01 June 2023

What is a Trauma Bond?

Trauma Bond Awareness, Information, Resources and Research

What is a Trauma Bond?

“Their experiences led them to create assumptions about others and related beliefs about themselves such as "this is my lot in life" and "this is what I deserve". Some also learned that personal safety and happiness are of lower priority than survival and that it may be safer to give in than to actively fight off additional abuse and victimization. When abuse is perpetrated by intimates, it is additionally confounding in terms of attachment, betrayal, and trust. Victims may be unable to leave or to fight back due to strong, albeit insecure and disorganized, attachment and misplaced loyalty to abusers. They may have also experienced trauma bonding over the course of their victimization, that is, a bond of specialness with or dependence on the abuser.”― Christine A. Courtois

Trauma Bonds and Abuse

Trauma Bond Research

What is a Trauma Bond?
A trauma bond refers to a complex psychological attachment that forms between two people, typically as a result of a traumatic or abusive relationship. It is characterized by a strong emotional bond that develops due to a shared experience of intense emotional, physical, or psychological pain. Trauma bonds can occur in various types of relationships, such as romantic partnerships, friendships, or even relationships with family members.

Trauma bonds often arise in situations where one person alternates between providing moments of affection, validation, or kindness and inflicting harm, manipulation, or abuse. The intermittent reinforcement of positive and negative behaviors creates a powerful psychological attachment. The victim becomes emotionally dependent on the abuser, seeking validation and approval despite the harm inflicted.

Several factors contribute to the development and maintenance of a trauma bond:

1. Intense emotional experiences: Trauma bonds form when individuals experience intense emotional highs and lows, creating a heightened sense of connection and dependency.

2. Isolation: The abuser may isolate the victim from their support system, making the victim more dependent on the abuser for emotional support and validation.

3. Fear and control: The presence of fear and control techniques, such as threats, manipulation, or gaslighting, can reinforce the trauma bond as the victim becomes conditioned to rely on the abuser for safety.

4. Cognitive dissonance: The victim may hold conflicting beliefs about the abuser, simultaneously acknowledging the harm caused while clinging to positive aspects of the relationship or hoping for change.

5. Low self-esteem: Individuals with low self-esteem or a history of trauma may be more susceptible to trauma bonds, as they may have a heightened need for validation and struggle to establish healthy boundaries.

It's important to note that trauma bonds can be incredibly challenging to break, as they often involve a complex interplay of emotions, psychological conditioning, and dependency. Professional help, such as therapy or counseling, is often necessary to address the underlying trauma and develop strategies for healing and breaking free from the bond." (Source: ChatGPT 2023)

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Emotional Attachments in Abusive Relationships: a Test of Traumatic Bonding Theory NIH

Expanding the Theory of Traumatic Bonding as it Relates to Forgiveness, Romantic Attachment, and Intention attachment, and Intention to Return PDF Download University of Tennessee

How to Break an Abusive Trauma Bond Oprah Daily

How to Break a Trauma Bond Socal Mental Health

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Identifying & Overcoming Trauma Bonds National Domestic Violence Hotline

Recognizing and Breaking a Trauma Bond CPTSD Foundation

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Ways the Concept of Trauma Bonding Works Against Survivors Safe & Together Institute

Women of Intimate Partner Abuse: Traumatic Bonding Phenomenon PDF Download Walden University

Why Do People Develop Trauma Bonds? Integrative Life Center

Trauma Bond Explained - Video