Ignore Their Calls the Way You Ignored the Red Flags
A few years back my best friend had came in to work with a new tattoo of a lotus flower. To give a little back story of my best friend, she had been in a relationship with her childhood love since she was 16. It seemed like a blissful relationship until it wasn’t. For years I had seen my best friend lose a piece of herself on each one of her birthdays. One day, on her 25th birthday she decided to take her life back before she ended up giving a temporary problem a permanent solution.
“I know I love him, Trauma Bond: an unhealthy and I know he loves connection between an abuser me. I know his heart and an abused person. is good, but I can’t wait until one day he realizes that he is hurting me and it’s killing the small part of myself that I still have.”
How to Avoid Being in a Trauma Bond
It can be hard to recognize signs that we may be in a trauma bond. Oftentimes trauma bonds disguise themselves as a deep connection stimulated by heightened emotions. These emotions are disguised as “Chemistry” or a “Spark.” This spark is often a way our nervous system is warning us of danger or a pre-exposed threat/ trauma. One of the most effective ways to begin your healing journey from a trauma bond is by acknowledging that you are, or were in a trauma bond, and with the right tools you can heal from this torturous cycle and recognize the warning signs in the future. Remember Maya Angalou once said, “Do the best you can until you know better, then when you know better, do better.”
Signs you Are in a Trauma Bond:
- They gas light you in to believing you are the problem
- You find yourself covering up for their mistakes
- You feel unseen by your partner
- You remain loyal even when your feelings and emotions are invalidated
- Your partner intentionally harms you through patterns of threats
- You feel both excitement and dread when speaking to them
- They seem like a mystery even after getting to know them
- You are walking on eggshells with them
- You are constantly looking for ways to please them
- Their first touch felt like butterflies and discomfort
Healing From a Trauma Bond
Trauma bonding at its core is having the need for a relationship to keep going. It can mimic an addiction to the abuser. It can be hard to distinguish between trauma bonding and love because we often believe love is attachment, but in reality, love is not attachment and rather attachment can become a result of healthy love. Trauma bonding can be a result from unhealed trauma from childhood or even adulthood. It can be the result of a pairing of unhealthy attachment styles. The most common we see are anxious attachment styles paired with dismissive attachment styles. Healing is a process that requires patience, one must dig deep into their past and remember a time they were walking on eggshells to please people or witnessed a loved one doing that. It is best to begin by also speaking to a professional who can provide trauma informed care.
What Healthy Love Looks Like:
- Physical and emotional safety
- Mutual respect
- Accountability and responsibility for one’s actions
- Healthy boundaries
- Communicative and problem solving skills
Tips on Recovering from a Trauma Bond:
- Begin journaling your immediate feelings and thoughts
- Create new memories with people who love you back
- Do all the things you once put on delay
- Be mindful and focus on right now
- Follow educational social media accounts
- Take a step back and create space
- Find support
- Practice good self care (exercise, eating well, restorative sleep)
- Make future plans and goals
Going back to the story of my best friend who had given years to her ex-partner who only manipulated her into believing she was not good enough for love. She believed every lie about how his phone lost signals every other Saturday night, she believed him when he said she could never love another girl the way he loves her, but it took many breakdowns to realize that love should not shock the nervous system. Her healing journey made her realize that just like the lotus flower which grows from the murky mud, she too will grow from this experience. No years are wasted when there is a lesson waiting to be learned.
Van der Watt, A. S. J., et al. “Functional Neuroimaging of Adult-to-Adult Romantic Attachment Separation, Rejection, and Loss: A Systematic Review – Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings.” SpringerLink, Springer US, 3 Jan. 2021, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10880-020-09757-x.
Zoppi, Lois. “What Is Trauma Bonding?” Edited by Jacquelyn Johnson, Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 26 Nov. 2020, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/trauma-bonding.
“Healthy Relationships.” The Hotline, National Domestic Violence Hotline, https://www.thehotline.org/resources/healthy-relationships/.