What Does It Mean to Be Trauma Bonded?

If you’ve ever been in a toxic or abusive relationship, you may have heard the term “trauma bonded.” But what does it mean to be trauma bonded?

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Definition of trauma bonding

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), bonding is defined as “the process of attachment that occurs between an infant and primary caregiver.” This bond is critical for the development of a healthy sense of self and other, as well as the development of basic trust in the world.

However, when this bond is formed in the context of trauma, it can be detrimental to the individual’s development and subsequent relationships. Trauma bonding occurs when an individual forms an emotional attachment to someone who has caused them harm. This can happen in abusive relationships, where the victim becomes attached to their abuser despite the abuse.

Trauma bonding can also occur in other types of relationships, such as those between a hostage and their captor, or a child and their caregiver in a neglectful or abusive setting. In these cases, the individual forms a bond with their abuser in order to survive the trauma they are experiencing. This bond is often characterized by mixed feelings of love and hate, as well as a sense of loyalty or obligation to the abuser.

If you have experienced trauma bonding in a relationship, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional who can support you in healing from the trauma.

Symptoms of trauma bonding

There are a few key symptoms of trauma bonding that can help you identify if you are in a trauma bond. These symptoms can include:

– feeling like you “need” the other person in order to feel okay
– feeling like you cannot live without the other person
– feeling like you are “addicted” to the other person
– feeling extreme highs and lows in your relationship
– noticing that your friends and family express concern about your relationship
– feeling like you have to “walk on eggshells” around the other person
– feeling like you are always trying to please the other person
– feeling like you are always apologizing to the other person
– feeling like the other person is always changing their mind about what they want or need from you
– feeling used, manipulated, or controlled by the other person

Causes of trauma bonding

There are many ways that someone can become trauma bonded. Examples include:

-Being in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship
-Being in a relationship with someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol
-Being in a relationship with someone who is chronically ill
-Being in a relationship with someone who is mentally ill
-Being in a relationship with someone who is disabled
– Being in a war zone

Treatment for trauma bonding

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to addressing trauma bonding, as the treatment will vary depending on the individual and the severity of their symptoms. However, some common approaches that may be used in treating trauma bonding include:

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of therapy can help individuals to understand and change the negative thoughts and behaviors that are associated with their trauma bond.

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT): This form of therapy can be helpful in teaching individuals how to cope with difficult emotions and situations in a more positive way.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): This therapy can help to reduce the intensity of negative emotions that are linked to traumatic experiences.

Psychodynamic therapy: This form of therapy can help individuals to understand the unconscious thoughts and feelings that may be driving their behavior.

Support groups: There are often support groups available for individuals who have been traumatized or who have experienced trauma bonding. These groups can provide a safe space for people to share their experiences and receive support from others who understand what they are going through.

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