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Am I Trauma Bonded? How to Know & What You Can Do

It’s hard to know if you if you need to break a trauma bond if you don’t know what it is. Trauma bonds create an emotional dependency that can feel very similar to drug addiction. It’s a recipe for disaster.

What’s a Trauma Bond?

A trauma bond is the connection between an abuser and their victim. It’s the attachment an abused person feels for their abuser, specifically in a relationship with a cyclical pattern of abuse. This term wasn’t even coined until 1997 by Patrick Carnes, PhD, CASUp until that time, the closest term used was “Stockholm Syndrome,”  which refers to hostages who develop a psychological alliance with their captors during captivity. Whoa.

Trauma bonding happens when an abuser uses manipulation tactics and cycles of abuse to make the victim feel dependent on them for care and validation, causing a strong attachment or bond.

Trauma bonds can occur in many different situations: romantic relationships, parent-child relationships, between siblings, work relationships and more.


What are the Signs & Symptoms of a Trauma Bond?

There is probably great disbelief that you could be suffering from this type of attachment. You are a smart, capable, independent person who would never be bamboozled by anyone. Understand that not all abusive situations result in trauma bonding, so you may be unsure if this term applies to you. The following 4 factors are the signs and symptoms of being in a trauma-bonding relationship. I see how my mother exhibited these signs and symptoms, but I didn’t know. I was a child. No one said or did anything. If any of these signs or symptoms resonate with you, please do something today to break your trauma bonds.

  1. An abuse victim covers up or makes excuses to others for an abuser's behavior

  2. An abuse victim lies to friends or family about the abuse

  3. A victim doesn't feel comfortable with or able to leave the abusive situation

  4. An abuse victim thinks the abuse is their fault

You are probably asking “why does this happen?” Trauma bonding is a psychological response to abuse. The person experiencing abuse may develop sympathy for the abusive person, which becomes reinforced by cycles of abuse, followed by remorse. Round and round, again and again.

Trauma bonding occurs when the abused person forms a connection or relationship with the person who abuses them.

What can I do about it?


We stay in abusive relationships with people who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) because we are trauma bonded to them. Our relationship’s highs and lows are rolled together with shame, guilt and embarrassment. Narcissists are known to wear a mask in public, behaving differently than they do behind closed doors. All these things together, make it very difficult for victims to leave.


Do something for yourself, today.

It is critical to recognize the signs of narcissistic abuse, as it can have long-term effects on your emotional, mental, and physical health. The narcissistic abuse cycle typically involves a period of love-bombing, where the narcissist showers you with attention and affection, followed by devaluation, where they criticize and belittle you. This cycle can repeat itself over and over again, leading to feelings of confusion and self-doubt. Enroll in my newest course – Trauma Bonds 101 where I will lead you through the narcissistic abuse cycle and show you how the trauma bonds are holding you back and how to break them for good.


Healing from long-term trauma takes time. Don’t stay in this kind of emotionally abusive relationship.  It won’t get better.  They won’t change.  You don’t deserve this abuse.

It’s not your fault.

I know it feels that way, but you did nothing to deserve this treatment. People who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder want you to feel that way as nothing is ever their fault. They also want you to feel completely isolated. Please be assured, you’re not alone and you’re not going crazy. You may find comfort in other people’s similar experiences and validation that you’re not alone. Their bad behavior isn’t your fault.


You see, I didn’t get here by accident. I didn't set out to become a narcissistic abuse recovery coach. But after I’d suffered this kind of abuse, I realized that my story and my experience could help so many people who’ve suffered similarly. 


Often, we stay in these cycles of abuse because we don’t believe we deserve something better. I kept trying to make our relationship work, but he didn’t want me in his life. It took me a long time to understand that I deserved better.


You deserve better, too.


You can't do this alone. I can help you.

Work with me one-on-one or take one of my courses.

Free yourself from the narcissist. Break the ties that bind. Break your trauma bonds for good.


Check out The Narcissist Slayers podcast


Take this as your sign to take action today. Learn how to break the trauma bonds for good this time.










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