— what you say to yourself to justify the abuse:
- He didn’t mean to get angry, it was my fault
- He puts up with me and still loves me
- He had a terrible childhood, I feel sorry for him
- I can help him to change with love and support
- He deserves a fair go, he doesn’t mean to hurt me.
Notice how the abuser’s behavior is justified and the victim blames herself as if the abuse is her fault.
This is how the victim of trauma bonding minimizes and denies the abuse in order to uphold the positive image of the perpetrator while distorting reality and being misguided by fantasy love, not real love.
How to stop trauma bonding:
- Always take your time to get to know someone, find out their past.
- Never jump straight in because it feels good.
- Look out for the red flags of abusive behaviours, such as feeling pressured or controlled.
- Ensure you can be respected for your boundaries (say no).
- Make sure what you see is what you really get, no hidden truths that come out later.
- Be careful that you are not being sold a charming person to reel you in and hook you.
- Be careful when all the ex-partners are crazy, nothing is their fault, or they’re the victim.
- Be aware if you feel they’re too good to be true or make you feel amazing
Don’t confuse trauma bonding as real love; it will blind you.
True love is not abusive, nor do you distort the way they see yourself and your partner in order to fit the fantasy of being loved.
Real love means you feel loved while expressing yourself, and you do not need to search for love to feel good about yourself. Real love is not conditional upon pleasing someone, but being true to yourself.
Real love is not romanticized love, but how you deal with the ups and downs of living in reality and seeing each other for who you really are.
In true love, you feel good about yourself and attract those who treat you well. Obtaining self-love means letting go of the ties to the abusive parental object, in order to free yourself from the attachment patterns of seeking love and approval in order to feel good enough. Truly loving yourself means you engage in self-care and protect yourself from abuse, so you can be yourself and feel loved for the real person that you are.
Written by Nancy Carbone
Originally appeared in Yourtango
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- TRAUMA BONDING – Signs it may be holding you back.
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- Why Is It So Hard to Leave the Narcissist in Your Life?
- When Emotional Abuse Makes You Feel Like Love Is Something You Have To Earn
- 11 Signs It’s An Emotionally Abusive Relationship And You Might Not Even Realize