Trauma Bonds – Understanding Exploitive Relationships


A trauma bond is characterized by betrayal that is so purposeful and self-serving that goes into the realm of trauma. Trauma bonds create chains of trust that connect a person to a person who is exploitative, dangerous, abusive and toxic. In a trauma, a person feels very confused about their relationship, yet they are not able to get rid of it.

Here are some characteristics of a relationship that fit this description of toxic components:

1) Relationship is manipulative and exploitative
2) Agreements are ill, unclear and temporary
3) Feelings are keen and intense
4) Agreements are short term and difficult to navigate
5) Trust often relies on exaggerated or untrue promises
6) Rewards are in the future and often conditional
7) Risk is often one sided
8) Emotions are absent and rewards are minimal

Some examples of trauma bonding relationships are sexual abuse or the condition of sexually abused individuals. Additionally, many relationships that begin as intimate and lifelong can move into a trauma bond. Other examples where trauma can occur are miscarriages or abductions.

There are many components to such a painful relationship. If you feel that you may be in the relationship described above, it is very important that you start seeing the truth of your situation. Being in a trauma bond creates your identity and you are locked up in a prison that only survives by shutting down your emotions and is actually your very inner soul.

See the truth of your situation

Help and hope are available. The first step is to begin to see the truth of your situation. The only antidote to the illusion you can feel is to start living in the truth. It is difficult and delightful at first; However, constantly asking yourself “the truth of your situation” is the initial question you should begin to explore. You were not meant to be in the bond described above.

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