Do you understand what a trauma bond with someone entails? Most individuals would incorrectly conclude that this entails developing a bond with someone over a common trauma. However, many toxic and abusive relationships have a defining trait called trauma bonding and is related to Psychopathy in Romantic Relationship, reported by Adelle Forth.
The relationship between the victim and the abuser often looks like a positive, loving relationship. And most of the time, that is the key factor preventing us from being able to leave them.
A dysfunctional relationship of this kind between an abuse victim and their abuser is known as a trauma bond. Trauma bonds usually result in an extremely deep and frequently destructive relationship between the two parties because the victim is unable to end the bond for two main reasons. The victim will initially experience an emotional bond with the abuser. The second possibility is that the victim is loyal to the abuser.
When a person is emotionally dependent on their abuser, they sometimes form a 'drama bond' with them. It refers to the deep emotional attachment one might feel towards their abuser. This attachment causes them to ignore the grievances they suffer, while they are instead focused on the benefits they gain from their abuser. This can be used by the person in denial to explain the abuse they suffer, while they are in reality a victim of emotional abuse.
Trauma bonds can easily be mistaken for feelings of love and commitment towards another person. Although the abuse might not be physical, it can be just as hurtful.
If you're feeling trapped in a toxic relationship and the person who is abusing you is constantly putting you down, criticizing you or doing mean things to you. You're probably suffering from trauma bonding.
Having a trauma bond is probably the most manipulative and confusing thing you'll go through emotionally but once you realize that you're in one, you'll begin to see things for what they are.
Signs Its Not Love, Its Trauma Bond
They're Emotionally Unpredictable
Why don't people end relationships when they realize they are unhealthy for them is a question you may be asking yourself. However, the problem with trauma bonding is that it is far more difficult to detect than if you had only observed it occurring to someone else. Many victims of emotional abuse are convinced that they are actually being treated well. This is due to the fact that emotionally manipulative partners are frequently abusive themselves. They could treat you badly and undervalue you one day before showing you affection, apologizing, and promising to behave differently the next. This acts as a motivating factor to make you reconsider leaving them.
They Appear to Be Charming
We're naturally inclined to associate with people who are kind, warm, and trustworthy. We're more likely to be drawn toward them because of how charming they are, which makes it easier to be attracted to them. No one would voluntarily choose to pursue a relationship with someone who treats them abusively, of course, if given the chance. However, the issue is that these connections aren't always harmful. And you typically don't start to notice something is wrong until after you've actually experienced the abuse. It can be hard to realize they appear to be charming, kind, and trustworthy because they have a lot of ways to hide their true intentions. And, even if their intentions are to cause harm, it can be hard to leave a relationship with them. You can be caught in a trauma bond with someone even if they seem charming and kind on the outside, since it's possible the trauma is the result of something that happened before the relationship, like an assault. This can make it hard to leave the relationship, even if their intentions are sinister.
You Dismiss or Downplay Their Abusive Actions
Let's now examine all the ways that the trauma bond may impact your behavior and you. If you frequently find yourself attempting to downplay or ignore the other person's wrongdoings, this is frequently the most obvious evidence that you are in a harmful relationship. It's easier for us to just brush it off in the moment rather than facing what could be a terrible harsh reality that the person you're with is abusing you, so we tend to look past all of their mistreatment of us and minimize the abuse by saying things like, "Oh it's not that bad, really," or "I don't mind it."
They Have a Habit of Venting Their Frustrations on You
Consider the last time your partner's friend or family member received terrible news or faced a challenge. How do they generally handle it? Do they frequently lash out and blame you even when you've done nothing wrong? They could just be using you as a psychological punching bag. It's important to remember that having an abusive partner is not your fault. While you may have been drawn to them because of the attention, it is important to remember that an abusive partner will have you feeling like you're at fault for everything that goes wrong and that it's your duty to fix it.
You Keep Certain Details of Your Relationship From Others
You'll know there's a problem if you start to hide key aspects of your relationship from those around you. Because if you weren't intentionally trying to hide how horrible things are between you two, why else would you be doing it? Trauma bonding is characterized by loyalty to an abusive significant other, so you may discover that attempts by others to step in and aid you make you defensive or even angry.
They Keep You Apart From Your Loved Ones
There is a lot of comfort in someone who will adore you with all their heart and want to be with you always. It is a sweet thought that you can be with the person you love all the time and not have to share them with anyone else. However, there is a distinction between really loving someone and wanting them by your side always and purposefully trying to keep them apart from the other important relationships in their lives. Does your partner yell at you if you hang out with anyone else who isn't them? Do they make an effort to limit your social circle or request that you cut ties with your loved ones? If you are in this kind of dynamic and don't want to break up, then that is something that you will have to address head on. If your partner creates a dynamic where you two are against the rest of the world, that's toxic. If your partner makes you feel unsafe in your own life, this is a serious problem. It is healthier to have a partner who has a supportive network to rely on, who can have time apart from you, and who will be honest about their needs.
You Always Find an Excuse for Them
When a family member or friend tells you that what the other person did to you was not okay and that you shouldn't let them treat you that way when you can no longer dispute or downplay what they did, you'll still probably try to find reasons to defend them and make excuses for them. At times, you can even come to believe that their treatment of you is your fault. When you begin to think in this way, it is crucial to realize that you are not in a loving relationship but rather a trauma bond.
You’re Growing Progressively Less Sensitive to Emotions
Have you noticed that you're feeling worse lately? Like you're cold and emotionally impassive? You can be experiencing these emotions as a subconscious coping mechanism for all the abuse that your mind experienced from the trauma-bonded partner. They're causing you to suffer, and the only way to cope is to numb your pain with emotional anesthesia. You've had enough suffering, anxiety, rage, and grief. You choose to isolate yourself from all of your emotions as a result. You want to experience the vibrant, conversational, and expressive self that you once were, but you don't know how to get there.
Our relationships with others greatly influence who we are. It's crucial to learn how to recognize a potentially toxic person, whether you're in a relationship or not. This is sometimes easier said than done. Particularly when you're in the heat of the moment, it can be challenging to recognize the telltale indications of a dysfunctional relationship. Eventhough the victim may think they love the abuser, their continued presence is due to the trauma bond.