What are the symptoms of trauma bond withdrawal?

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trauma bond withdrawal symptoms


The concept of trauma bonding and its profound impact on individuals in various relationships. Trauma bonding occurs when someone becomes emotionally attached to a person who alternates between hurting them and being kind to them. This pattern often occurs in abusive romantic relationships but can also be observed in other contexts such as child abuse, hostage situations, and cult dynamics.

We’ve explored the stages of trauma bonding, starting with the initial charm phase where the abuser makes the victim feel special, followed by cycles of abuse, guilt, excuses, and fantasy. Understanding these stages is essential for recognizing and breaking free from trauma bonds. By acknowledging the signs and seeking support, individuals can begin the journey toward healing and regaining control of their lives.

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What Does Trauma Bonding Mean?

Trauma bonding happens when you get attached to someone because of a pattern: first, there are hurt feelings or bad things happening, like being treated badly or feeling upset. Then, something good happens, like the person being nice to you.

Trauma bonds usually happen a lot in romantic relationships. And when you try to leave these relationships, it’s tough. It’s hard to deal with your feelings, especially when the person who hurt you starts being nice again.

Trauma Bond Withdrawal Symptoms

Here are some things you might feel when you’re getting over a tough relationship

  • Strong Urges You might want to get back with your ex, even if you know it’s not good for you. You might even want to keep fighting with them or have sex with them.
  • Feeling Down You could feel really sad, anxious, or hopeless because of the breakup. It’s normal to feel this way, especially after a bad relationship.
  • Not Feeling Good About Yourself When a relationship ends, it can make you feel bad about yourself. This feeling can be even worse if you are treated badly in the relationship. But with the help of a therapist, you can start feeling better about yourself and learn how to avoid bad relationships in the future.
  • Feeling Confused You might be unsure about your feelings. It’s hard to understand why you still care about someone who treated you badly.

Sometimes, your body reacts to the stress of a breakup. You might get headaches, lose your appetite, or have trouble sleeping. You might want to be by yourself for a while. You could feel embarrassed about what happened or worry about what others will think.

Real-Life Examples of Trauma Bonds

Here are some real-life examples that show how trauma bonding works

  • Abusive Relationships Sometimes, even when someone knows their partner is hurting them, they still feel deeply attached to them.
  • Child Abuse Children whom their caregivers mistreat might grow up feeling tied to them emotionally, which makes it hard for them to leave or break free.
  • Hostages and Their Captors People who are taken hostage might develop a bond with their captors to survive, even if they don’t like them.
  • Cults People in cults often feel strongly connected to their leaders, even though the leader may be harming them.

Understanding how trauma bonds work is important for healing. It helps people realize why they feel attached to those who hurt them and why breaking free from those connections is important. At BrightPoint, MD, we help people break these ties and feel mentally well again.

7 Stages Of Trauma Bonding?

Understanding how trauma bonds work can be hard because they happen in stages. Here’s a simple model to help you see how it goes:

  • Charm Stage At the beginning, the abuser is nice to their partner, making them feel special and loved. This creates a strong bond between them.
  • Abuse Stage After a while, the abuser starts being mean or hurtful. This can be confusing for the victim, but they might still want to stay in the relationship.
  • Guilt Stage After hurting their partner, the abuser might try to make themselves feel better by blaming the victim or making them feel guilty.
  • Excuse Stage Both the abuser and the victim might try to justify the bad behavior, thinking it’s somehow their fault, which keeps them tied together emotionally.
  • Reset Stage Things might calm down for a while, and the victim might start feeling close to the abuser again.
  • Fantasy Stage The victim might start believing that things are getting better and that the relationship is normal and healthy now.
  • Repetition Stage But then, the abuser might go back to being hurtful, starting the whole cycle over again, making the trauma bond even stronger.


In conclusion, trauma bonding is a complex psychological phenomenon that affects individuals in various relationships, from romantic partners to hostage situations and cult dynamics. Understanding the stages of trauma bonding, from the initial charm to the repetitive cycle of abuse, guilt, and fantasy, is crucial for those seeking to break free from harmful connections. By recognizing the signs and seeking support, individuals can embark on a journey toward healing and reclaiming their mental well-being. At BrightPoint MD, we are committed to helping individuals break free from trauma bonds and regain control of their lives. Remember, you are not alone, and there is hope for a brighter future beyond the cycle of abuse.


Q1. How long does the trauma bond last?

A1. An individual’s willingness to heal, as well as the severity of the abuse, determines how long it takes for a trauma bond to break. Trauma bonding can negatively affect a person’s mental health and well-being for many years.

Q2. Why is it so hard to leave a trauma bond?

A2. In trauma bonds, this tendency is exaggerated. You want to protect the abuser rather than yourself. They are often preyed upon and attracted to narcissists and abusers. It is easy for you to make excuses for the abuser or hide or lie about it.

Q3. What are the stages of breaking a trauma bond?

A3. There are 7 stages of trauma bonding, including gaslighting, love bombing, emotional addiction, criticism, loss of self, trust, dependency, and resigning to control.

Q4. How do trauma bonds end?

A4. There is no easy way to break a trauma bond alone, and support is crucial. Unbiased support refers to someone outside the situation who isn’t part of your life or invested in your choices. A support group, or an online forum with other women going through something similar, might be a good place to start.

Q5. What happens when a trauma bond ends?

A5. Trauma bond withdrawal symptoms can include cravings for the person or the way you felt after making up with them, anxiety, feelings of panic, and flashbacks to the relationship. These symptoms can make you question your decision to leave or cut off contact, but they will lessen with time.

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