Restorations Therapy Blog

What Is Trauma Bonding?

by on Monday, June 7th, 2021

trauma bonding

Have you found yourself in an unhealthy relationship but can’t leave? Perhaps you have seen a loved one struggle with a toxic relationship that is unhealthy, but yet they continue staying with the person. Abusive relationships can be challenging to understand, but those outside typically see the warning signs first. A standard part of abusive relationships is trauma bonding, which can keep the person in the relationship despite the negative consequences. By understanding trauma bonding, you can help spot red flags in others’ relationships and your own to help escape.

Defining Trauma Bonding

Traditionally occurring in romantic relationships, trauma bonding is a psychological response to one’s abuser that keeps them attached to them. The unhealthy bond is perpetuated by the cycle of abuse, in which a partner will act kind and loving as soon as the person decides they’ve had enough. They are drawn back into the relationship, at which point the abusive partner will return to their abusive ways. The cycle repeats, but the person being abused stays because of the unhealthy bond with their abuser. Trauma bonding is a significant reason that individuals have a hard time leaving abusive relationships.

Recognizing Trauma Bonding and What to Do

You can identify trauma bonding through various signs. For example, a person with a trauma bond with their abuser will typically make excuses for their behavior. If they receive physical abuse, they may play it off by saying, “They were drunk; they wouldn’t hurt me sober.” These excuses perpetuate the abuse and allow it to continue. Having friends and family be unsupportive of your relationship is also a red flag. There are reasons your loved ones would be against someone you’re dating, mainly because they know that person isn’t good for you. It could also be because they recognize the red flags that you are ignoring.

Getting out of an abusive relationship is complex, and ultimately, the person won’t leave until they realize the abuse. However, supporting your loved one and being there for them throughout the process will help them the most. When they’re ready, protect them and encourage them to go to treatment. Doing so is the best way to help them fully recover.

Trauma bonding is the key element that makes leaving abusive relationships so challenging. Those that form a trauma bond with their abuser will likely remain in the cycle of abuse until they realize the red flags surrounding them. By understanding trauma bonding, you can support your loved ones as they navigate this challenging process. If you need guidance, Restorations Therapy is here to help. We offer various programs such as individual and group counseling, marriage counseling, and other programs targeting addiction and intimacy issues. We believe anyone can find recovery and be successful. Call us today at (720) 446-6585.

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