What does it mean to be traumatically bonded to someone and how does it affect someone?
I know this is a subject that has been well researched and documented, but I am trying to understand it for myself in the context of my relationship with my ex-husband. Although we are divorced, I feel a tug towards him. It was an unhealthy, abusive relationship yet I still manage to brush over the bad and focus on his good points to my detriment. I know that this pull runs deep, and I have been reading up about the deep emotional connection of a trauma bond to try and save myself.
First of all, from what I have recently read, a trauma bond exists with two important dynamics; a power imbalance and intermittent good-bad treatment. Trauma bonds are cemented with the fear of, threat of or actual violence. The trauma bond causes the victim to regress back to infantile behaviour and end up clinging to his/her abuser and believing it be ‘love’. The trauma bond mimic the very first relationship a baby has with its mother. That relationship has elements of love and fear. We are fed, clothed, sheltered and supported by our mother but we are also disciplined by her. We are completely dependent on her for our survival.
So, in the same way, with our abusers; we become utterly dependent and we tolerate the lows to get the highs. We become dependent and when we leave we suffer a sensation of complete loss and grief. It’s like losing our parent.
Wow! No wonder I am still emotionally attached to the man I was with for so many years despite initiating the divorce. I don’t live with him, I am financially independent from him yet I still go out of my way to help him and put his needs before mine. I feel bad when I interact with him but I find it hard to maintain strict boundaries with him and I feel like I am being cold and mean when I do. i do it for a while and then relax the boundaries and that’s when things get messy over and over.. All of these point to a traumatic bond.
First off I am going to stop being so hard on me! Yes I am traumatically bonded but I have been incredibly courageous to see past it to be able to divorce him! Yes I am still emotionally attached but that doesn’t make me sick or mentally ill. It is a complex set of emotions and leaving him was always going to be a very long process. My inner strength and awareness initiated the process and I will break free of that emotional bond with more effort and healing. I am doing great and I am not wrong or bad in anyway. My parents were wrong and bad and my ex-husband was wrong and bad for hurting and manipulating me. I am RIGHT and GOOD!!!
I can’t have no contact because we have a son together but I can have very limited contact with consistent boundaries that I maintain. I believe the more I grow in self-love, the less I will need to turn to him or anyone else to fill those holes within.
Wishing you peace and self-love always!!!