When in a romantic relationship, you are establishing an emotional bond to your partner. However, trauma bonds are a different type of bond present in abusive relationships and most often with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

Trauma Bonds and NPDNarcissistic trauma bonds are created in the early stages of the fantasy of these types of relationships and can cause you to doubt your sanity. Trauma Bonds begin with being showered with what seems like a never-ending love and approval. However, negative feelings begin to erode the relationship.
You are told that everything that is going wrong is your fault and you begin to believe it. You can become addicted to this deplete and reward cycle and feel as though you are addicted to this person. If you try to leave you will be hoovered where they change their tactics to suck you back in. You might believe them and hope to see a glimpse of the person they were in the beginning. Even if you recognize this emotional abuse, you will not be able to leave because you will wait for the breadcrumbs of love and the cycle will repeat.

The seven phases of trauma bonds are:
Phase 1: Love Bombing: You are the focus of attention, praise and love. You will feel adored and validated. Phase 2: Dependency: You depend on them for love and will do what is required to get it. You are being groomed.
Phase 3: Criticism: The amount of love you receive is reduced and the criticism, conflict and abuse increases. You are being devalued and controlled.
Phase 4: Gaslighting: They present an altered reality and cause you to doubt your own thoughts. Their perspective is the only one allowed.
Phase 5: Resignation: You cannot fix things, so you give into their demands in order to keep the peace with hopes to return to the love bombing phase.
Phase 6: Loss of Self: You lack self-esteem and ache for peace in your life. You feel hopeless. If you stand up to them, you will be subject to further abuse and manipulation.
Phase 7: Addiction: You know this is unhealthy, but you cannot leave because you believe you cannot live without them. You are trauma bonded. They might devalue you and discard you at this stage as well and seek new supply.

It is very difficult to leave this type of abusive relationship but you can heal from trauma bond. Most people need professional support from a therapist with perspective about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, emotional abuse and trauma.

If you have a question you would like to ask or a topic to be addressed in next month’s article, please email jenn@pinkertonpsychotherapy.com. If you would like to schedule an individual appointment, please contact us at 713.800.6999 or www.pinkertonpsychotherapy.com.

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