Trauma Bond Is Not Love

You might be suffering from a trauma bond if you exhibit the following behaviors:

  1. You know they are abusive and manipulative, but you can’t seem to let go. You ruminate over the incidents of abuse, engage in self-blame, and the abuser becomes the sole arbiter of your self-esteem and self-worth.
  2. You walk on eggshells trying to please your abuser, even though they give you little in return except for crumbs of affection and more pain.
  3. You feel addicted to them without understanding why. You “need” their validation and approval, looking to them as the source of comfort after incidents of abuse. This is evidence of a strong biochemical and psychological attachment to them.
  4. You defend your abuser and keep their transgressions a secret. You might refuse to press charges against your abuser or defend them against family members or friends who try to tell you that they are toxic. You may even present your relationship as a happy one to the public eye, attempting to minimize their abusive behavior and romanticizing and exaggerating any positive behaviors they dole out occasionally.
  5. Even when you attempt to leave the abuser, you give into the abuser’s faux remorse, crocodile tears and claims to change for the future. The pattern of abuse and its cycle may be evident, but you hold onto the false hope that things can get better.
  6. You develop self-sabotaging behaviors and might engage in some form of self-harm or addictions to dissociate from the pain of the abuse and the acute sense of shame caused by the abuse.
  7. You are willing to lower your standards time and time again for this toxic person, accepting what you previously believed was unacceptable.
  8. You change your own behaviors, appearance and/or personality in an attempt to meet the abuser’s moving goal posts, although the abuser rarely changes their own behavior to please you.

Carnes, P., & Phillips, B. (2019). The betrayal bond: Breaking free of exploitive relationships. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications.

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