It might be tempting to disregard any red flags that may develop at the start of a new relationship since you sense an instant spark or quick connection. Due to the passion and intensity of the newly formed relationship, we often overlook these warning signs. If you’re not self-aware, “true love” might actually turn out to be a trauma connection.
It can be tough to tell the difference between real love and trauma bonding if you have suffered from mental health issues or have experienced trauma as a child. It takes time and effort to cultivate a strong, meaningful relationship, and it does not happen immediately.
Understanding trauma bonding will assist you in making meaningful connections and recognizing what it means to be in a healthy relationship. Identifying the warning signs will help you navigate a toxic relationship.
What is trauma bonding, and how does it work?
Trauma bonding is a psychological reaction to abuse that happens when the victim forms an unhealthy relationship with their abuser. The victim of abuse will come to feel pity or fondness for their tormentor. This link can form fast or gradually, but it’s crucial to keep in mind that not everyone who has been abused will form a trauma bond.
When we are threatened, we are hard-wired to resort to an attachment figure (a caretaker) from birth. Even if they are the ones abusing us, we would instinctively seek solace from our romantic relationships. As a result, we form a bond in which we justify or make sense of the abuser’s acts. As a result, the tie becomes stronger, making it more difficult to escape the poisonous relationship.
Your significant other should give value to your life and have a positive impact on it – not make you feel sad and worthless. You should never be afraid for your safety or feel insignificant and dejected. You may have disagreements from time to time, which is quite natural. But when negative interactions with your spouse outweigh the good moments you have together, it’s time to think about whether this is the right relationship for you.
Despite your partner’s promises of change and efforts to persuade you differently, they will continue to abuse you, establishing a vicious cycle. It’s time to move on from a trauma-bonding relationship and find true love.
Here are some indicators that you could be in a trauma-bonded relationship:
1. You’ve turned into the worst critic of yourself
Consider the cause of your sudden negativity if you’re always talking down to yourself. You’ve developed a lot of negative self-talk and are always doubting your worth to your lover.
You should be the only one who has the authority to affirm your own self-worth. If you have a tendency of needing approval to feel love, you can end up in a relationship with a narcissist who will take advantage of your emotional vulnerabilities.
2. You believe you can influence them.
Consider this your wake-up call if the success of your relationship is built on your ambition to make them a “better person.” You make the mistake of believing that love and support can transform your relationship. You have the impression that your love will save them and that they will finally realize and esteem you.
A sensitive individual who is oblivious of their own previous traumas draws narcissists like a bee to honey. You can find yourself in a relationship with a covert narcissist who appears to be a fairytale-like lover at first but then turns out to be the devil in disguise. Recognize your own emotional vulnerabilities to better understand why you’re drawn to certain poisonous behaviors in others. It’s the only way to figure out how to end the cycle.
3. You keep up appearances for them
You’re working extra hours merely to keep your partner’s name clean. To maintain your partner’s favorable image, you may find yourself minimizing or even rejecting their abusive behavior.
4. You’ll go to any length to avoid a fight in your relationship
How much of yourself are you willing to give up in order to keep the other person happy? You find conflict in your relationship to be extremely stressful, and you do everything you can to avoid it. To end the disagreement, you give in to your partner’s wants and repress your own needs.
5. You lack self-assurance
This warning sign is all about realizing how comfortable and insecure you’ve gotten in the relationship, to the point where you’re taking everything that comes your way with no resistance. When your spouse dismisses you or calls you names and you do not defend yourself, you are in a toxic relationship.
6. It appears that you are to blame for everything
The blame game is in full swing, and you appear to be the only one taking part. You feel as though the sky is collapsing when your lover becomes upset. You immediately blame yourself, telling yourself that it is your fault and that you must have done something wrong to cause the problem.
7. You’re on a rollercoaster but without the thrills
The relationship has its highs and lows, but you feel worse about yourself with time, rather than accomplishing things in life or evolving as a person.
8. You’re experiencing all of the emotions – all of the time
Have you been feeling too emotional lately? You may discover that you’re constantly flooded with emotions and don’t take the time to reflect on your relationship and think about the reasons you’ve been feeling this way.
9. Everything is going at a breakneck pace
The knuckleheads rush in. You’ll notice that things in the relationship move quickly, and you’ll find yourself falling head over heels straight immediately – plunging in without giving it much consideration.
10. You’re completely enthralled with the other person
Sure, a magnetic attraction can feel great — but if the attraction is so strong and breathtaking that you feel overwhelmed by it, you might want to reconsider.
Now, what to do if you have found yourself in a trauma bonding situation? There are a lot of different ways and solutions for treating it, such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), but, according to some experts, CBT therapy doesn’t always work for trauma.
In any case, seeking professional help would be a wise choice. A counselor will help you see the truth about your relationship and move past it before it destroys you.