6. Trauma Bond:
Patrick Carnes discussed the notion of the trauma bond in his work, The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships (1997). Narcissistic abusers are notorious for blending their love-bombing with abuse tactics such as gaslighting, the silent treatment, and projection to intersperse the devaluation stage of the trauma bond, sprinkled with crumbs of consideration here and there.
The intermittent reinforcement of the dizzying cycle of abuse perpetuates the trauma bond, rendering otherwise very strong and fortified individuals as paralyzed and feeling chained to their abuser. Fortunately, this trauma bond can be broken with intensive therapy for the survivor and no contact with the abuser.
7. The Silent Treatment:
The silent treatment has been written about extensively and is a cruel form of emotional abuse, not to be confused with No Contact. A survivor goes No Contact when they have decided to end the relationship with their abuser, as a way to create a healthy and safe boundary and to end the emotional pain and suffering inflicted upon them by their abuser. Pathological abusers use the silent treatment to manipulate you and invoke a state of power and control over the victim.
Often the love object has set a limit or a boundary, perhaps criticized and action of the narcissist (and rightfully so with the egregious behavior that surfaces during devalue and discard stages). In response, a narcissistic injury follows for the narcissist who cannot fathom having their grandiosity and “specialness” questioned.
To punish their transgressor, the narcissist deploys the silent treatment for as long as the abuser sees fit to resume power and control in the relationship. Often, endings of relationships initiated by narcissists are extended silent treatments whereby the abuser hoovers at a later date to tap the target for additional ego fuel (if the survivor is willing the play the game again).
The above are just a few of the manipulation tactics a narcissistic/psychopathic abuser deploys in his arsenal of emotional mayhem. Those who are dating and seeking romantic relationships need to be particularly careful to vet and take the time to get to know their dating partners and if they are trying to manipulate you.
Know your worth. Know that anything legitimate and authentic is worth waiting for and taking the time to thoroughly explore and establish honesty, healthy boundaries, integrity, authenticity, empathy, vulnerability, reciprocity, accountability, and compromise.
Narcissistic abusers and psychopaths are not capable of any of those elements of high emotional IQ. They may pretend to imbue those qualities, as they are masterful actors. Always check in with yourself and pace the dating relationship. Again, know your worth. You hold the power there.
Do you think someone is trying to manipulate you?
Originally appeared on Andrea Schneider, MSW, LCSW
Printed with permission.