What is a trauma bond? If you or somebody you know is in an abusive relationship and trying to find support and resources to get away, this might be a term that you’ve come across. Trauma bonding is a psychological phenomenon that can occur in an abusive relationship. The victim of abuse becomes emotionally attached to their abuser, despite the negative impact that the abuse is having on them. This can make it very difficult for victims to leave their abuser, even if they are being actively harmed.
It’s crucial to understand trauma bonding and how it can affect people who are or have been in abusive relationships. Understanding what it is and how it occurs can not only help victims find the strength to leave, but it is essential in helping and supporting victims break free.
Recognizing the Signs of Trauma Bonding
Trauma bonding can be very difficult to recognize, especially for those who are in an abusive relationship. Many people who are trauma bonded to an abuser feel a sense of loyalty to them or feel guilty or responsible for the abuse, even though what is happening to them is not their fault. It can make somebody feel like they can’t leave a relationship that they know is harmful.
If you are experiencing any of these things, help is available. Reach out to supportive friends and family members, or a therapist who can offer support and help you break the trauma bond.
Breaking a Trauma Bond
Breaking a trauma bond is not easy. In an abusive relationship, the victim can become addicted to the highs and lows. Abusive people are not typically abusive all the time. There will be moments when they can be loving or even kind. It’s these moments that fuel the trauma bond and keep the victim holding out hope that their abuser can change and become the person they want and need them to be. The victim gets a rush of dopamine, which can be addictive.
But it is often short-lived. And when the abuser is back to abusing, the victim is flooded with stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. They may take desperate steps to get the abuser back to being kind again and experience the dopamine rush.
In breaking a trauma bond, it’s important to recognize that this is happening. Secondly, having the right support is crucial. A trauma-informed therapist can help with establishing clear boundaries and offer support throughout the process. In some cases, a lawyer, such as this domestic violence lawyer Chicago, can also help throughout the process, especially with the legal aspects of breaking and trauma bond and leaving the relationship.
Rebuilding Your Life After a Trauma Bond
Rebuilding your life after a trauma bond can be a long and difficult process, but it is possible with the right support in place. Prioritize yourself and set small goals, focusing on your self-care and personal growth. Find other, fulfilling things to do such as physical activity or trying new hobbies. Be patient with yourself and spend time with people who care about you.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline on 1-800-799-7233 for help, support, and resources.
Trauma bonding is a common yet powerful experience for people in abusive relationships. While breaking a trauma bond is not easy, it can be done with the right strategies and support.