We Have Beds Available! Call for Same Day Admission.855-722-6926

7 Stages of Trauma Bonding

7 Stages of Trauma Bonding

7 Stages of Trauma Bonding

When a person forms a relationship with a toxic individual, then does not leave the potentially dangerous association, this is referred to as trauma bonding. A person will find comfort in the familiarity of the relationship, although it’s abusive. These types of connections are usually formed slowly over time, so the sufferer does not tend to see the overall problem right away. Keep reading to learn the seven stages of trauma bonding.

What Are the 7 Stages of Trauma Bonding? 

Breaking a trauma bond is a complex process since a person will grow a strong bond, or even idolize, their abuser. People tend to accept the abuse and not flee unhealthy relationships, especially if they experienced trauma or neglect in the past. Sufferers will use the form of abuse as a coping mechanism or a distraction. Some may feel they deserve the abuse or are belittled by their abuser and made to think they are worthless and dependent. 

The 7 stages of trauma bonding include: 

  • Love Bombing: The abuser will use flattery and display intense affection to gain the trust or emotions of another. 
  • Trust & Dependency: The person will work hard to gain your trust and loyalty and begin to show signs of dependence. 
  • Criticism: Slowly but surely, the abuser will criticize the person, belittling and blaming them while also seeking validation. 
  • Gaslighting: The sufferer will begin to constantly question themselves due to the abuser attempting to change the way they think and take the blame, even when not at fault. 
  • Resignation: Coping with uncertainty by doing what the abuser says, trying to feel the emotions, and triggering the person to act the way they did in stage one. 
  • Loss of Self: The sufferer will have a lack of confidence and may feel mentally drained from fighting and deciding not to fight back with the abuser since the behavior seems to worsen.
  • Addiction: The body feels spikes of cortisol, which causes feelings of stress, and then feels an increase in dopamine, or the reward chemical, in the brain. These highs and lows formulate a physical dependence on the person. 

The trauma bonding cycle continues, and the longer a person stays in the situation, the more cognitive impairment and proper brain functioning complications arise. Breaking a trauma bond is not easy, but a person will begin to feel more confident and independent after recovering from long-term abuse. Motivational therapy and other unique techniques can benefit a person who has suffered from verbal or physical abuse. 

Trauma Bonding Signs

There are a number of clear signs that someone has trauma bonded. Although they may seem harmless at times, they can quickly snowball into much bigger problems.

Signs of trauma bonding can include:

  • Feeling like you do not enjoy the other person’s presence.
  • Feeling intense emotions of dislike, but you still cannot leave the relationship.
  • Keeping the abuse a secret or downplaying it in an attempt to mitigate negative emotions.
  • Telling others about your disturbing experiences but disregarding the neglect.
  • Maintaining a distance from those who raise concerns or try to help.
  • A need to please the abuser or the hope to somehow change them.
  • Relationships with others have taken a hit and can cause rifts in friendships and families.

After recognition, not addressing the manipulation is a sign of denial, which can lead to severe distress. It is why our Palm Beach rehab strongly encourages anyone who finds themselves in such a situation to take a good hard look at their relationship. Wanting to relive the glory days of a partnership, so much that neglectful or abusive behavior is tolerated, is a serious sign that a trauma bond has formed.

How to Heal From Trauma Bonding

People who are suffering in a relationship and feeling as though they cannot leave can be comforted by knowing that there is a release from this toxicity. Finding a mental health wellness center that includes individual and group therapy or a faith-based program provides excellent options and encourages expression and emotional regulation. In addition, here are some ways to heal from trauma bonding: 

  • Learn to grieve.
  • Avoid self-blame.
  • Practice self-care.
  • Cut off all contact. 
  • Establish a support group. 
  • Begin writing your emotions. 
  • Commit to practicing being in the moment.
  • Write about what you noticed triggered the abuser.

Developing a self-care plan can involve a plan for you to begin a new life away from the abuser. Create new short-term goals and stick to them. It is essential to remind yourself that you are powerful and that abuse has a negative impact on your life. Change starts with you. 

Trauma Bonding Recovery at Boca Behavioral Health Center

At Banyan Treatment Center Boca Raton, FL, we offer residential treatment to individuals who are seeking mental health care. Our medical staff prepares a clean and secure environment so patients can feel safe to express their thoughts and emotions. We use numerous therapeutic methods and techniques so patients can learn how to cope and function in everyday life. 

Speak to a specialist at Banyan Boca Raton by calling 888-280-4763 and get started on your recovery journey today!

Related Readings: 

Crisis Intervention Techniques for Mental Health

Why Mental Health Support Is Necessary for Recovery

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
7 Stages of Trauma Bonding
This website uses cookies to improve your experience. By using this website you agree to our Online Privacy Policy.
Learn more ›