Why did I stay? – Trauma bonding

Trauma bonding which is sometimes known as Stockholm syndrome, is extremely difficult to break. It occurs when a victim forms a very powerful attachment to their abuser due to the cyclical nature of abusive treatment where there is a perceived threat of real danger, followed by intermittent periods of minimal acts of kindness. The victim is isolated from the influence of others in an environment of perceived highs and extreme lows. The unhealthy attachment flies in the face of any kind of logic to the outside world, and more importantly to the victim themselves, because they just can’t seem to break that attachment, even in the face of obvious relationship with abuse.

Many abuse victims liken their irrational dependency on their abuser to a drug addiction. This is because this IS an ADDICTION. Physiologically, and psychologically, an addiction takes place to the chemical changes in your body due to the constant push/pull from the narcissist. The addicted brain minimises the severity of the destructive nature of the abuse, and dismisses any ‘rational’ thoughts, which tell you this person is toxic.

Your core wounds

Just like the wolf sensing their next meal is close, by the sweet smell of blood in the air, so too does the predatory narcissist when a vulnerable target appears. A target whose core wounds the narcissist exposes and reflects back to the victim who may not even be aware of their existence. It is these wounds that keep many victims hanging in there, trying to please their abuser in an environment that feels safe and familiar.

If you grew up in an environment that was chaotic, unpredictable and abusive, then your idea of what constitutes a healthy, loving relationship is going to be very much tainted by what you were conditioned to believe is normal. You would have absorbed your parent’s version of love, which meant that love would always be conditional upon you meeting their needs. You would have learnt that love and abuse, go hand in hand. The toxic person in your life is familiar. They meet your standard of “normal”. This is why you find yourself in one toxic relationship after the other. The narcissist senses your lack of boundaries, and they sense your core wounds, and they will open those wounds back up and present them to you.

Other concepts such as intermittent reinforcement of the ‘breadcrumbs’ of ‘nice’ treatment, cognitive dissonance, and the F.O.G. (fear, obligation and guilt) are also important factors and mechanisms that keep victims stuck in the cycle of abuse. Each keeps the victim in a perpetual state of low confidence, leading them to believe that they need their abuser despite their logical awareness of the abuse.

Nova will help you to recognise, process and address the powerful trauma bond,  your core wounds, and other concepts mentioned, so you can successfully achieve ‘no contact’ and heal.