Have you ever had a friend that was in a relationship that seemed abusive? Maybe you were in one yourself and found it difficult to break up with your partner. This might have been because of a trauma you were experiencing or due to trauma bonding.
To find out more about what trauma bonds are and what you can do about them, keep reading this article.
This type of bonding happens when you bond with a person that is abusing you. This doesn’t just occur with romantic partners; it can also occur with family members or platonic friends.
Essentially, if you have a relationship with a person and he or she mistreats you, this is traumatic.
However, when this type of behavior goes on for quite a while, you may find yourself unable to notice that you are being abused and think that it is how this person shows love.
The person that is mistreating you will likely convince you that the things they are doing are normal or perfectly fine, when in fact, they are not.
This can cause the victim to think they are imagining the mistreatment, and it can take a while to understand that abuse is actually taking place.
For example, suppose you have a mate that does nothing but calls you names and talks bad about you, and you become used to this, where you need them to talk about you even though it may affect your self-esteem.
In that case, you could be experiencing a traumatic attachment to this person, which is unhealthy.
Trauma bonding may also occur in cyclical relationships, where the same patterns occur at regular intervals.
There are a few ways to tell if you or someone you know has a trauma bond with another person.
1. You are ignoring what your family is saying
When your family members and friends are telling you that there is something wrong with your mate and you are ignoring them, this may mean that you are experiencing trauma in your relationship.
If you ignore their advice, even when you know that they are truthful and their arguments are valid, you need to think about whether or not you are putting up with a trauma-bonding sociopath.
2. You explain away the abuse
There are different types of abuse in abusive relationships, and you may be overlooking what is happening to you.
When you tell yourself that it isn’t that bad or ignore the abuse you are experiencing, you are likely going through trauma bonding pain that should be addressed.
3. You feel like you owe them something
Sometimes, a person that is being abused feels like they owe their abuser something. This may be because they live with them or that their mate is paying their bills or buying them things.
It is important to remember that there is no reason that someone should abuse you, no matter what they are providing you with.
4. You think it is your fault
You may feel like you have done something in the past to warrant the behavior you are enduring from your partner. You should know that this is not the case.
Relationships are a give and take, so even if you have messed up in the past, your mate should be able to forgive you and move on.
5. You are afraid to leave the relationship
If you find yourself afraid to leave the relationship, this may indicate that you are experiencing trauma bonding.
In some cases, a person may be fearful for their lives and not leave a dangerous situation.
6. You are hopeful things will change
No matter how long you have been in an abusive relationship, you might feel like things will get better and change.
However, if your partner has shown no indication that this is the case, you should be honest with yourself about what to expect.
Why this occurs
When it comes to trauma bonding theory, there are many possible reasons why trauma bonding occurs.
One is that a human brain can become addicted to things, which can happen quickly in some people.
This is relevant because even when an abuser is mean 95% percent of the time, the other times are what your brain may focus on and provide you with a happy feeling.
This keeps you wanting more encouragement from your abuser, even if this rarely occurs.
Another reason trauma bonding may occur is because of the stress response, which is also known as the fight or flight response. Events that are stressful or cause you anxiety are likely to trigger this response.
If you are experiencing this response too often, it may cause you to be unable to react appropriately. In other words, you may give up trying to fight or run away because of all the abuse that you have had to endure.
A person could be living in a constant state of stress, where they have a more difficult time noticing that they are being abused.
The good news is that there are ways of overcoming trauma. You don’t have to keep putting up with it, and you can start healing, so you can move past your trauma. Here are a few ways you can accomplish this.
1. Break the trauma cycle
If you were abused, do your best to keep from harming anyone, and make sure that your kids are not being abused as well. This may be a big step in stopping the cycle.
2. Get advice
Talk to your friends and family about what they think you should do. Chances are, even if you have been isolated and haven’t been able to reach out to those close to you, they will be willing to help you out.
When you talk to people you trust and ask them for advice, you will have more points of view to consider, so you can decide what is good for you.
3. Think about what you’d say
It would help if you also thought about your relationship objectively. If your friend or a family member were experiencing the same things you are, what would you tell them to do? Think about this while you are working through how to get over trauma bonding.
4. Take care of yourself
Once you are going through trauma bonding recovery, you should make sure that you are taking care of yourself. This means getting the proper rest, eating right, exercising, and doing things that you want to do.
You may consider writing down your thoughts on paper or doing other relaxing things to help your mind recover.
5. Stay away from your abuser
You will also need to break ties with the person who has abused you to stop experiencing trauma bond symptoms.
This means all contact, even things that seem innocuous, such as emails or text messages.
Want to learn more about breaking trauma bonds? Watch this video:
It would be best if you also did what you can to recover from the abuse you experienced. Once you are healing the trauma of domestic violence, you may prevent being in this type of relationship in the future.
Consider going to therapy to help you get the tools you need to work through trauma bonding and everything else you lived through during your relationship.
A therapist will be able to offer you many techniques to employ that may help you work through the trauma and other feelings that you need to work through.
They may also be able to talk to you about how to break a trauma bond, especially if you are fearful that you may not be done with your current relationship.
It is important to take care of yourself, including your mental health and well-being, once you think that you have endured trauma bonding. This type of relationship can take a long time to heal from, and it can be hard to do alone.
A doctor can also tell you about support groups, which may be beneficial for you since you will interact with people who have gone through similar experiences. They may be able to offer advice and help you with resources.
Good safety plans have a list of places that you can go where you will be safe and have the things that you need. It will also include your plan for the future, such as what type of job you will do, where you will go, and where you will live.
Additionally, you may need to start writing down the events of your relationship, especially if there were ever police reports or incidents where you had to go to the hospital.
This isn’t easy to think about, but it may be necessary, and it might give you some hope that you will be able to move on with your life. This can help you with trauma bonding and how to break the tie.
Once you feel like you have been abused or are the victim of trauma bonding, you should reach out for help. This is especially true if you are ready to get out of your current relationship.
There is no trauma bond test, but if you are being mistreated and want to change, you should do what you can to change your circumstances.
This may mean leaving the situation, getting therapy, or coming up with a plan of action for adjusting your whole life.
Keep in mind if you are being abused, anytime is a good time to seek help!
It would help if you also reached out for therapy when you think you need it. There are resources like the National Domestic Abuse Hotline that can assist you in emergency situations.
Trauma bonding can happen to anyone, but certain risk factors make it more likely to occur in your life. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you did something wrong and deserve to be mistreated.
Anytime you are being abused or mistreated, you should know that there is help out there and that you can make a change if you want to. Once you realize you are being abused, do what you can to leave the situation and stop making excuses for this disrespectful treatment.
Breaking this type of bond may be difficult and take time, but it is worth it, so you can move on with your life and be happy. Count on others when you need to and take the next step when you are ready.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.