- You feel the trauma in your body, your physiology, like an addiction holding you in a stuck state of pain and avoidance and hope
- You continue to tell yourself; if you stand your ground, hold boundaries, you will get the abuser to modify their behavior towards you permanently
- You tell yourself if you can just learn enough about the various abuses and tactics they are using, you will be able to stop it and overcome how abuse makes you feel, and you won’t let it get to you anymore and then it will all be ok
- You feel trapped or stuck in a relationship where it’s all about you being overpowered, yet you find you keep trying to make the best of it, so you won’t have to go out on your own
- You power through the abuse and focus on the “good” in the narcissistic abuser and “the promise” — the breadcrumbs they keep giving you about how it will be better in the future and how you belong together
- You are allowing sex to continue in the relationship, which is further depleting, demeaning and damaging your self-worth because of the lack of respect you are receiving
- You know you should leave but you feel you will not be ok on your own
- When you do get away you feel empty, lonely and lost. You make excuses, remembering something that was good in the situation. You feel as though you must get the situation back and make it better this time.
- You are suffering
- The chaos is so intense that there is not enough time between the episodes for you to gain the clarity you need to form an escape plan that is feasible. You hate this feeling, but you can’t break it.
- The abuser constantly lets you down, but you pretend to believe their promises so that you will not have to go out on your own and be completely responsible for taking care of you in the multitude of ways that are necessary
- You had various types of abuse in your upbringing
- Fear has become confused as excitement and you are developing an addiction to the “excitement in the abuse cycle – the unknown/fear, the outburst/episode, the honeymoon after the episode, the recovery/numbness, then back to the beginning – feeling uneasy/fear/the unknown/walking on eggshells on through the cycle again
- You find yourself making excuses or taking some of the blame for the abuse that is happening
- Deep down you have lost all respect for the abuser and when you get truthful with yourself you don’t even like the abuser and may even hate them, but you don’t leave and then you beat yourself up for not leaving wondering what’s wrong with you
- You are guilting yourself, not liking yourself, and shaming yourself because you don’t leave
- You are becoming isolated and the only comfort you get is the tiny little crumbs of comfort you can get from your abuser after an episode and you hang on to this momentary comfort with all you’ve got, falling deeply in to “the promise” and the trauma bond
- You have put all your eggs into the abusive relationship basket, and you don’t have bonds and ties that are separate from your abuser: your own family or your own friends who are like family. If you did have these bonds, you have let them dwindle or become damaged because of this relationship
- The abuser is telling you, “We have been through so much together, we can’t give up now” and you are bonding to this struggle as if you have some responsibility in getting abused and it is the ultimate achievement to fix it all, when it can never be fixed
- The shame and guilt are causing you to squeeze in tighter, hold on harder, thinking if it all can just be fixed, it will get better
If you are feeling stuck in ambivalence about a toxic, abusive relationship and you are stuck about why you still feel you need to stay connected to it, reach out to Yvette The Coach and schedule your appointment here.
Traumatic Bonds Can Be Difficult to Break
Narcissistic abusers can be quite charming, witty, sexy, and generous. All of these traits add an extra twist to traumatic bonding so no need to beat yourself up with shame and telling yourself you should know better. Narcissists are master manipulators and it is highly likely you are not! So, you have permission right here to give yourself a break. Narcissists don’t like you, so they don’t care what kind of trauma they are putting you through. As long as they maintain all the power, that’s what matters to them. They need you low and weak so they can control. When the feed you that little bread crumb of hope and offer some nicety, the victim hangs on to that for all they’ve got in their desperation for some peace and calm. At that point victims will take anything they can get, and this is where the connecting piece strengthens between feeling so bad from the abuse and then feeling so good during the relief, so the connecting point between the two strengthens, hence the bond. The bond is the poverty between the two, holding the two together, and poverty is a powerful force.
The Amygdala and Flight or Fight
You are in flight or fight mode constantly when having to deal with a narcissistic emotional abuser. This flight or fight part of your brain, the amygdala, shuts all senses down and fights back or runs, and keeps getting stronger and more prevalent in your being the longer you are in toxic, chaotic, abusive relationships. The stronger this part of the brain becomes, the more addicted to the relationship, person or the thinking/ruminating about your escape you can become. Your thoughts become more and more poisoned. You are weakened and begin to believe there is no way out so round and round you go in the cycle of abuse.
There is hope though. Breaking through the amygdala’s repetitive nature is not impossible. Like breaking through addiction, many have accomplished jumping over the hurdle.
5 Ways to Begin Breaking Traumatic Bonding
- Get the focus off of the abuser and on to you
- Get real about what you really want
- Find a self-help practice that you do every day — like practicing a musical instrument or practicing a sport — we must have a wellness practice like The Prosperity Pinnacle Practice
- Seek support and guidance in creating your daily practice from Yvette The Coach, an expert in narcissism who completely gets what you are experiencing
- Read “healing from trauma” books