If someone were to tell you that you wouldn’t be able to leave your abusive partner, you wouldn’t trust their words. You’d tell them they were talking nonsense and immediately ignore them.
Who would decide to stay in a toxic relationship that’s not doing you any good? It’s unreasonable and makes no sense, right?
But once you find yourself in the shackles of a ‘trauma bond’ relationship, only then can you realize that this is a possibility. Staying with an abusive partner happens, especially when you’ve been given glimpses of hope that things will improve for the better.
Trauma bonding happens as a result of a cycle of abuse that keeps repeating itself. You have those moments when you feel like you’re sinking but then all of a sudden, your partner apologizes for his actions and seems to change.
Your relationship can easily be described as a mixture of hot and cold. One moment, you’re down on your knees, experiencing the toxicity of a person. The next, you’re treated with respect and kindness and showered with love and gifts.
As these experiences repeat over and over again, you and your partner begin trauma bonding. You decide to stay with him, as at some point, you don’t think that you can do any better.
A ‘trauma bond’ relationship consists of both good and bad parts. It makes you feel ecstatic and broken all at the same time.
Once the abuse starts, you realize that your partner isn’t good for you. No matter whether we’re talking about emotional or physical abuse, you clearly start to think that this isn’t what love is supposed to look like.
But then, your partner decides to change. At least that’s what he says to you. He gives you a glimmer of hope and makes you think that he actually loves you.
At these times, he treats you with kindness and acts like he’s a different person. There’s no more name-calling, insulting or, God forbid, physical violence. It truly starts to feel like he’s not going back to his old behavior.
He even makes a promise that he’ll change, he apologizes for how he treated you and gives a logical explanation for his behavior. So, you give him a chance and fall for his words because you believe him.
After that, your abusive partner goes back to his old self and shows you his true colors once again. But even though you know that he’ll never be able to change completely, you still make a choice to stay with him.
Why? Because you’ve reached the point of a traumatic bond.
Deep down, you’re aware that he’s probably not good for you. You know that he’ll never make you happy the way you deserve.
But then again, there are those moments when he treats you with great care. He repeats how much he loves you and he actually makes you feel like the happiest woman in the world.
For the sake of those good moments, you decide to stay with him. You make the decision to stay with your abusive partner due to the trauma bond that you’ve established with him.
Whenever he treats you well, you do your best to forget about his outbursts of anger. You ignore all of the abuse he’s inflicted and simply enjoy his good side. And when the abuse repeats, you simply feed off of those great memories you share and wait for a time when he’ll be like that once again.
A ‘trauma bond’ relationship is exhausting for both the body and the soul. You’re aware that your partner will never be able to change but you simply can’t escape the cycle.
Even though you feel unhappy in the relationship, you still don’t know of a way out. You don’t know how to save yourself from everything you’re going through.
When you let him know that you must leave him, he swears to you that he’ll change and then gives you a few days, weeks, or months of peace.
But eventually, everything goes back to normal and you find yourself going through the same issues once again.
You decide to live in denial that he’s a good guy who’s dealing with too many things at one time. You convince yourself that he loves you but doesn’t know how to express those feelings the right way.
Excuses, apologies, and explanations become a normal part of every day. You accept them even though you know they’re lies. You know they’re only attempts to prevent you from walking away.
If you’re familiar with any of the aforementioned scenarios then there’s a good chance that you’re stuck in a ‘trauma bond’ relationship. You feel powerless to leave your abusive partner even though you’re aware that you don’t deserve to be treated this way.
But don’t lose hope as you can always leave someone who’s not making you happy. There’s a way out of this mess, even if you feel like you’re never going to make it.
Start by writing all of the good and bad sides of your current relationship. If the bad outweighs the good, then the time has come for you to reconsider your choices.
Also, ask yourself what you would suggest to your best friend if she was in the same situation as you currently are. Would you tell her to stay with her abusive partner or would you encourage her to leave?
In this case, you need to encourage yourself as well. You need to be your own biggest fan and remind yourself of the value you carry within.
If you can’t leave a ‘trauma bond’ relationship on your own, you can always seek professional help. With their support, you’ll finally realize that you deserve more than to be in a relationship with an abuser who doesn’t appreciate you in the slightest.
Once you escape this vicious cycle, your whole life is going to change for the better. And that’s when you’ll realize that you should’ve escaped way earlier.
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