We become codependent as toddlers and quickly learn how our responses affect our caregivers. If that relationship is maladaptive, it will change our fundamental neural pathways and behaviours as adults. We may find, as Walker States within; "Complex PTSD; from surviving to thriving", that as young children we quickly learned that protesting abuse only leads to more frightening parental retaliation. In that case, our fight response is relinquished and we become codependent or trauma bonded (walker, 2014).
Trauma bonding also occurs within adult complex trauma as we are taught within the relationship that fighting against the toxicity only results in more unwanted stress and more intense instances of abuse.
Trauma bonding is extremely subtle and replaces valid questions with false emotions and answers.
Trauma bonds ultimately manifest due to a fear of abandonment. It is due to the concept of fear that we face an inability to express needs, rights and boundaries in relationships. This causes a struggle to be assertive within interpersonal relationships and our fight system kicks in as we seek safety and acceptance.
Trauma bonding makes for a one-sided toxic relationship where an individual would rather listen than talk, agree rather than disrupt or to offer care than ask for help (Walker, 2013); memorising my list of rights which is found in files within the group will greatly help within this type of relationship and response.
It is through education about a parents role in an individual's life that can truly aid recovery (walker, 2013). This helps to buffer guilt and shame we have built within and trust in our judgement within future interpersonal relationships.
When we find ourselves within a relationship dependent on trauma bonding, we become emotionally attached to an abuser (harley therapy online). It is a negative bond which keeps you loyal and subservant to a destructive cycle.
Trauma bonding will make us feel powerless and unable to move forward. There are periods when we question if we even like or trust the other as we become stuck in a relationship which is intense and complex. It's easy to focus on the minimal good days we have, even if it was 2 weeks and 3 days ago - that is because due to the dynamics of our relationship drama, the good days are extremely minimal, so when they do occur; they become hormonally charged and easier to access in the form of detailed memory.
It is also common within this dynamic to believe you can change the other. That is because at times they have shown you a glimmer of hope in a positive direction. Remember, they have chosen to show you that just as they have chosen not to at times.
When it comes to cutting ties with this relationship, it produces feelings of extreme fear and anxiety. It is almost like a phobia to leave. Leaving a relationship you are traumatically bonded to can make you feel like you're going to be sick or even as extreme to feel as if you don't stay your life will be destroyed.
When we realise that we are traumatically bonded to someone; we have to change that dynamic completely. If it cannot be worked through in therapy and be adequately supported, it should be ended when possible; as terrifying as that is.
Trauma bonding is often found in parent-child relationships, relationships where we are verbally criticised, manipulated, and in relationships with an alcoholic or drug addict.
Traumatic bonding, described by Harley therapy as complex in its own right and should only be explored through the support of a counsellor due to its challenges which can be subtle in nature. Is the number one reason why many of his victims stay within the abuse cycle that can be exceptionally difficult to navigate without external support and guidance. In addition, I have made a graphic in order to show some common thoughts that many individuals who experience this also have.
For additional information, there is a unit within our Facebook group that goes into this in greater detail.