What Is Trauma Bonding?

“Trauma Bonding” is a deep dive word for many. I’ll never forget the day my “shrink” told me the word. It was the word that had described my relationships with narcissists for years. I would describe it like this. I’m a fish swimming in the ocean and I see something that looks good and sparkly and I swim towards it and the closer I get the better it looks and I think I’ll get close enough to check it out and suddenly I’m hooked and caught. Then as I’m fighting to keep my boundary, which is the water, I get tired and give up the fight. About the time I think this is my new environment, I’m accepting that I’m a fish out of water and even though it’s not comfortable and I’m likely to die in this environment, at least I’m alive and I’m here, so I’ll settle with it. Then suddenly out of nowhere, I’m thrown way out in the ocean to only repeat the same exact cycle.

Why would anybody go right back to the same place that they are going to get hooked, caught, and abused? Trauma bonding! It’s loyalty to a person that is toxic/destructive.

Here are the stages of trauma bonding:

  • Love Bombing ~ this is the shiny hook we see, the excess love, flattery, and appreciation so that you will next trust the narcissist.
  • Trust/Dependency ~ excessive love builds trust and dependency. Now we are swimming towards the shiny thing that we trust.
  • Criticism ~ the criticism is the hook going in. “This fish is so dumb.”We are getting criticized. And the demand is stronger.
  • Gaslighting ~ this is our fault for swimming towards something that looks shiny. It’s our fault that we got caught but we were manipulated and doubt our perceptions.
  • Resigning Control ~ we are not sure if we are in the water or out of the water. We are fighting while still on the hook. Our boundary is to stay in the water. We finally give in and resign our control.
  • Loss of Self ~ now we’ve settled for our environment. We will settle for anything to just keep the peace.
  • Addiction ~ We are thrown back out to sea but we can’t forget the high, the addiction of the shiny hook. The cortisol high and dopamine create the same addiction as a heroin addict.

If any part of this resonates with you, I’ll tell you as I was told, look it up. The more you research, open your eyes and ears, and are open to possibilities, the more likely you’ll be able to see things as factual. Facts can help bring awareness of repeated patterns. Hope this helped someone today. ❤️

Published by Dana

Creative writer about my life and life lessons. Survivor of abandonment, addiction, narcissist relationships, and trauma. Still dealing while I'm healing. Thank you Jesus!

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