Trauma Bonds

Hey Soul Family,

Today we’re going to discuss and go over a concept that has become a buzz word recently- Trauma Bonds. While healing the inner child and shadow working has become more prominent since 2020 with everyone having to stay their asses home and having no choice but to confront their true selves, the amount of internet psychologist have also skyrocketed. There are so many fucking people in this world currently throwing around psychological jargon in ways that do NOT apply- so I'm here to clear things up. Recently I had a conversation with someone about how people were using the words trauma bond to describe a relationship formed with someone over shared trauma of a deceased loved one. That is NOT what a trauma bond is, not in the least fucking bit. It annoys me that people in this world are willfully ignorant about shit they’ve never even picked a book up about. If you are interested in psychological theories, then the BEST place to start is to look over the actual fucking theories and their experiments.

Psychology is a science. You can’t just make shit up and apply it to something that it has nothing to do with. Those of you interested in psychology should definitely get a copy of “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM-5). I also suggest getting some actual psychology textbooks such as “Infants, Children, and Adolescents” by Laura Berk; “Abnormal Psychology” by Butcher, Mineka, and Hooley; “Introduction to Psychology” by Coon, Mitterer, and Martini; “Psychology” by David Meyers, “Psychology: a concise introduction” by Richard Griggs; or “The Psychology Book” by DK publishing. Either way, it is best to actually educate yourself properly before running around in these streets spewing misinformation. Knowledge is power.

Here is also a link to a FREE psychology 101 textbook provided by CUNY.

Part 1: Introduction to Psychology - PSY 101 - Introduction to Psychology - Textbook - LibGuides at Hostos Community College Library (

Now what IS a trauma bond? This term was developed by psychologists George Dutton and Susan Painter. They used it to describe emotional bonds with an individual that arise from recurring, cyclical patterns of abuse perpetuated by intermittent reinforcement through rewards and punishments. In a nutshell, it’s a cycle of emotional or physical abuse that creates a strong attachment between the abuser and the abused. This cycle is reinforced by periods of love and affection, followed by periods of emotional abuse and devaluation. Where did you get this dynamic from though? Most likely it is the same dynamic that you have with a parent.

What are some signs that you are trauma bonded with a parent?

  • You don’t see their abusive actions as “bad” or “not that bad”.
  • You defend and/or make excuses for them.
  • You blame yourself for the abuse you endure.
  • You associate or confuse this abuse with love.
  • You turn to them when you are hurt, even if they caused that pain.
  • You have trouble trusting your own instincts and reality.
  • You believe that you can’t make it or survive without them.
  • You keep hoping and waiting for them to get better.
  • You remain tolerant of their abuse because of the random small signs of affection or attention that they do give you.
  • You are constantly giving your best, but still feel like it is never enough.
  • You isolate or distance yourself from people who want to help you.
  • You have a reluctance, unwillingness, or lack of motivation to leave.

Those of us who suffered from trauma bonding with our parent(s) are more likely to trauma bond with friends and lovers. It is a nasty cycle that starts in our childhoods when we experience abuse, rejection, and abandonment from our parents. This often will translate to a child associating love with abuse or a struggle. Due to this as we grew up, we learned how to shut down and invalidate our feelings and emotions in the same ways the adults around us invalidate us. Some children can turn to blaming themselves when this happens. We also tend to internalize that love hurts or is hard as children. This cycle is mirrored in people that we meet who will likely repeat the same cycle as our parents. As an adult, we continue the tradition of invalidation and will shut down our emotions, wants, and needs acting as if they don’t exist. We may even blame ourselves for our partner’s bad behaviors or make excuses for them. We will also try our best to be “enough” for our partner. The partner will often reinforce this attachment by alternating between acts of kindness and acts of rejection. Regardless of these acts though, we will continue to make excuses for our partners bad behaviors. Yet subconsciously this cycle plays out because deep down inside we’re still trying to be good enough for our parents.

Now there are stages of trauma bonding that happens, and this can be broken down into 7 stages that will occur over the course of time. What are these stages?

7 Stages of trauma bonding

  • Gaslighting and manipulation.
  • Love bombing.
  • Criticism.
  • Loss of Self.
  • Trust and dependency.
  • Resigning to control and giving up.
  • Emotional addiction to the cycle.

What are some signs that you are trauma bonded?

  • The relationship started with instant attraction and chemistry. It’s usually quick.
  • Feeling completely in love but then resentful of the other person. There may be this love/hate dynamic between the two of you.
  • When they always promise that things will change, but they never do.
  • Constantly breaking up but then getting back together.
  • Feeling like you have been through so much that you can’t just “throw the relationship away”.
  • Feeling like you will die if you aren’t together.
  • You crave making the other person happy, so you sacrifice your wants or needs.
  • You feel like you have bonded more through fights, break-ups, and extreme events more than you have over happy times.
  • You don’t react to cheating, abuse, or pushing boundaries because you are used to it. You may even try to ignore it all together.
  • You believe that you have the power to change them. You may even believe that if they did change that everything would magically be better.
  • You worry that if you do leave, something bad will happen to them.
  • The relationship is all high highs and low lows.
  • The relationship may be highly physical or sexual.
  • Important or “hard” conversations are often avoided.
  • The relationship feels like an addiction that you are powerless to quit.
  • You are convinced that no one else will love you.


There are also different types of trauma bonds that you should be made aware of. How are these trauma bonds formed?

  • Abandonment: This is formed when we experience emotional or psychological abandonment by our parents when our needs aren’t met as children.
  • Fawning: The fawn trauma response is all about pleasing a person to avoid any conflict. You may know that the person is hurting you and will do anything to appease them to lessen the chances of escalating the situation. It is sometimes and often associated with codependency.
  • Emotional Neglect: Emotional neglect brings about many confusing and uneasy feelings. There may be a problem figuring out how you feel or who you are because you have no sense of belonging or are lacking someone else modeling appropriate behavior. It may occur in a relationship where the person feels that their needs are continuously ignored, disregarded, and invalidated by their partner. This feeling often stems and is rooted in childhood.
  • Control: There might also be a power imbalance in the relationship that causes a trauma bond such as control. The other person might begin to control you so much that you have no idea how to break free. The abusive cycle becomes familiar to you and even if you do leave you might come back because it’s familiar to you and feels comforting in some way.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Stockholm syndrome can occur when someone is held captive against their will or simply within a relationship. In a relationship, the person experiencing the trauma may start to rationalize the behavior of the abuser and even develop positive feelings toward the person.

What are some ways to break free from a trauma bond?

  • Find a support group or have a support system in place. If you are in an abusive situation, make a plan with your support system to help you leave quietly or conflict free when the abuser is away. Make a safe exit plan.
  • Find local resources such as a therapist or counselor.
  • Communicate your needs clearly and assertively.
  • Set FIRM boundaries and go no-contact.
  • Disengage and retract from the situation.
  • Face your emotions and feelings about this.
  • Validate yourself.


Well Soul Fam, I hope that this information has helped you with connecting some dots. Until next time… Sending mucho luz + amor always!

Luna Estrellas


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