowed in childhood without receiving verbal abuse, mocking or a beating. If the feelings were unacceptable in FOO-then by golly, they were not to be expressed. I am no longer captive of that expectation.

C

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« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2012, 04:09:05 PM »

According to James Masterson, we all have bits and pieces of disordered thought. The problems arise when we change those thoughts to beliefs. It's hard to tell people that what they believe is wrong and people have been killing each other over their beliefs for centuries.   However, thinking and believing are not the same thing. If you think you are addicted to the intensity, then believing you need it is based upon something cellular.  Since this is a Family of Origin issue, the last relationship that you had has brought this to the surface where you can now access the belief. All you need now is to re-visit it.

From Patrick J. Carnes, Ph.D

1) High intensity is often mistaken for intimacy.

When you come from a family in which members showed little emotion or affection, and you meet someone around whom there are lots of feelings, you might perceive this as intimacy. At least there are feelings. But if the feelings are about high drama, betrayal, and passionate reconciliations, it is not intimacy. It is intensity. And it is both absorbing and addictive. The addiction is about high arousal and high risk.

2) Intensity exists in relationships when there is betrayal and drama triangles.

Intensity thrives on fear and arousal- especially sexual arousal or the fear of sexual betrayal (did this person cheat on you?) You're likely to believe that they will cheat again.

Intense relationships often have one person pushing while the other is pulling. There is always the prospect of more betrayal and abandonment to come. The anxiety that this causes is so unbearable, that the only way to control it is to *create drama* to keep it at the surface, where people think it can be resolved- but instead, they feel it. High drama becomes a way to manage anxiety.

Dramatic exits, whether slamming of doors or jumping out of cars, or leaving people in the middle of nowhere- act out the anxiety. Rather than using the tension as a way to constructively resolve the conflict, it serves to bond two people traumatically. There is no soothing calm. There is no way to resolve the conflict either, because the conflict is what both people feel keeps the anxiety under control. Episode after episode means that the drama is the bulk of the relationship. *This is called a Trauma Bond.*

Trauma Bond: Consists of victim/victimizer, fear and arousal, push/pull, threats of betrayal and abandonment, high drama, no structure or rules, high distraction, built on secrecy, escalation, episode after episode.

Fear intensifies all human attachment. Fear escalates the reactivity of the body, which in turn escalates all the survival options; arousal, blocking, splitting, abstinence, shame, repetition and bonding. (Who wouldn't look like a Borderline at this point?)

"Intimacy, in contrast, starts with mutuality and respect. There is neither exploitation by abuse of power, nor betrayal of trust. Passion flows from vulnerability and care- and it is a function of the soul. Intimacy relies on safety and patience. Healthy intimacy usually has no secrets. *Intensity require secrecy and develops from it.*

Intimacy pushes partners to grow. Conflicts that arise in intimacy result in negotiation and a clear understanding about fair fighting. Absent are the fear and anxiety of intensity. Constancy and vulnerability create more of the epic rather than the episodic."

~ The Betrayal Bond. Patrick J. Carnes, Ph.D
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« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2012, 06:24:03 PM »

Thank you so much for sharing this.  I cannot even begin to explain how much sense this makes to me.  I'll certainly be looking at getting a copy of the book.  The piece about fear and addiction really hit close to home.  My therapist always compared my relationship with my exBPDgf to a slot machine; pull the lever over and over again and sometimes it pays off.

According to James Masterson, we all have bits and pieces of disordered thought. The problems arise when we change those thoughts to beliefs. It's hard to tell people that what they believe is wrong and people have been killing each other over their beliefs for centuries.   However, thinking and believing are not the same thing. If you think you are addicted to the intensity, then believing you need it is based upon something cellular.  Since this is a Family of Origin issue, the last relationship that you had has brought this to the surface where you can now access the belief. All you need now is to re-visit it.

This pretty much confirms my belief that most of my issues were already there, my relationship with my exBPDgf just brought them to the surface.  I've never heard the term "Family of Origin" before, but it's something I'm going to look into more.

Thanks again.
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« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2012, 08:49:44 PM »

I bought this book before I got involved with my uBPD when I was at a conference and Dr. Carnes was speaking. Post-breakup with uBPD, I am re-reading it with a whole new set of eyes. It is good, it is helpful
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« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2013, 10:26:00 PM »

Oh... .  my... .  God... .  

Wow.  This is... .  it.  I must get this book.  This is completely IT.  I am grasping for words here.  SO glad I heard about this!
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« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2014, 08:40:07 AM »

I just finished this book and it was fantastic!  It helped explain so much of my confusion throughout the r/s and where the dysfunctional patterns originated.  The book is full of very helpful exercises to help you break through denial and come back to reality.  Which is what we all need when we've been living in the FOG for so long.  I found this book extremely important on my path to healing and I highly recommend it.
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« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2014, 07:53:26 PM »

I highly recommend this book.  It clarified so much for me.  It helped me feel compassion for myself about why it is I got in this r/s and why I stayed.  And it also brought to light how I have used other compulsive behaviours to cope with life and my FOO issues.  Because of this book and researching the trauma bond I found a counsellor in my own city that specialises on r/s addiction.  I see her tomorrow for the first time and looking forward to it!

"High intensity is often mistaken for intimacy"... .when I read about this in the book it was eye-opening.  It got me out of any denial I was still in and explained why it was that I was still longing for a man who was so clearly toxic.  I could see how what I thought was love was actually him desperately trying to fill a need.  It was a sad realisation but freeing as well.
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« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2014, 10:02:28 PM »

added to my list Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2015, 10:07:32 AM »

Hi   This is my first post back after a period of about 6 years absence from the boards.

Just wanted to say that The Betrayal Bond by Patrick J. Carnes, Ph.D and bpdfamily changed my life.

Thankyou! 
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The Truth Waits Until We Are Ready.
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« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2021, 10:25:34 PM »

This book has been the toughest read, and most impactful, of the dozens of books I have read since I began my recovery. I am glad to see it discussed here. I am going to re-read it and do the exercises this time.
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