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Love & Marriage Love & Marriage

10 Signs You're in a 'Trauma Bond' With an Abusive Spouse

Posted by on Oct. 4, 2013 at 9:46 AM
  • 13 Replies

10 Signs You're in a 'Trauma Bond' With an Abusive Spouse

by Kiri Blakeley

Bonds between people can be an amazing, wonderful thing. You think of the love bond between happily married people. The maternal bond between mother and child. The friend bond between BFFs. But did you know that bonds can be formed that are every bit as strong but are harmful and toxic?

It's counterintuitive, but people can develop incredibly deep loyalties to those who are using them, abusing them, and exploiting them. Think of the prostitute who "loves" her pimp. The abused wife who won't leave her husband. Victims who help or even marry their kidnappers.

The bonds that form between a victim and an abuser are called "trauma bonds" or "betrayal bonds." Could you be in a trauma bond with your spouse? Here are 10 signs you might be. (Trauma bonds happen to both men and women, but for simplicity's sake, these are written for women.)

1. You think being treated badly is normal. If you tell your friends and family how your husband speaks and behaves toward you, they are concerned for you. Yet you think nothing is wrong.

2. Fighting. You have repetitive fights about the same thing, over and over, and no one ever wins, there's never any insight. If you do feel that you "got somewhere" with the fight, that's all wiped out when you have the same fight about the same thing again -- probably the next day.

3. You defend your abuser/user. You find yourself complaining to friends, family, or therapists about how your husband is treating you, but then instantly begin to defend him or blame yourself, i.e., "Well, if I didn't nag him so much, he wouldn't have hit me," or "If I wasn't so fat, he wouldn't need to cheat."

4. Loss of free will. Everything in your mind tells you to leave your spouse, but you find yourself unable to make any kind of change.

5. You're in love with the fantasy, not the reality. You find yourself incredibly attached to the "storyline" of "how things should go" or "how they should be" despite the fact that the reality of the relationship bears little resemblance to it.

6. "Auuuughhh!!!" You often feel like Charlie Brown, who repeatedly kicks the football that Lucy holds, only to have her pull it out at the last minute. The idea that THIS TIME he won't pull the football continues to have power despite his always pulling the football and you always landing on your back.

7. Conversion. You keep trying to "convert" your spouse into someone who treats you right, "convince" him to behave differently, or "prove" yourself to him. You think if only you can "prove" yourself, everything will be different. You try to get him to "understand" that what he does/says is hurtful to you. If only he would "understand"!

8. You don't like him. You "love" your spouse, but you don't like, respect, or even want to be around him.

9. The next generation. Although you can't leave your spouse and even say you don't want to, you'd be horrified if your daughter brought home a new boyfriend and declared he was "just like daddy."

10. Obsession. If you do manage to break away from your spouse, you obsess and long to the point of nostalgia about the horrible relationship you got away from and that almost destroyed you.

Have you ever been in a trauma bond?

by on Oct. 4, 2013 at 9:46 AM
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Replies (1-10):
kris0921
by on Oct. 4, 2013 at 10:31 AM
1 mom liked this
Yes I have. Glad my sister told my mom and she pulled me out when she did.
lilmama31781
by Member on Oct. 4, 2013 at 4:20 PM
Besides the physical abuse this explains me and my bf to a tee scary
ALTSONAASBAH
by Member on Oct. 4, 2013 at 4:31 PM

This is my situation. It's painful.

AlannaMaria
by on Oct. 4, 2013 at 4:59 PM
Oh I most def have and was in one for about 5 1/2 years and finally I saw the light and got the courage to end it. It was the best decision I had ever made and look back and wonder " what the hell was I thinking"? I'm very happy now and he is still a loser and crazy as ever.
AlannaMaria
by on Oct. 4, 2013 at 4:59 PM
:( I'm sorry. How long have you been together?

Quoting ALTSONAASBAH:

This is my situation. It's painful.

AlannaMaria
by on Oct. 4, 2013 at 5:00 PM
What a good mama!!

Quoting kris0921:

Yes I have. Glad my sister told my mom and she pulled me out when she did.
kris0921
by on Oct. 4, 2013 at 5:22 PM
Idk where I would be without her. I remember I made a joke to my exs brother that if anything ever happened to me his brother did it. This was about a month before my miscarriage and when my ex started becoming just like this. Now its been almost 4 years since and I know how love is supposed to be and feel.


Quoting AlannaMaria:

What a good mama!!



Quoting kris0921:

Yes I have. Glad my sister told my mom and she pulled me out when she did.

aimesnyc
by Amy on Oct. 4, 2013 at 5:24 PM
Bump!
OHgirlinCA
by Silver Member on Oct. 4, 2013 at 5:30 PM

 Yes.  My first marriage.  I stayed with him for 10 years and then finally had the strength to leave. 

lauraschatz
by on Oct. 4, 2013 at 5:35 PM
Only with my mother. It's really sad and pathetic but all of those things on the list apply to the relationship I had as a child and still have with my mom.
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