Community//

TRAUMA BONDING

We develop bonds for survival in childhood, usually with our caregiver, which is the foundation of attachment. When our safety is threatened in some way, we turn to our caregiver, for support and protection.    These types of relationships so hard to heal from. The damage caused puts you in to a state of confusion, […]

We develop bonds for survival in childhood, usually with our caregiver, which is the foundation of attachment.

When our safety is threatened in some way, we turn to our caregiver, for support and protection. 

  These types of relationships so hard to heal from.

The damage caused puts you in to a state of confusion, you had no idea the abuse was taking place; and like Chinese water torture, it happened very slowly and it turned you insane! 

During the relationship you told everyone how amazing they were; so when it ended they didn’t understand what happened either. 

They may ask you ‘what happened, you were so happy’ and you don’t know.

In a Toxic or emotionally abusive relationship, there is a BONDING that happens, during the CYCLE OF ABUSE. 

A bonding takes place in most relationships, but this is one-sided, and is Trauma bonding.  

Patrick Caines developed the term TRAUMA BONDING as ‘The misuse of fear, excitement, sexual feelings, and sexual physiology to entangle another person.’ during his work with sexual addiction.

Bonding is a process that makes people more important to each other, we develop bonds for survival and it is the foundation of attachment. 

This is why TEAM BUILDING exercises use BONDING SCENARIOS AND TECHNIQUES. It helps instil trust in each member of the team, bonds are made during activities, that are unique to the individuals. 

When our safety is threatened in some way, we turn to our team, for support and protection and these bonds can be created within hours. 

People who have experienced a traumatic situation together, always have a bond of survival. I watched the film Sully, Tom Hanks plays the pilot who successfully landed a plane on the Hudson River in New York following a Bird strike, that took out both engines. The crew ensured the passengers got off the plane safely, and waiting with them on the wings and on floatation crafts to be rescued. 

Never in the history of aviation had a passenger plane been known to survive such a landing. At the end of the film they show footage of the plane in a hanger, the pilot Chesley Sullenberger was with the crew, meeting the passengers and their families, during his speech he says “because of the events of the 15th of January  2009, we will be joined in our hearts and minds together”.

Bonding is a very strong connection, it strengthens when we spend time someone. 

Bonds get stronger when we make love and when we have children together. 

Bonding becomes stronger by being together during stressful situation or periods of difficulty.

And Trauma Bonding is why it is hard to leave an abusive relationship. 

Trauma Bonding makes it hard to enforce boundaries, and it makes it hard to stay away from people we have bonded with. 

The brain controls the body, and during the very dangerous LOVE BOMBING stage, it has been receiving a lot of oxytocin, a bonding hormone.  It is also known as the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone,” released when people bond socially, it can also be released when playing with your dog. 

Oxytocin plays a huge role during pregnancy, birth and in breast feeding. The release of Oxytocin causes the contractions during labour, it softens the neck of the cervix and then helps the uterus contract after the birth. When the baby suckles at the breast, the stimulation releases oxytocin promoting mother-child bonding. 

Oxytocin eases stress and creates feelings of calm and closeness. In a love relationship, your brain releases oxytocin during physical contact, cuddling or sex; it is released when someone shows they trust you, and sometimes even simply by just talking.

Strong bonds are created early on in the relationship, so when they start devaluing you,  it causes great pain and confusion. 

When the relationship ends, the bond is so strong and the withdrawal so painful, that you look for ways of getting the relationship back, and to where you where at the beginning of the relationship. 

A toxic relationship is about power and control. 

During the IDEALISATION stage, they positioned themselves as the caregiver, showering you with attention, gifts, meals, days out, manufacturing a love you may never have experienced before. 

Once they have hooked you up to your drug of choice, THEM, they start to introduce situations that release stress hormones, they do this with the slight putdowns and creating drama and jealousy. When they threaten your safety through their behaviour, you turn to them, the abuser, for help and protection through the bond that has been created. You then rationalise their behaviour, believing they care about you, releasing more Oxytocin and creating further bonding; this is the reason you are  so connected to them and so when it finishes, you have a really hard time imagining life without them.

This Pain is very REAL!

Cruel and twisted isn’t it… 

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

A-Z of Emotional Abuse

by Elizabeth Goddard
tcareob72/Getty Images
Community//

A Trauma Specialist Explains the Danger of Separating Families

by Robert Cox, LPC
Community//

Loving a narcissist is like Stockholm Syndrome

by Vivian McGrath

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.