- Trauma bonding tends to form subtly and slowly, often without an abused person ever realizing it
- Breaking from trauma bonding may require counseling from a therapist, a support system, and legal protection if there is a real threat of violence.
During a conversation on Ghetto Radio’s drive show dubbed Goteana , the presenter had a valid concern on why individuals find it hard to leave abusive relationships.
Trauma bonding is one reason that leaving an abusive situation can feel confusing and overwhelming.
Defining Trauma Bond
The bond is created due to a cycle of abuse and positive reinforcement. After each circumstance of abuse, the abuser professes love, regret, and otherwise tries to make the relationship feel safe and needed for the abused person.
The abuser wields tremendous power and control that compound with shame and embarrassment, making it impossible for their abused partner to leave.¹
Signs Of Trauma Bonding
Signs of trauma bonding include the following
- An abuse victim covers up or makes excuses to others for an abuser’s behavior
- An abuse victim lies to friends or family about the abuse
- A victim doesn’t feel comfortable with or able to leave the abusive situation
- An abuse victim thinks the abuse is their fault
- The abuse follows a cycle (i.e., the abuser tries to make up for an abusive incident)
- The abuser promises they’ll change but they never do
- The abuser controls the victim (i.e., manipulation or gaslighting)
- The abuser isolates the victim from friends and family
- The abuser gets friends and family on their side
- The victim continues to trust the abuser
How to Break The Bond
If you have experienced an abusive situation that led to trauma bonding, your priority now is likely to get past the trauma bond so that you can see the situation for what it was and move past it.
If you are out of the situation already, you might not need to do the first step, or you may have done it.
The remaining steps can be helpful and useful for anyone who has been on the abused side of a trauma bonded relationship.
- Plan for Safety
- Positive Self-Talk and Care
- Support and Peer Groups