The Trauma Bond, Explained
Elizabeth Goddard, the author of The A to Z of Emotional Abuse, explains what a ‘trauma bond’ is, why it can make relationships difficult to shake off, and how it can bring teams closer together, too, in this article from Thrive.
The article titled “Trauma Bonding: What It Is and How to Heal From It,” published on the Thrive Global community platform, explores the concept of trauma bonding, a phenomenon where individuals form a powerful emotional attachment to their abuser due to the traumatic experiences they share. The author, Karen Rose, a psychotherapist, provides insights into the characteristics of trauma bonding, how it affects individuals, and how to overcome it.
Rose defines trauma bonding as a psychological attachment formed between an abuser and a victim due to the intense emotional experiences they share. These experiences, such as physical or emotional abuse, create a bond that the victim may perceive as love or loyalty, leading them to seek comfort from their abuser. However, the bond is unhealthy, and the victim may find it challenging to break free from the cycle of abuse.
Rose explains that trauma bonding is common in situations where there is prolonged abuse or captivity, such as in domestic violence, cults, or hostage situations. Trauma bonding can be even stronger when the abuser intermittently displays kindness and affection towards the victim, creating a sense of hope and dependency in the victim.
The article delves into the characteristics of trauma bonding, which include intense emotions, a sense of loyalty, and the feeling of being trapped. Victims may feel like they cannot leave their abuser due to fear, shame, or the belief that they are responsible for the abuse they experience. The victim may also feel like they owe something to their abuser or that the abuse is a form of punishment for their mistakes.
Rose then explores the effects of trauma bonding on individuals, which can include low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The victim may also experience difficulty trusting others, setting boundaries, and maintaining healthy relationships. The victim may feel isolated and ashamed, making them withdraw from social interactions and support networks.
The article provides valuable insights on how to overcome trauma bonding. Rose emphasizes the importance of seeking professional help from a therapist, who can provide the victim with support and guidance throughout the healing process. Therapy can help the victim develop a sense of self-worth, regain control over their life, and learn healthy coping mechanisms.
Rose also suggests self-care practices, such as mindfulness meditation, exercise, and time in nature, to help victims manage their emotions and reduce stress. Victims can also benefit from engaging in activities they enjoy and spending time with supportive friends and family members.
The article also highlights the importance of safety planning for individuals still in abusive situations. Safety planning involves identifying safe places to go in an emergency, planning to contact authorities or seek medical attention, and securing important documents and belongings.
In conclusion, “Trauma Bonding: What It Is and How to Heal From It” is a valuable resource for individuals who have experienced trauma bonding. The article provides insights into the characteristics of trauma bonding, its effects on individuals, and practical strategies for overcoming it. By seeking professional help, engaging in self-care practices, and safety planning, individuals can break free from the cycle of abuse and reclaim their sense of self-worth and autonomy.