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What is Trauma Bonding?

Ever heard of the term "trauma bonding? It's a concept that was first introduced in the early 1970s by psychiatrist Dr. Patrick Carnes. Trauma bonding occurs when a person forms an intense emotional connection with someone who has caused them physical or psychological harm.

Despite the fact that the word "bond" implies a positive relationship, trauma bonds are actually quite harmful. They can keep victims in abusive relationships because they become so attached to their abuser. In fact, victims of domestic violence often report feeling like they have a strong connection to their abuser, even though they may be terrified of them.

Trauma bonding can happen in any type of relationship where there is an imbalance of power. The bond is usually formed as a result of hurt, fear, or isolation. It can happen in relationships between family members, friends, or romantic partners. Victims of trauma bonding often feel like they need their abuser, even though the abuse may be causing them physical and emotional pain.

One of the most common ways that abusers create trauma bonds is by alternately harming and then helping their victims. For example, an abusive partner may hit their victim and then apologize profusely afterwards. The victim may forgive their abuser and even feel sympathetic towards them because they seem remorseful. Over time, this pattern of behavior can create a strong bond between the victim and abuser.

Another way that abusers create trauma bonds is by isolating their victims from friends and family members. This can make victims feel like they have no one to turn to except for their abuser. In some cases, abusers may even convinced their victim that no one else will ever want to be with them or that no one else cares about them. This isolation can make it very difficult for victims to leave an abusive relationship because they feel like they have nowhere else to go.

If you suspect that you or someone you know is in a trauma bonded relationship, it's important to reach out for help. There are many hotlines and resources available to victims of domestic violence and other forms of abuse. Remember, you are not alone and there is help available.

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