How to identify and break the trauma bonds with a narcissist.
Trauma bonds are both psychological and emotional, and you cannot just fall out of a trauma bond like you can fall out of love.
When you no longer love the narcissist, or you might even hate them. That trauma bond can still be present. These bonds have to be broken so you can heal. It’s very difficult to stay away from a narcissist, especially if you still care for them and are bonded to them. First, I recommend you find out about narcissism. This will help you fall out of love with them. It’ll also help you stick to no contact or limited if you have children. Then you can heal the trauma bond.
You’re not alone lots of people stay in an abusive relationship for various reasons, way longer than they ever should have, even when they know they want to leave. Lots of people also go back because of this trauma bond. It’s another manipulative tactic the narcissist will use. They know that even though you’ve left, or they left. That you’re trauma bonded, and that’s why they will try to hoover.
The longer the relationship goes on, the harder it is to break free, as your boundaries will have been ripped apart by the narcissist to the point where you no longer have any. As they’ve controlled you for so long, you’ll not know who you are without them.
Trauma bonds are caused by the idealisation stages of the relationship with the narcissist and the future faking, your empathetic loyalty to those you care about. The manipulation you receive from, the love bombing, then abuse. It keeps you off balance and hoping for that nice narcissist to come back.
Traumatic relationships cause natural hormones to be released, like adrenaline, cortisol, at such high levels that it becomes addictive.
In the idealisation stage and the love-bombing stages, you get the dopamine hormone that is so intense, and you simply become hooked on the dopamine release.
In the devaluation stage, cortisol is released to cope with the stress.
With this pattern of hormonal release, it becomes extremely addictive within the body and the mind.
After the trauma bond has been created, it’s hard to stay away from the narcissist as you lose the intensity of these hormones. You may find you mistake yourself for being in love with the narcissist when you are not. It’s worse. It’s a chemical and emotional bonding to the narcissist. You become dependent on them as a direct result of the abuse and inconsistency.
It’s the cycle of hormones your body and mind have become so used to, and after being so conditioned by the narcissist, you’re hooked. It’s an addiction to the cycle rather than the person.
When you look at the facts and find them, you’ll probably no longer respect them. You don’t trust them. You may fear them. You don’t like how they behave. You’ll probably not have much in common with them. This is not love. You don’t want the narcissist because you love them. It’s the trauma bond and conditioning of your subconscious mind that being in any form of relationship with them has now caused. You may think the narcissist will change. This is to try and justify to yourself why you take them back. You need to realise this to break free, and A narcissist will never change.
“The worst thing about excuses is within our minds. They are extremely valid.”
If someone is hurting you, cheating on you, Lying to you, undermining your confidence, telling people lies about you, gaslighting you, manipulating you. They do not care about you. The Narcissist only cares about themselves. They are abusing you, and it is as bad as it seems to you. Truly listen to how they speak. It will always somehow revert back to them unless you catch them out. Then, of course, it’ll be twisted around to being all your fault, or those false promises they will change to keep you living in hope.
There is no excuse for a narcissist to abuse you. They don’t love you, and you no longer love them. It was all an illusion. You need to break the trauma bond, which is problematic.
To break the trauma bond, you need to talk to yourself and work out that the narcissist is abusive in so many ways, and they never change.
They change partners. They change the stories. They never change their true selves.
You need to start living in reality. Accept the truth. Look at it for what it is. They’ll never change. You need to acknowledge that someone who loved and cared for you would not continuously treat you this way. They will not change. You need to realise that you do not love them. You have empathy and emotions. You’re allowed to be upset and grieve. In fact, that’s a vital part of the healing process from the trauma bond. You’re losing something that was once valuable to you. Even if that person you first met never actually existed, just a narcissist hiding behind the mask, like a vampire hiding from the sun. A narcissist will draw every bit of your energy, emotions and personality away from you, often leaving you feeling empty. That’s ok. It happened because you’re a genuine person that likes to see the best in everyone, But what can you do about an empty glass. Yes, you can fill it back up. A building starts with foundations. You can build yours again with more knowledge than you had before. Turn you into a better you.
You will not heal in the same environment that made you sick.
The narcissist would not help fix you if the narcissist was to smash a glass on the floor, so it’s completely broken. That narcissist can not come in and say sorry to it in the narcissists way of “ I’m sorry you jumped out of my hand glass” put it back together as it once was. It’ll never happen. You’re allowed scars. Now picture that glass back together with pretty sparkly glue. Yes, exactly, you’ll not go to who you were before. You can make yourself better than you were before with some added touches. You’ll be more aware of moving on to good people who don’t want to break you in the first place.
Feel how you feel now if it’s hurting you, your children or your family. If this is how you felt last year and you gave it another go, you know it didn’t work because here you are again. You can, and you will break this cycle, and when you do, your life will be amazing. Others have done it, and so can you.
Take each day as it comes. Start by living in the moment. Baby steps to help you get to where you want to be. You will feel better soon enough, and before you know it, you’ll feel great.
You need to create strong boundaries with the narcissist to gain your self-respect and lots of self-care. Who cares what they are saying? They just want to destroy you as narcissists hate seeing others happy as they can never be truly happy. You can be, and you will be. You can accept accountability. They can not.
You also have empathy, so it’s ok that you wanted to help them change and be a good person. There is nothing wrong with you. But you do, however, need to realise that you tried, you gave it your all, it’s breaking you, and you’re no longer a happy, confident person, and you need to walk away from the narcissist forever. Then you need to put all that effort you put into trying to help them. That effort needs to be put into helping you. Yes, you can change. You changed who you once were for the narcissist, so you can change to who you want to be now.
Yes, it’s hard, but you can do it. Acknowledge your feeling. You’re allowed them. Writing them down, journaling can help.
Make a list of fantasy, then write the reality. It helps
Example. Fantasy “ They said they would never cheat.”
Reality “ They cheated.”
Fantasy. “They said they’d never do it again.”
Reality. “They did it again.”
When you acknowledge it out loud or write it down, it helps. The chemical component of the trauma bond will lessen over time, thus making it easier to move on.
Yes, it’s hard, but it helps break the trauma bond.
Stay strong and keep going. You can do it.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.
More ways to break the trauma bond.