So what is trauma bonding? The textbook definition of traumatic bonding, is understood as the result of ongoing series of abuse in which the sporadic reinforcement of reward, and punishment creates strong emotional bonds. This kind of bonding is resistant to change. Sound familiar? Ironically, if a person is parented in this kind of unsafe home, it makes later unsafe situations more appealing. This statement has an organic underpinning beyond any cognitive learning. It is trauma in one’s past that actually draws a person to the same kind of trauma bonding. With the help of therapy and my own personal research, I began to understand my childhood and early relationships directly affect my reactions to trauma. The result of trauma caused me to “NUMB OUT” when it came to intimacy. I responded positively to my abusive narcissist because it made me FEEL SOMETHING. It is neither rational nor irrational. I just felt connected, alive, seen, and understood in the company of my withholding and punitive narcissist. So after the initial “love-bombing,” the erratic, withholding, punitive and mean spirited exchanges became a familiar normal. In this chaos, I worked very hard for even the smallest positive return. It was those very small returns that kept me hooked. I deserve more…so do you!
If survivors can come to understand that part of the attraction is, while very unwanted, a natural process, they may be able to better manage those feelings, and control their situation. Think about your relationship in terms of the “trauma bonding” model. After the initial love bombing were you subject to this kind of sporadic reinforcement of reward, and punishment. As time went on was there far more punishment than reward? Were you working overtime for the reward? Were you emotionally numbed out? Ask yourself were the extremes of your narcissistic relationship “love” or were you just experiencing the “FEELING SOMETHING” as result of the wicked treatment? Love should not hurt!!