'Traumatic events call into question basic human relationships. They breach the attachment of family, friendship, love and community. They shatter the construction of the self that is formed and sustained in relation to others. They undermine the belief systems that give meanings to human experience. They violate the victim’s faith in a natural or divine order and cast the victim into a state of existential crisis…
…Traumatic events have primary effects not only on the psychological structures of the self but also on the systems of attachment and meaning that link individual and community…
… Traumatic events destroy the victim’s fundamental assumptions about the safety of the world, the positive value of the self, and the meaningful order of creation.
The sense of safety in the world, or basic trust, is acquired in earliest life in the relationship with the first caretaker. Originating with life itself, this sense of trust sustains a person throughout the life cycle. It forms the basis of all systems of relationship and faith.
The original experience of care makes it possible for human beings to envisage a world in which they belong, a world hospitable to human life. Basic trust is the foundation of belief in the continuity of life, the order of nature, and the transcended order of the divine.
In situations of terror, people spontaneously seek their first source of comfort and protection. Wounded soldiers and raped women cry for their mothers, or for God. When the cry is not answered, the sense of trust is shattered. Traumatized people feel utterly abandoned, utterly alone, cast out of human and divine systems of care and protection that sustain life.
Thereafter, a sense of alienation, of disconnection, pervades every relationship, from the most intimate familial bonds to the most abstract affiliations of community and religion. When trust is lost, traumatized people feel they belong more to the dead than to the living.’