Trauma Bonding Associated with Narcissism
by: Todd Doyle, International Author of Healing the Shattered: Surviving Narcissistic Abuse
Trauma bonding is a psychological phenomenon that can occur in the context of narcissistic abuse. It refers to the intense emotional bond that can develop between the victim and the abuser, despite the abuse. This bond is often characterized by feelings of love, loyalty, and a strong emotional connection, and it can make it difficult for the victim to leave the abuser or to seek help.
Narcissistic individuals are characterized by their inflated sense of self-importance, lack of empathy, and tendency to manipulate and exploit others for their own gain. In the context of a relationship, narcissistic individuals may use their charisma and charm to lure their victim in and to keep them emotionally invested in the relationship. They may also use tactics such as gaslighting, triangulation, and blame-shifting to manipulate the victim’s reality and to keep them emotionally invested in the relationship.
The trauma bond can be especially strong in cases of narcissistic abuse because the abuser often manipulates and exploits the victim’s emotions and vulnerabilities. They may use positive reinforcement, such as occasional acts of kindness or affection, to keep the victim hopeful and loyal. They may also use negative reinforcement, such as punishment or withdrawal of affection, to keep the victim compliant and loyal.
The trauma bond can make it difficult for the victim to recognize the abuse and to take steps to protect themselves. They may feel a strong emotional attachment to the abuser and may believe that the abuser will change or that they can help them. They may also fear the consequences of leaving the abuser, such as financial dependence, social isolation, or physical harm.
Surviving narcissistic abuse can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience, and it is important to seek help and support in order to heal and move forward. It may be helpful to seek therapy or counseling to process the trauma and to work on rebuilding your self-worth and self-esteem. It is also important to surround yourself with supportive and understanding people who can help you heal and provide emotional and practical support.
It is important to remember that the trauma bond is not your fault and that you deserve to be treated with respect and kindness. With the right support and resources, you can break the trauma bond and move forward towards a healthy and fulfilling life.