Have you been practicing self-care?
For those outside looking into a highly toxic relationship, the question most often asked is, “Why do they stay?” Heck, I’m guilty of questioning the same and I even studied this psychological phenomenon in the past!
Then came the horrendous first-hand experience. The kicker is, I continued to ask myself, “Why the heck do I miss him after the insane mind-funkery he dragged me through?” Only when I finally linked my education with the experience did I get a clearer understanding of what was happening.
First, Let Me Make This Clear…
… that trauma bonding is NOT a sign of weakness or failure in the victim. It’s a survival response to intermittent reinforcement by an abuser… the cycle of ongoing reward and punishment where the victim is conditioned to hold onto the promise of a reward (in this case, a small amount of kindness or attention) if they hold on long enough no matter what.
Like a gambling addict who sits hours on end at the slots waiting for a payoff, the addict continues throwing away their hard-earned money, not even aware of how much cash they’ve used up… because the high they receive from the little returns keeps them hanging onto hope.
See, in an ongoing toxic relationship, there’s always a time when things seem to be “normal.” The victim becomes addicted to that little window of “normalcy” and holds onto hope that they will get more of it if they remain obedient to the abuser. The more intense the punishment… the more appreciated the “reward.”
Signs of Trauma Bonding:
- The other person demonstrates a constant pattern of poor behavior, not following through with what they say they’ll do, and breaking promises. However, every once in a while, they will throw little scraps of kindness and attention toward you, leaving you hanging onto hope that things will get better “this time.”
- Others are disturbed by the other person’s behavior towards you, but you cannot understand why.
- You are constantly arguing and fighting about the same darn things they keep doing, and no matter how much they say they’ll change or “get better” things remain the same and you feel helpless and stuck.
- You do not trust the abuser or can no longer identify what exactly you appreciate about them, but you are addicted and unable to completely remove yourself from the relationship. When you try to detach, you miss them and you feel like you are unable to survive without them.
Regardless of how “deep” you feel like you’ve sunk into this illusion, there is hope for recovery. Please read my article, “Trauma Bonding and How to Remove It” for techniques to get you started.
Trauma Bonding and How to Remove It
Trauma bonding is tricky… it confuses you to believe you still care of, or are in love with the narcissist. Don’t fall for it! Stay focused on yourself, your healing, and rebuilding and this toxic bond will be wiped out of your system completely.
I’ll see you tomorrow
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Group Coaching Session:
In this Free 14-Day Recovery Plan so far…
- #00: Your First Steps to Break Free from Narcissistic Abuse
- #01: You Are NOT Crazy. This Really Happened
- #02: Get Immediate Relief from the Pain
- #03: Symptoms of Narcissistic Abuse
- #04: A Warning About Online Support Groups
- #05: Can the Narcissist Change for the Better?
- #06: Are Narcissists Able to Love?
- #07: What Makes You a Narc Magnet?
- #08: The No Contact MYTH
- #09: How to Make Real Progress With Your Recovery