A Simplified Explanation Of A Traumatic Bond ..
Traumatic Bond is strong emotional ties that develop between two people, where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.
Several conditions have been identified that must be present for a Traumatic Bond to occur.
1. There must be an imbalance of power.
With one person more in control of key aspects of the relationship such as setting himself up as the authority through such things as controlling the finances, or making most of the relationship decisions, or using threats and intimidations so the relationship has become lopsided.
2.The Abusive Behaviour is Sporadic in Nature.
It is characterised by intermittent reinforcement which means there is the alternating of highly intense positives such as intense kindness or affection and the negatives of the Abusive Behaviour.
3.The Victim engages in Denial of the Abuse for Emotional Self Protection.
In severe Abuse, one form of Psychological Protection Strategy is Dissociation, where the Victim experiences the Abuse as if it is not happening to her, but as if she is outside her body watching the scene unfold as if she is watching a movie.
Dissociative States allow the Victim to compartmentalise the Abusive Aspects of the relationship in order to focus on the positive aspects.
The use of Denial and Distancing oneself from the Abuse are forms of what is called Cognitive Dissonance.
In Abusive Relationships this means that what is happening to the Victim is so horrible so far removed from her thoughts and expectations of the world that it is dissonant or out of tune or at odds with her preexisting expectations and reality.
Since the Victim feels powerless to change the situation she relies on emotional strategies to try to make it less dissonant and try to somehow make it fit.
To cope with the contradicting behaviours of the Abuser and to survive the Abuse the Victim literally has to change how she perceive reality.
Studies also show a person is more loyal and committed to a person or a situation that is difficult, uncomfortable, or even humiliating and the more the Victim has invested in the relationship the more she needs to justify her position.
Cognitive Dissonance is a powerful Self Preservation Mechanism which can completely distort and override the truth.
With the Victim developing a tolerance for the Abuse and normalising the Abuser’s behaviour despite evidence to the contrary.
4. The Victim Masks that the Abuse is Not Happening.
Victims may not have admitted it to anyone, not even themselves.
Trauma Bonding makes it easier for the Victim to survive within the relationship but it severely undermines the Victim’s self structures, her ability to accurately evaluate danger and impairs her ability to perceive alternatives to the situation.
Once a Trauma Bond is established it becomes extremely difficult for the Victim to break free of the relationship.
The way humans respond to Trauma is thought to have a Biological Basis and reactions to Trauma was first described as Railroad Spine.
Another term used was Shell Shocked.
Victims are overwhelmed with terror, suffer from an overload of their system and to be able to function they must Distort Reality.
They often shut down emotionally and sometimes later describe themselves as having felt Robotic which means that intellectually they know what happened but feeling frozen or numb and unable to take action.
A Victim must feel safe and out of the survival mode before she is able to make Cognitive Changes.
Many Victims feel the Compulsion to tell and retell the events of the Trauma in an attempt to come to terms with what happened to them and to try to integrate it reaching out to others for contact, safety and stability.
Other Victims react in an opposite manner by withdrawing into a shell of self imposed isolation.
The Trauma Bond can persist even after the Victim leaves the relationship.
Sometimes it can take them months or even years to completely Break That Bond.