You are trauma-bonded if you exhibit these 10 signs

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10 signs of trauma bonding


In this blog, we’ve learned about trauma bonding, which occurs in abusive relationships where cycles of mistreatment are interspersed with moments of kindness, leading to a confusing mix of love and pain. We identified signs of trauma bonding, such as excusing bad behavior, difficulty leaving, and feeling trapped, and explored ways to break free from these bonds, including seeking support, setting boundaries, and practicing self-care. By recognizing the trauma, educating oneself, and seeking help, individuals can embark on a journey of healing and empowerment, gradually reclaiming their autonomy and building a brighter future free from the grip of abuse.

We’ll discuss these topics in this blog:

What Is Trauma Bonding?

Trauma bonding happens when abusive relationships get stuck in a cycle of abuse. It starts with bad behavior, then there’s a brief period of kindness, and the cycle repeats. It can happen over weeks, months, or years, but not everyone in an abusive situation forms this bond. It’s confusing because the abuse is mixed with love and care, and you might start feeling sorry for the abuser. This doesn’t just happen in domestic abuse—it can also happen in child abuse, incest, elder abuse, exploitative work situations, kidnapping, human trafficking, and in strict religious environments.

Certain things make it more likely for someone to get stuck in a trauma bond. These include being poor, having mental health problems, and not having people to support them. Having a job, a safe home, mental health support, and friends or family can help boost self-esteem and reduce the risk.

10 signs of trauma bonding

01. Confusing Love and Pain

Being with a narcissist feels intense, but it’s not healthy intimacy. They switch between being nice and being mean, which makes it hard to know what’s real.

02. Excusing Bad Behavior

People in trauma bonds often make excuses for their partner’s abuse. They might blame stress or their actions for the mistreatment, even though abuse is never okay.

03. Trouble Leaving

Even when they know the relationship is bad, they feel stuck. They’re emotionally tied to their partner and hope things will get better, even though it’s hard to leave.

04. Cycle of Love and Hurt

The relationship swings between feeling great and feeling awful. The abuser showers them with love one minute and then treats them badly the next. This cycle keeps them hooked.

05. Cut Off from Support

The narcissist isolates them from friends and family, making it harder to leave. They might criticize their loved ones or take up all their time so they have nobody else to turn to.

06. Fear of Being Alone

They’re terrified of being abandoned, so they put up with the abuse. The abuser plays on this fear to control them.

07. Feeling Trapped

They feel like they can’t escape, even though they know the relationship is toxic. Their self-esteem suffers, and they lose sight of their worth.

08. Protecting the Abuser

They defend their partner from others, even when they know they’re in the wrong. It’s a way of coping with the trauma bond.

09. Withdrawal Symptoms

When they’re away from their partner, they feel anxious and restless, like they’re going through withdrawal from a drug.

10. Ignoring Their Own Needs

They put their partner’s needs ahead of their own, even if it’s hurting them. They neglect their health, emotions, and goals to keep their partner happy.

A Guide To Breaking Traumatic Bonds

Breaking traumatic bonds is a challenging and deeply personal journey. Traumatic bonds, also known as trauma bonds, are emotional connections that form between a person and their abuser, often resulting from cycles of abuse, manipulation, and dependency. These bonds can be incredibly strong and can persist long after the abusive relationship has ended. Here’s a guide to breaking free from traumatic bonds:

Recognize the Trauma

Acknowledge that you have experienced trauma and understand its impact on your life. This recognition is the first step towards healing.

Seek Support

You don’t have to go through this alone. Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or a therapist who can provide support, guidance, and understanding.

Educate Yourself

Learn about trauma bonds and the dynamics of abusive relationships. Understanding why and how these bonds form can empower you to break free from them.

Set Boundaries

Establish clear boundaries with your abuser, and if possible, cut off contact completely. This might be difficult, but it’s essential for your well-being.

Practice Self-Care

Prioritize self-care activities that nurture your physical, emotional, and mental health. This could include exercise, meditation, creative outlets, or spending time in nature.

Challenge Negative Thoughts

Trauma can distort your perception of yourself and the world around you. Challenge negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself that may have been instilled by your abuser.

Process Your Feelings

Allow yourself to feel and express the full range of emotions that come with breaking free from a traumatic bond. Journaling, art therapy, or talking to a therapist can help in this process.

Develop a Support Network

Surround yourself with supportive and understanding people who validate your experiences and encourage your healing journey.

Create New Rituals

Replace old, harmful rituals or habits with new ones that promote healing and growth. This could be as simple as starting a daily gratitude practice or setting aside time for self-reflection.

Seek Professional Help

Consider therapy or counseling to work through the trauma and its effects on your life. A qualified therapist can provide you with tools and techniques to cope with your experiences and move forward.

Stay Patient and Persistent

Healing from traumatic bonds takes time and effort. Be patient with yourself and celebrate small victories along the way. Remember that progress is not always linear, and setbacks are a natural part of the healing process.

Breaking free from traumatic bonds is a courageous and empowering journey toward reclaiming your autonomy and rebuilding your life on your terms. Remember that you are not defined by your past experiences, and healing is possible with time, support, and self-compassion.


Breaking free from traumatic bonds is hard but it helps you become strong and take back control of your life after experiencing abuse. First, you need to understand what happened to you and how it affected you. Then, it’s important to talk to people you trust and learn about abusive relationships. Setting clear rules with your abuser and taking care of yourself are important steps too.

You can also try changing your negative thoughts and feelings by writing them down or talking to someone. Surrounding yourself with supportive friends and family, and creating new habits can also help you heal.

Healing takes time, and it’s okay to ask for help from a therapist or counselor. Be patient with yourself and celebrate every small step you take towards feeling better. You have the power to overcome your past and build a better future for yourself.


Q1. How can I break free from a trauma bond?

A1. Breaking a trauma bond involves prioritizing healthy relationships and self-care. Engage in activities you enjoy, spend time with supportive friends and family, and seek professional help if needed to rebuild your self-esteem and sense of worth.

Q2. Can a trauma bond evolve into genuine love?

A2. While individuals in a trauma bond may mistake their intense emotional connection for love, it’s important to recognize that true love is built on mutual respect and care, not cycles of abuse. Despite the desire for it to be love, a trauma bond does not transform into a healthy relationship.

Q3. What initiates a trauma bond?

A3. A trauma bond forms between an abuser and the person they abuse when the victim begins to develop feelings of attachment or sympathy toward the abuser. This bond can develop gradually over time, as the abusive dynamics unfold, but not everyone who experiences abuse will develop a trauma bond.

Q4. How do trauma bonds differ from genuine love?

A4. Trauma bonds and genuine love are distinguishable because the former involves cycles of abuse or trauma, whereas love is characterized by mutual respect, trust, and care. While a trauma bond may mimic feelings of love, it lacks the healthy foundation of a genuine, respectful relationship.

Q5. What occurs when breaking a trauma bond?

A5. Breaking a trauma bond can trigger intense withdrawal symptoms, flashbacks, cravings for the abusive person, and persistent thoughts about the traumatic experiences. It may feel like a challenging process with setbacks, but with support and determination, healing is possible.

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