Trauma bonds are a biological and emotional trap as it produces chemicals in the body such as cortisol and dopamine. A trauma bond is made by the highs of the love-bombing stage and abruptly changing to the devaluation stage, creating a serious low. This continued cycle causes and imbalance to the bodies system. The inconsistency keeps people off balance and seeking to regain the high by going back to their abuser.
Hormones being released into the body help form the addiction. High levels of cortisol a stress hormone is released into the body when the affection ends and then dopamine is released when affection is returned. Seeking to regain the high the victim will try to win back the affection of their abuser. People become addicted to the cycles of the chaos and drama which creates a bonding effect. If this type of bonding occurred during childhood, you may find that these people choose partners as a adults that mirror the environments they had growing up. If drama is absent both parties can feel unloved as they have been conditioned from an early age to believe this is how real love feels. The mind will believe you love this person once bonded however, it is actually an addiction caused by the chemical process within the body.
People must be able to heal the trauma bond in order to completely move on from the toxic relationship. This bond can keep a person stuck in a cycle as the conditioning is so strong that it is confused with feeling like love. This can happen in any type of relationship and confusing for the person entangled and the supporters of the victims. Trauma bonds are hard to break. It keeps people in relationships that are toxic even if they understand they should leave.
A victim will seek to reconnect with their abuser to relieve their pain in the moment, just like an alcoholic will crave their alcohol and break sobriety. This is one of the toughest things for victims and their supporters to understand when trying to break free from a toxic relationship. They may feel a sense of relief one day and have severe anxiety the next. They will feel a strong pull to reach out to their abuser to release the anxiety they feel for that high to return. It is no different from a drug addict going through the withdrawal process and why difficult for victims and supporters to understand. Accepting this is an addiction for the victims and their support system can help with the recovery process. Recognizing this is not love but an addiction to a chaotic lifestyle that is toxic is a step toward the healing process. This will take time. Understanding this and not reaching out to the abuser will help the body to regulate itself. Victims can then begin to heal and move toward a healthier mindset.
A victim can feel shame, guilt, and low self-esteem when repeating the push-pull pattern with their abuser. They understand it isn’t healthy logically but the pull is so strong to go back that they feel a sense of powerlessness. The victim will begin to lose a sense of self and can become enmeshed with their abuser as their boundaries have been ignored or not kept in place. This causes the victim to lose confidence in themselves and lose trust in their own judgement. Victims are likely to blame themselves for all the problems as they have been gaslit along with other manipulative tactics.
Whether the abuser has discarded their victim or the victim is trying to leave a toxic relationship, you (the victim) must go and stay NO CONTACT. Going NO CONTACT is a step needed to heal from the trauma bond. Many people don’t understand what NO CONTACT actually means. It isn’t easy but necessary as emotional thinking can convince you to go back.
NO CONTACT IS: BLOCKING THE ABUSER FROM CONTACTING YOU IN ANY WAY:
NO PHONE CALLS, NO TEXT, NO EMAILS, NOT SHOWING UP WHERE THEY MIGHT BE, LEAVNG IF THEY SHOW UP, BLOCKING ON ALL SOCIAL MEDIA and CHANGING JOBS OR PLACE OF RESIDENCE IF NECESSARY. This seems unfair yet, if you truly want to heal you will do whatever steps it takes to do so. If you don’t follow the NO CONTACT rules, you can be drawn back in to the relationship or chaos by allowing your emotional thinking to over-ride your logic.
Once in No Contact give the victim or yourself as the victim, some compassion as it’s not easy to break an addiction. If the victim reverts back one day forgive that and try again. This will be frustrating as it is a process as the victim will feel the urge to reach out for that high. Getting through the lows is difficult so allow the time and space to do it. Acknowledge feelings as they arise as they are valid. The victim will feel crazy as they are in a fog and can’t process things when in an emotional state.
Finding ways to help handle these feelings can be helpful. Journaling can be one way to express emotions by purging them out mentally and emotionally on paper. Returning to the journal after a few months, can show the progress made and will feel validating for the victim.
Clarity of what the victim has been dealing with will help them rediscover themselves. As the victim, Be kind to yourself as you head into a healthier place. Being in a non-toxic pattern may seem boring at first as there was conditioning to the chaotic lifestyle. Understanding this and committing to happiness will be worth the struggle it takes to get through this.
This information is important for the supporters and the victims of those in unhealthy relationships. Recovering from a trauma bond that is an addiction takes time and patience. You can’t rush the process and heal over-night. It will be different for each victim and understanding this is important for everyone involved.