4 Signs that you are Trauma-Bonded to an Abusive Partner
Posted on 2nd April 2023
A trauma bond occurs when you are emotionally attached to someone who abuses you. This can also be known as Stockholm Syndrome, after an event in which hostages develop emotional attachments to their captors.
These are some of the signs of being trauma-bonded:
Your relationship is built around shame and guilt
A toxic person will use obligation and guilt to keep you with them. You may be told you are selfish for speaking up about your needs. Any boundaries are systematically dismantled. You could be guilted into staying home when you have plans to go out, that you 'owe' them after everything they have done for you. The more you try to leave, the more you are shamed into staying.
You aren't sure you'd leave if the abuse increased
The longer you are with a toxic person, the more the abusive behaviour becomes normal. If you leave, you and your family may be threatened. You may have been isolated. Before this relationship, you didn't understand why victims of abuse don't leave their partners. Now, it is much clearer.
You have been lovebombed
At the beginning of the relationship, you are showered with gifts, attention, and words of affirmation. Then, you go from someone who can do no wrong, to someone who can do no right. If you have left the relationship, the toxic person may go to extreme lengths to contact you. This is known as 'hoovering'. If you do return to the relationship, you may experience a short period of love bombing, but it will return to the same level of toxicity.
You don't even like this person
When you spend time with a toxic person, you may feel angry towards them, but know it is unsafe to express your feelings. Getting time to yourself away from them is a huge relief. You find yourself drawn to this person, and don't know why.
If you think you might be trauma-bonded to someone, it is beneficial to talk to a professional. You may be carrying guilt, making it hard to leave the relationship. One of the most effective ways to free yourself from trauma bond is to go no or low contact with the toxic person. This is a complex process that needs a lot of thought, so working with a professional can help you through it.
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