What are Trauma Bonds? How to we recognize them? And how do we get out of them?
Trauma bonds occur in extremely toxic and abusive relationships.
Trauma Bonds are strengthened by inconsistent positive reinforcement and based around the hope that the traumatic partner will become better and the relationship will be what you have always wanted.
Trauma bonding can feel like an addiction to another person. The relationship gives you these small moments of euphoria and then quickly turns to a soul crushing experience.
Unfortunately these types of relationships are abusive and are never heathy. Breaking a Trauma Bond is one of the most difficult things to do, but It can be done.
Let’s take a look at some signs that you are in a Trauma Bond.
1-You start to believe that being treated poorly is normal.
2-You defend your abuser and justify his/her actions.
3-You live in a fantasy of what the story could be rather than what the reality is.
4-You have repetitive fights about the same things that never get resolved.
5-You want to leave the relationship but you feel like you can’t. The thought of being without them physically makes you sick.
6-You keep trying to “convert” your spouse into becoming the person that treats you right.
7-You secretly crave the drama in your relationship because you feel that negative attention is better than no attention.
8-“Crumbs” of affection and love make your day.
9-You stay because you feel that you are the only one that can fulfill your partners needs.
10-You “walk on egg shells” not to set them off.
Now let’s take a look at what we can do to break free from Trauma Bonds.
1-Make a commitment to live in reality. Strive to live in the moment instead of fantasizing about what could have been. Remind yourself daily of your truth and that you deserve to be treated with respect and love. Live one day at a time. Breaking free from a Trauma Bond doesn’t happen over night. Give yourself grace.
2- Make decisions that support your self-care. Remind yourself that you are human and it is okay to take this slow and make mistakes along the way. When you feel your emotions starting to come up and you want to turn to that person for comfort, remember how far you have come, and that you will just be going back to a bad situation. Grab a pen and paper and write down how you are feeling. This can help calm some of those emotions down and they will pass.
3-Realize that grieving is part of the process. The reality is, we love or loved this person so letting them go doesn’t come easy. In fact, it is down right painful. Allow yourself the time and space to grieve.
4-Identify the hook. Pinpoint exactly what it is you are loosing. Is it the fantasy of what could have been? It is that your partner convicted you that you are the only one that can meet his/her needs? Whatever it may be, try hard to identify it.
5-Slowly start to build your life. Start envisioning your future without a toxic relationship. Envision what it would feel like to be loved and to feel safe.
6-Make healthy connections. You can’t heal in the same environment that made you sick. It is important to make new connections and find a community that can support and help you.
If friends and family have said things to you about your relationship that are disturbing to them and you shrug those things off as not a big deal, it is likely you are in a Trauma Bond and it may be time to address your situation.
Breaking free is possible but very difficult to do alone. It is vitally important that you are honest with yourself and you work on setting boundaries.
Know that you are loved and we are always here to support you.
Tiffany + Kierstyn
The Relationship Recovery