6 Signs You Are Experiencing Trauma Bonding, Plus, How To Break The Cycle

Last updated by Katie M.

Now, I bet that you’re wondering what trauma bonding is. Well, the term was coined by the councilor Patrick Carnes, and is defined as the misuse of fear, excitement, sexual feelings, and sexual physiology to trap another person. Okay, so the definition is pretty intimidating, but, what we need to retain from it is that this form of abuse is based on a strong emotional attachment between a victim and his or her abuser, formed as a result of the cycle of violence. This type of abuse is often so well dissimulated that many victims don’t even realized they have been plunged into a spiral of torture. Here’s how to recognize trauma bonding and how to escape it.


What does trauma bonding include? - The 6 signs you are being subjected to it

Relationships are full of ups and downs, however, they are made even more difficult to navigate when a toxic partner is involved, and decides to sink their claws into their lover, aka victim. Subsequently, the victim in the relationship then develops a heightened sense of awareness regarding everything their abuser, does, says, and wants. As a result, the survivors ends up relinquishing their own needs and values, to comply with their abuser’s. Now, these abusers are much sneakier than typical gaslighters, which is why they can be so hard to detect. However, no matter how well-oiled the abuse is, certain signs never deceive

>>> Check out; what is gaslighting?

1) Your partner threatens you

To deepen a trauma bond and make their victims even more dependent on them, abusers will pull out all the stops and at points even resort to being violent.

2) You are being 'love bombed'

Toxic relationships typically don’t start out as places of torture. They usually begin like any good fairy tale, with the eventual victim believing they have hit the jackpot as far as their partner is concerned.

>>> Find out what love bombing is

3) Your partner humiliates you

Be it sexually or publicly, perpetrators will do their best to ensure they ruin your confidence to their point where you feel incapable of leaving them.

4) You are isolated

These slippery manipulators will attempt to cut you off from your loved ones and do their best to stir up trouble with them. After all, they want you all to themselves.

5) You don't have control over your finances

By controlling your expenses and scrutinizing everything you do, they’ll exert their full range of power over you.

6) Your partner denies and downplays

Emotions are never taken into account by these monsters, and when you bring them up, they’ll instantly dismiss them, and blame how you are feeling on yourself.

What impacts does trauma bonding have on victims?

As with most forms of relentless abuse, trauma bonds have lasting impacts on victims. Now, in this case, the severity of the impacts will depend on how deep the connection was, and how long the relationship went on for.

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder - Years later, certain victims still suffer the effects of the abuse, and some even blame themselves for what went on.
  • Stockholm syndromeMany victims develop feelings of love for those that mistreat them, and they remain intact even when the relationship is over.
  • A warped perception of love - Being subjected to such ill mistreatment warps the victim’s visions of love to the point that they consider themselves to be undeserving of the smallest gestures.
  • Denying the abuse - Failing to recognize and acknowledge the mistreatment is common in many cases of abuse, after all, seeing your partner for whom they really are isn’t an easy task.

How to put an end to a trauma bond - 5 Steps to follow

Now, trauma bonds may seem impossible to escape, yet with persistence and courage, they are definitely possible to break and overcome. The road to recovery and healing will be a long one, however, it will guarantee you your health and happiness. Here are the steps to take towards breaking the cycle and eventually healing.

1. Recognize your pain

By removing the rose-tinted glasses and acknowledging what you have been through, you’ll essentially free yourself from the past, and learn to accept it. Although your past will always remain a part of you, it doesn’t have to define you.

2. Talk about your experience

Abuse victims frequently have trouble opening up about their experiences for fear of being judged or ridiculed by other people. However, seeking support is a hugely important step towards recovery. Plus, like they say, communication is the best form of therapy.

3. Plan your future (safely)

Once you’ve decided, and accepted that you are in fact a victim, you need to plan your future far away from your abusive partner. In order to do so, reach out to your loved ones, and put alternative living arrangements in place with their help.

4. Don’t blame yourself

People in unhealthy relationships often feel guilty and complicit in what happened to them, however, that’s certainly not the case. Blaming yourself is a natural reaction, but the only way to truly free yourself of the pain is to forgive yourself and accept the horrifying events.

5. Cut communication with your abuser

Your soon-to-be ex-partner will no doubt be unhappy with the news, that you are leaving him for a healthier life, and he may even bombard you with phone calls and messages. However, once the hold he previously had over you is broken, all that’s left to do is block his number, and enjoy your newly found freedom.

Editor’s opinion - Recovery will be a rollercoaster ride, but a new life is possible

Walking away from someone we have fond feelings for is a tough decision to take, however, when our mental health is at stake, it’s primordial. Relationships aren’t always exclusively terrible, and often start out on a very positive note, which explains why trauma bonds develop. However, these bonds shouldn’t be strong enough to trap us in a toxic environment. Deciding we deserve better can be an intimidating realization to come to, however, it is essential that we recognize this when trying to get better. The road to recovery is never simple, but it’s the key to buying back your freedom and self-esteem.

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!


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Article presented by Katie M.

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