What Is Trauma Bonding and How It Keeps You Stuck In Abusive Relationships

What Is Trauma Bonding

How do you break a trauma bond?

The first step in breaking a trauma bond is to recognize that it’s happening, notice it and put a name to it.

Sometimes, you may need to be extra diligent and pay attention to the signs and patterns of abuse, and write them down so you can recognize and distinguish love from abusive and hurt. You should also write down whatever your partner says or does to excuse the abuse.

It also helps to look at the relationship as if you were viewing it from another perspective. The most important thing is to talk to loved ones like your friends and family, people who actually support you and take care of you, and avoid self-blame.

Once you’re ready to leave your partner, do so completely by cutting off any and all forms of contact. If you are finding it hard to break free, you may need to seek professional help, in which case the National Domestic Violence Hotline offers free and confidential support. 

How can you prevent yourself from trauma bonding with someone who is emotionally abusive?

There are a few steps you can take. Remember: your safety and mental well-being are the most important thing.

1. Always take your time when getting to know someone and learn about their past.

2. Be careful not to jump straight into a committed relationship just because things feel good and exciting.

3. Look out for the red flags and signs of abusive behavior, such as feeling pressured, controlled, or belittled.

4. Be sure your boundaries are respected. If they aren’t, don’t take things any further.

5. Make sure what you hear is really what you get and that no hidden truths start popping up with excuses.

6. Watch out for someone who is overly charming or who showers you with excessive attention early on.

7. Be wary of someone who says that all of their ex-partners are “crazy,” feels nothing in their past was their fault, or who sees themselves as a passive victim.

8. Remember that if someone seems too good to be true, there’s a good chance they’re not being entirely authentic with you.

Read 5 Signs You Are In A Trauma Bond

Don’t confuse trauma bonding with real love; it will blind you.

True love is not abusive. You shouldn’t need to jump through hoops with someone in order for a relationship to fit into your fantasy version of what being loved should look like.

Real love is not conditional upon pleasing someone. Real love means feeling loved while expressing yourself authentically, dealing with the ups and downs of life, and seeing each other for who you each really are.

Obtaining self-love means letting go of any remaining ties to an abusive parent or partner so you can free yourself from the dysfunctional attachment pattern of seeking love and approval in order to feel good enough.

Truly loving yourself means engaging in self-care and protecting yourself from abuse so you can be yourself and feel loved for the real person you are.


Written by Nancy Carbone
Originally appeared in YourTango
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