What is trauma bonding? How does it affect victims and survivors? Why is it so difficult to break the bond? I will answer these questions and more below.
In narcissistic and emotionally abusive relationships, you are drawn in by the charm, the good looks, the outpouring of love and affection. But it all changes eventually.
What is trauma bonding?
Trauma bonding is a type of attachment to the abusive partner. The Narcissist creates this unhealthy bond by first luring you in with promises of love, friendship, a happy home. A life together. That's what they all say they'll give you.
Then, little by little, the abuse is trickled out. The Narc will devalue you, make you feel worthless and spew venom. But then, the Narc will reel you back in with more promises of love, that the bad stuff won't happen again. It's a nasty cycle. (Read my post on The Cycle of Abuse for more information.)
This cycle is exactly what the Narc wants. It's the perfect way to keep you tethered to him. I remember I started making excuses to people why I stayed.
"It's not that bad, really."
"He just had a bad day at work "
"I never should have picked the fight."
"He's right. I was hounding him."
The "bad times" are always paired with the times when he'll "reward" you for behavior that he deems acceptable. Perhaps he brings you home flowers, gives you a kiss in the cheek and thanks you for getting dinner right the night before. Maybe he showers you with compliments and attention for finally wearing the clothes he bought for you. Maybe he takes you out to dinner to make up for the screaming tirade he went on the day before. Or maybe he has repeatedly said to you how you are the best thing that's ever happened to him, even after all the times he's called you worthless.
My NX had balanced the bad times with instances like I mentioned above. It's all to keep the victim wrapped in hope. Hope that there's more good times to come. Hope that there really is love there. Hope that this really is your happily ever after.
Why it's so difficult to break the bond
All of the above is exactly why it's so difficult. You are conditioned to keep coming back and wanting more. This, despite the hell you are put through.
Even in the "good" times, the Narcissist still controls you. You cling to what you know. And you will cling to the Narc.
Why it affects you
Traumatic bonds affect a person so much because of the back and forth nature of the punishment and reinforcement. You become intensely attached to the Narcissist, despite the abuse. This is a prime reason why it's so difficult to leave an abusive relationship!
Was I trauma bonded to my NX? At the time, I didn't know what it was. I didn't think to even consider that what I went through was abuse. Looking back though, I can see so many instances where I was. So yes, I was trauma bonded to him. It took getting discarded to really open my eyes.
It IS possible to heal from trauma bonding. With each day that passes, I have grown stronger. You can too.
Have you experienced trauma bonding? If so, what are you doing to heal? Comment below. And as always, I appreciate you for sharing your stories with me.
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Greetings, my warrior survivor friends! Welcome to my blog. I'm Julianna, the owner and creator of this site. Check out the My Story section to read about why I started this blog. Thanks for stopping in. And feel free to comment on any post, share your own thoughts and stories. I would love to hear from you!
The Top 10
Here you will find my most popular posts for easier discovery.
How Narcissists Make Sure You Never Solve Problems In A Relationship
The Fake Apology
How I Lost My Identity
Effects of Emotional Abuse
Emotionally Abusive Behaviors
Tightening Your Facebook Privacy Settings
Why You Should Never Defend Yourself Against The Narcissist's Smear Campaign
Going No Contact: A List Of What To Do And What Not To Do
An Open Letter To All Survivors Who Just Got Out Of An Abusive Situation
The Great Manipulator
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