Dr. Wendy After Dark

Dr. Wendy After Dark

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Signs of Trauma Bonding

Broken heart

Photo: martin-dm / E+ / Getty Images

Trauma bonding occurs when you feel bonded with or sympathetic towards an abusive, partner, parent, or friend. An abuser often alternates between treating you poorly and showering you with positive attention. The alternate forms of treatment can lead to a strong psychological bond. Here are some signs you might be in a trauma bond.

  1. Do you rationalize your partner’s bad behavior?

2. You think about them all the time when you are not with them, even though they hurt you.

3. Do you constantly think of ways to help them? Are you a caregiver and a cheerleader?

4. Even though your friends and family hate him, you are not willing to leave.

5. Do you cover for your partner’s unhealthy behavior? making excuses for them, getting defensive when speaking to friends and family about them, distancing yourself from family or friends

What to do

If you suspect you may have a trauma bond with someone, working with a mental health worker can help. They can help you to identify the abuse, develop a positive self-esteem, and connect you with resources to help you leave.

If you need help finding a counselor, you can ask a primary care provider or use the American Psychology Association (APA)’s therapist locator.

You may also want to make a personal safety plan if you’re living with an abusive partner. Though plans can vary, they often include steps to help if you need to escape, such as:

identifying safe friends or family to stay with make plans to leave including money, where to stay, and work find information on local support organizations.

For more check out Psych Central.

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