When someone goes through a traumatic event, it can change their outlook on life forever. It can alter our perspectives, emotions, and actions, and even make it harder to connect with others. Trauma bonds are a special kind of relationship that can develop after traumatic experiences.
A trauma bond is a deep and intricate connection between survivors of the same or similar trauma. Despite the unhealthy and abusive nature of the relationship, it is characterized by feelings of intense loyalty, dependency, and even love. This connection is not always easy to sever, and it can keep people stuck in unhealthy relationships.
Although trauma bonds are most commonly associated with survivors of childhood abuse or other forms of trauma, they can also form in the aftermath of other traumatic events, such as military conflict, natural disasters, or accidents. Actually, trauma bonds can form in relationships that are not inherently abusive but are marked by a shared experience of trauma.
Trauma bonds are effective because they fulfill a basic human need for love and belonging. Hormones like cortisol and adrenaline are released into the brain after a traumatic experience and contribute to feelings of fear, helplessness, and isolation. As a result, our brains produce oxytocin, a hormone that encourages closeness and trust in interpersonal relationships.
When we feel safe and secure in the company of our significant other, our feelings of connectedness to them deepen. However, this same influx of oxytocin can create a powerful attachment that is hard to break in a traumatic relationship.
There are many potential causes for a trauma bond to form. A person’s susceptibility to developing a trauma bond may increase, for instance, if they have a history of trauma. Low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression are all conditions that have been linked to an increased risk of developing unhealthy attachments to others.
Understanding the dynamics at play in a trauma bond is crucial for breaking it. To do this, you should consult a therapist or other mental health professional who can assist you in recognizing the thought and behavior patterns that are fueling the relationship. Thereafter, you’ll be better equipped to learn how to deal with stressful situations and form healthy attachment habits, both of which will aid in escaping the toxic environment of the relationship.
Although overcoming trauma bonds can be challenging and painful, it is possible with help. You can start recovering from the trauma and making progress toward a healthy, positive future by engaging with a therapist and establishing a solid support system.