Trauma Bond

love yourself more

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!!!


24 thoughts on “Trauma Bond

  1. I had this kind of bond with my first husband. But I didn’t know anything about it, didn’t understand it, and so it took me a very long time to get past it. He continued to be verbally abusive for years after I left him, and I didn’t know how to stop it. And then even years after I had left him, he got me to do time-consuming favors for him. Ugh. I am happy to say that I don’t do that anymore, but it took ages (and helped as my boys got older). I’m so impressed that you got here so much sooner. It’s good you are sharing too. I hope that others learn from your good example.

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  2. I am hoping that as you grow in self-love you will eventually learn to be attracted to a healthy partner..It took me many failed relationships, (with toxic bonding) to finally let a healthy partner in…The first year of our relationship was the toughest as it felt unfamiliar and boring..The stability and true intimacy was unknown to me..With the help of a therapist, I pushed through the fear and stuck with this guy, and he is now my husband..Just remember that you will always be ‘attracted intensely (almost like a drug) to unhealthy partners..Whereas with a healthy partner you might be bored and will need time to develop a healthy attraction..You are strong, courageous & doing the best you can. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

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    • Thank you, you have made me feel less alone because in the past there have been very gentle healthy guys who I have pushed aside for unhealthy ones. There is indeed that intensity and excitement of the highs and lows that I craved before ( and still may in the future as you point out). I pray that I can be attracted to healthy people from now on. Thank you for sharing your experiences and I am so glad that you have found a healthy relationship. That is encouraging and gives me hope.


      • There is always hope..I pushed away healthier guys too because it felt too unfamiliar and I didn’t think I could develop enough attraction. With the help of my therapist telling me to persevere and sit with the uncomfortable feelings, I eventually managed to sustain it..It was very tough and I was filled with anxiety, but it worked out. I hope this for you and anyone out there on a similar journey.Once you start getting used to a healthier relationship, you will never go back to the extreme highs & lows of an unhealthy one.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you. At least I can recognise what is unhealthy and what a relationship shouldnt be like from firsthand experience. That is a start. I know with my ex-husband there was a lot of pressure to go at his hurried pace and I ignored all the alarm bells. There was also a lot of excessive praise and lavish attention of me at first so those are other warning signs for me.We live and learn

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  3. Reblogged this on Caterpillar To Butterfly and commented:
    I really got a lot out of reading this post tonight so I wanted to share it on my page. I know I can certainly relate. You don’t always see it when you are enmeshed in the situation but once you find the strength of self-love then you know how much greater your worth is than being abused. A trauma bond can happen to anyone but give yourself grace and spend time healing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are on the road to becoming free from the bond. I am 3 and a half years out, and was trauma bonded for about a year after the separation. As long as there are young children, there has to be some sort of contact, but setting boundaries (or just holding firm to the agreed upon parenting plan), eliminates some of the avenues of continued abuse. Peace to you💜

    Liked by 1 person

      • Oh gosh…the same for me. I might see him being friendly to people, or he actually may speak respectfully to me every now and then….it is a trick! We now know how we were lured into their web to start with. During our 16 months of litigation, these behaviors often came right before I would receive yet another request for deposition, or demand of some sort. It’s like the kindness is a warning that he is going to attack (or already has, and is waiting to see my reaction).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes I was lured in the very same way. he praised me excessively and made me feel like a princess but once we were together things changed.It’s crazymaking behaviour. And now he says he doesnt want to be togther but that he understands me better, that he is sorry and that he has been reading about survivors of sexual abuse and that he can support me.


      • He sounds pretty slick. I heard the “I’m a changed man now that I’ve been baptized” story. I told him that I hoped that was true, but only time would tell if that was true. Then he sent the lawyer Bulldogs after me!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes he is very very smart. I wish he would move on and not focus on me. But at the same time, I have to take responsibility for my part because he hasn’t coerced me into being with him again and I have to change the way I am to him too by being less helpful kind etc. that is hard for me but necessary.


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