The idea of bonding is usually associated with positivity
but there is also a bond that is considered unhealthy and it is called trauma
bonding. According to Stines (2015), trauma bonding is being loyal to someone
who is destructive. However, Cones (1997) is saying that the cause of trauma
bonding is by cycles of abuse. Examples of this type of bond are those with
addictive habits, alcoholics or in domestic violence (Stines,2015). Morever,
Stines (2015) explains that trauma bonds arise when there is unstable
reinforcement in relationships. A promise, according to Stines (2015) is what
makes the victims stay in unhealthy environments. Because of that promise,
victims gain hope. Thus, manipulation takes place and the victim becomes prey.
Apart from unhealthy environments, other situations that involve trauma bonding
are kidnapping, hostage situations and child abuse or incest.
According to Dodgson (2017), when you’re looking for a
partner, an abusive person can pretend to be someone you’re looking for and
will give you plenty of affection in order to win your heart. Dodgson (2017)
further explains that the victims tend to believe that the abuser is being his
real self and when the abuser shows his true colors, the victims would blame
themselves for making their partner act like that. The same patterns that is
followed by an abusive relationship are idealization, devaluation, and
discarding that is believed to be narcissistic (Dodgson, 2017). A day will come
when the abuser would not be able to get benefit from the victim because the
victim would become so broken already.
The victims will finally see the damage that has been done
when the abuser is gone. They will accept that they have been abused. At this
point, they will grieve but they will also realize that it wasn’t their fault.
Once they become aware of the mindset of the abuser, the victims will have a
choice of freedom that is within their hands (What Abusers Hope We Never Learn
About Traumatic Bonding, 2018). After being released from an unhealthy attachment,
a person will perceive the harm that it caused. After this, the person will
break the trauma bond and will stay away from toxic relationships to prevent it
from happening again (Stines, 2015)