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Break the Cycle: Understanding and Healing from Trauma Bonding

Break free

What is Trauma Bonding?

I have seen quite a few clients struggling with breaking away from their abuser. Trauma bonding is one of the reasons. You experience trauma bonding when you form a strong emotional connection with an abusive person. This bond involves a cycle of highs and lows, where you become attached to your abuser despite the harm you endure. It's crucial for your healing and breaking free from this destructive cycle to understand trauma bonding.

Love shouldn't hurt

Recognizing the Signs

Identifying trauma bonding may be challenging for you, as the bond formed with the abuser tends to be intense and confusing. However, there are some common signs for you to watch out for:

  • You might feel unable to leave the abusive relationship, despite recognizing its harmful effects.

  • You may find yourself justifying or making excuses for the abuser's behavior.

  • You could experience a sense of loyalty or attachment to the abuser.

  • Within the relationship, you may encounter intense emotional highs and lows.

  • You might isolate yourself from friends and family due to the influence of the abuser.

Effects of trauma bonding

The Cycle of Trauma Bonding

Trauma bonding typically follows a cycle that keeps the victim trapped in the abusive relationship. This cycle consists of three phases:

1. Idealization

In this phase, the abuser presents themselves as charming, loving, and attentive. They create a false sense of security and make you believe that they are the only one who truly understands and cares for you.

2. Devaluation

After the idealization phase, the abuser's behavior starts to change. They become critical, controlling, and emotionally or physically abusive. You are left feeling confused, hurt, and desperate to regain the initial love and affection.

3. Hoovering

In this phase, the abuser attempts to regain control over you by apologizing, promising change, or showering them with affection. You feel hopeful that things will improve, and so you continue to stay in the relationship leading to this vicious cycle.

Work in progress

Breaking Free and Healing

Let's ensure your safety first. Here's a quick checklist:

  • Are you living with this person?

  • Are your finances in their control or are they separate?

  • Do you have a support system?

  • Do you fear for your safety?

  • Are they capable of tarnishing your name?

If these are in your favor, you can either choose to heal first and then break away or leave the person and then focus on healing. Either way, the healthy option is to leave the person.

Healing from trauma bonding requires a combination of self-awareness, support, and professional help. For whatever reason, if you are unable to leave this person, here are some steps to help break free from the cycle:

  1. Recognize the manipulation: Acknowledging that you've been manipulated is the initial step in shifting blame away from yourself.

  2. Observe the pattern: Trauma bonding, a genuine psychological phenomenon, follows a pattern of contradictory behavior.

  3. Seek support: Turn to friends, family members, or support groups in your community or online for emotional support and guidance.

  4. Establish boundaries: It's crucial to set clear boundaries with the abuser to protect yourself and create space for healing.

  5. Seek professional help: Consider reaching out to a therapist or counselor experienced in trauma and abuse to help you navigate your healing journey.

  6. Practice self-care: Dedicate time to engage in activities you like but was off-limits. It could be as small as wearing your favourite colors to taking up hobbies you enjoy.

You matter


Breaking the cycle of trauma bonding poses a daunting yet vital endeavor in the journey towards healing and reclaiming your life. It's essential to comprehend the signs, grasp the cycle, and seek support to liberate yourself from the clutches of an abusive relationship. Keep in mind that healing is a gradual process, but with the appropriate resources and support, you can overcome trauma bonding and pave the way for a healthier, happier future.

 If you're planning to start therapy, you can book an appointment with us.

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