Trauma Bonding: What Is It & How To Cope With It?

Trauma bonding

It is difficult to walk away from an abusive relationship. After all, other concerns like where would you walk away, how will things be taken care of, what will happen to children and much more questions pop up. However, being with the partner also feels like being tied to them. This emotional attachment which is not clear if it’s trauma or abuse can be termed as trauma bonding.

Trauma bonding can be a unique form of manipulation where repeated behaviors of abuse, devaluation and positive reinforcement are evident in a relationship. One partner in the relationship may create powerful feelings for the other by showing love, kindness and intimacy but on the other hand, they also show cyclic abuse.

This makes the other person feel loved and connected but usually become unaware of the abuse due to accustomed nature. The abuse is so repetitive that it is intertwined in the relationship and the partner couldn’t even judge conflict between love and abuse.

Is Trauma Bonding Common Only Between Couples?

The concept of trauma bonding is not limited to a romantic relationship but it can also show its face in:

  • A child and an abusive caregiver
  • Leader and members of the cult
  • Hostage and a kidnapper

The manipulation often goes successful as the other person believes that previous days were good and this might be the stress making him talk or perform abusively.

Also, check out how to overcome the trauma of sexual assault and ask for help.

What Are The Evident Signs Of Traumatic Bond?

Signs Of Traumatic Bond
Image source: Betterhelp

Some signs of trauma bonding which shall be acknowledged and kept in mind include:

1. Cyclical Nature: In an abusive relationship, the person usually treats the other one very well and even brings occasional gifts while calling them with love and affection. However, love is often overshadowed by fear of abuse and then further abuse. However, their nature at good times usually helps in regaining trust but ends up in a tough cycle.

2. Imbalance Of Relationship: Trauma bonding makes the person feel that they are stuck to a point that breaking free from it is a huge challenge. In case the relationship is left, breaking the bond without professional help is tough.

Some other key signs of traumatic bond or traumatic bonding relationship are:

  • A sense of unhappiness with your partner but you are not able to communicate that you want to end the relationship.
  • Physical and emotional distress whenever you step up to leave
  • Their constant promise to make changes continues but never happens

Also Read: Signs of Toxic Relationship 

Trauma Bond Healing: How To Cope With Traumatic Bonding?

Asking For Professional Help

It is understandable that trauma sucks the heart and soul while you are not able to get out of the clutters of relationship. However, let us share with you some of the ways to cope up with this emotionally difficult stage.

1. Use A Journal To Identify Pattern: Many a times, the person isn’t aware of the abusive cycle and finds themselves stuck in the rut. But if you maintain a journal where you could write down the behavioral pattern of your partner, you would be able to judge your situation.

2. Start Feeling Your Emotions: Learn to be with your emotions in every situation. For example, mention ‘I feel…’, ‘I want to…’ and ‘I think…’ in your journal with identification of a partner’s pattern. Find what is healthy for you and what is not.

3. Grieve, If Required: Letting go of a relationship is definitely the hardest thing to do but let’s just focus on reality. You cannot stay with a person and you have to let him go. 

4. Be Clear About What Do You Want: Form a bottom line for your own behavioral aspects. For example, I will not argue with him if he is coming home drunk, I will not have a conversation with anyone when I am desperate or obsessive, etc. Whatever changes you require, act rightly on them.

5. Build Healthy Connections: Start investing your time in healthy connections and open up about the abuse to your loved ones. Loved ones can give you essential perspectives that you might have just swayed off earlier. So make sure that you challenge yourself, listen to their concern and make efforts to accurately work upon the same.

Asking For Professional Help

Breaking bonds is a tedious process, even though you are taking steps to weaken the traumatic bond. In this whole process, you may want to ask for professional help who can guide you through the way while providing a lot of clarity. The therapy could take place either by visiting the therapist in person or applying for online therapy

The therapy to recover from traumatic bonding can help you with:

  • Explore the reasons of fueling of bond
  • Decide the boundaries
  • Learning coping skills to build healthy relationships
  • Develop self care plan
  • Resolve symptoms of mental health disorder

Wrap Up

You have to make sure that if you are connecting a therapist then he or she should be a trauma-informed therapist. Such therapists can provide required aspects to the person which ultimately helps in overcoming specific trauma.

In case you have decided to connect yourself to a therapist, message us at info@calmsage.com and we will help you with the same. Understand the signs of traumatic bonding and ask for help in trauma bond healing.

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