"A trauma bond occurs when your partner intentionally harms you through a pattern of threats, intimidation, manipulation, deceit, or betrayal so they have power and control," she says. "You stay loyal to your violating partner despite feelings of fear, emotional pain, and distress."
There is no set time for how long it takes to heal from a trauma bond, as each person is different. Some people may find that it takes months, or even years, to overcome the effects of being in a trauma bonded relationship. You can begin the healing process by cutting off contact and seeking therapy.
You can break a trauma bond after a breakup by doing things such as educating yourself on the topic of trauma bonding, cutting off your abuser, engaging in new activities, making healthy relationships, and taking a break from dating.
Breaking a trauma bond comes with intense withdrawal symptoms, flashbacks, cravings for the toxic person, compulsive thoughts about what happened, and an anxious state that may make you feel like you are going backward, without abate.
And the fact is, a trauma bond will not transform into a healthy relationship, no matter how much the person being abused hopes so or tries to fix it. “It's often mistaken for love,” Wilform says. “But love doesn't consist of you having to be in a cycle of being mentally diminished or physically hurt.”
You might be suffering from a trauma bond if you exhibit the following behaviors: You know they are abusive and manipulative, but you can't seem to let go. You ruminate over the incidents of abuse, engage in self-blame, and the abuser becomes the sole arbiter of your self-esteem and self-worth.
You want to leave someone, but you simply cannot bring yourself to cut them out of your life. This is one of the biggest warning signs that you are in a trauma bond. You may find yourself deciding to leave your abuser, but then feeling a drawback to them that is so powerful that you lose your resolve.
In a trauma bond, you might: justify abusive behavior, for example: “they're only yelling at me because they are tired” cover for your abuser. tolerate abuse to please them.
Trauma Bonds Create Chemical Warfare in our Brains
Reuniting and the love-bombing that follows then floods our systems with dopamine. Dopamine and oxytocin together strengthen our bond even more and ease our fear and anxiety.
One way to determine whether you're in a healthy relationship or a trauma bond is to focus on how your relationship consistently makes you feel. A healthy relationship makes you feel supported, secure, and confident, while a trauma bond makes you feel fearful, anxious, or put down.
To put it plainly, common negative effects of trauma bonding include: Isolation from loved ones. Mental illness, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and/or depression. A pattern of unhealthy relationships.
Trauma bonding often happens in the context of romantic relationships, and typically occurs where there is some kind of perceived abuse. Like any toxic relationship, there are severe fluctuations of mood within the relationship, and trauma bonding in relationships is on the same track.
Trauma dumping is defined as unloading traumatic experiences on others without warning or invitation. It's often done to seek validation, attention, or sympathy. While some initial relief may come from dumping your trauma onto someone else, the habit actually does more harm than good.
A trauma bond will never become healthy. It's an emotional attachment between a victim of abuse and their abuser that is formed through an abusive cycle of mirroring, future faking, abuse, and intermittent reinforcement. There is nothing even remotely healthy about a trauma bond nor will there ever be.
The term 'trauma bond' is also known as Stockholm Syndrome. It describes a deep bond which forms between a victim and their abuser. Victims of abuse often develop a strong sense of loyalty towards their abuser, despite the fact that the bond is damaging to them.
Signs of Trauma Bonding
You deny the abuse and justify it as being your fault, you may believe you deserve it. You feel a powerful bond that stops you from seeing the person's actual behaviour. You make excuses for your partner's behaviour. You do not believe the threats; e.g. you think they're just venting.
However, you should know that not every person who is abused will develop a trauma bond and each experience is unique and different. The trauma bond can happen fairly quickly within days or weeks or take more time such as over the course of several months.
Trauma bonding occurs as a result of reinforcement at the hands of the abuser. The manipulative person will alternate abuse with really positive experiences which leads to the development of a trauma bond.
Trauma bonds are hard to break because the cycle of abuse that causes them floods the victim's brain with dopamine, causing them to develop an addiction for the relationship and because abusers often victimize themselves to make the victim doubtful, guilty, and ashamed for attempting to break the trauma bond.