What is Trauma Bonding

Have you ever experienced trauma bonding?  Are you in a toxic relationship and others are telling you to leave but you feel stuck or confused?  And when you try to leave you feel guilty or can’t stop thinking about getting back with them?  These are some of the common symptoms of trauma bonding.

Trauma bonding is a strong attachment between an abuser and an abused person. The reason this attachment is formed is a result of the cycle of violence. The cycle of violence is tension building, event, reconciliation, and calmness. The abuser can twist exhilaration, terror, sexual physiology, and sexual affection to confuse your perception of the situation or abuse.

It is important that you are aware of some of the signs of trauma bonding in order to get the help you need.

Signs of Trauma Bonding

  • You feel stuck in the relationship and can’t find a way out
  • When you try to leave you long for that person afterwards
  • You worry about doing something that will set your abuser off
  • You fear they’ll hurt themselves if you end the relationship
  • The people around you don’t support the relationship
  • You will get “punished” by your abuser for doing something wrong
  • You live confused and anxious about what to do

Why Does It Happen?

One reason that trauma bonding occurs is because you become addicted to the hormonal roller coaster that the abuse brings. You start getting used to the ups and downs and your brain starts to crave it. Even though the abuse is horrible at the moment; the reconciliation between you and your abuser makes you feel as though you are in love. This makes it very hard for you to leave and when you do leave your brain desires the back and forth, so you start to long for that person again.

Since others are unable to understand your situation it also makes you become very isolated from your friends and family. Your relationships with people start to look different and you will likely become isolated and feel alone.  This gives you another reason to cling to your abuser because they may feel like all you have left.

3 Ways to Move Forward

If after reading this you have found that you are currently experiencing a trauma bond with someone, there are ways to get out of it. You are NOT stuck in this relationship. You CAN create a better life for yourself.

Find a Therapist

One way to start moving forward is to find a therapist that will help you process the abuse you have been experiencing and help you find ways to heal. Therapy can also look like finding a support group that will help you see that you are not alone in this experience. In those groups you will realize you are not the only one suffering like this.  That there are other people that are struggling to break a trauma bond between their abuser.

Journal the Abuse

Start journaling about your abuse, your relationship, the grief that is occuring, how hard it is to let go,  or any emotion that you are experiencing at the moment.  Be specific about the event including times, dates, what they did.  This will help you feel more sane and become more equipped to battle thoughts and accusations that you are the problem and other lies.

Find Support

Look for people, churches and organizations that will support your decision to break free of the trauma bond.  You can do this with certain friends, some family members, pastors at church and therapists to name a few.  This is vital for you to break free and stay free.  This along with continued therapy can hold you accountable to break free and stay free!

If you found this helpful and want to move forward to heal and explore what your best next steps are then we are here for you.  At New Vision Counseling and Consulting we have a team of therapists trained to walk with you through the pain and help you heal and make sense of what to do next.  You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or go to our website at to learn more about how we can best help you.


11209 N May Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73120


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