How To Break Trauma Bond With A Narcissist In Your Life?

Learn how to break a trauma bond with a narcissist you’ve known for a long time in your life. Reclaim your mental health and peace.

A long history of abuse can trap us in the paralyzing “freeze mode” — mentally and emotionally frozen, permanently unable to react.

Psychologist Martin Seligman found that dogs put under long, inescapable trauma develop “learned helplessness”. They give up trying to flee the trauma scene and lay there whimpering, even when given a way out.

The same happens to a narcissistic abuse sufferer.

After years of facing the narcissist hurling insults at us, while forced to stand in shameful silence, we finally give up trying to escape our abuser.

Worse, even after the victims have left the abuser, they seek the same punishment-reward environment that they are so used to.

That is trauma bonding, which frequently occurs with a narcissistic abuser.

By the way, do narcissists like other narcissists?

12 Strategies To Break Trauma Bond With A Narcissist In Your Life

Here are some ways to get over narcissistic trauma bonding:

1. Analyze your situation.

Recognize the trauma bond with the narcissist and accept the reality of your situation.

  • Recognize the narcissist’s control: Narcissists don’t allow you the mental space to become self-aware. They keep your stress motor constantly whirring in the background.
  • Identify their tactics: Narcissists keep questioning your stupidity, your inefficiency, your wrongness of decisions, your emotional instability, your improper emotional response, and your failure to understand what they want.
  • Realize your loss of freedom: You give up your freedom of will and thought to slave it out for them so that they are happy.
  • Understand the binding hurt: Narcissists bind you with the hurt they cause you. Then they won’t let you heal. Recognize how they use pain to keep you trapped.
  • Assess the impact on your thinking: The constant background stress can make it difficult for you to think deeply or organize your thoughts. If this is the case, take a break from them.
  • Consider time away to understand your situation better: Time away from your abuser gives you a better shot at realizing how you’re being abused. Even consider taking a trip without them, as a way to look inward and reflect on your situation.
  • Accept the reality: Come to terms with the fact that the narcissist’s behavior is intentional and manipulative, not a misunderstanding or a mistake on your part.

“Narcissists bind you with the hurt they cause you. Then they don’t let you heal.”

2. Identify your emotional wounds.

Get aware of your emotional trauma wounds and vulnerabilities.

  • Recognize the Source of Pain: Understand that the narcissist’s constant criticism and manipulation have caused deep emotional wounds. “So, you never realize where it hurts, how it bleeds.”
  • Acknowledge Your Feelings and Victimhood: “Get self-aware to see that you’re a victim. That you have been tolerating their abuse for too long, for too high a price.” Allow yourself to feel the pain, confusion, anger, or any other emotions that have been suppressed.
  • Identify Specific Traumas: Pinpoint the particular incidents or behaviors that have caused the most harm, so you can address them directly.
  • Assess the Impact on Your Life: Evaluate how these wounds have affected your self-esteem, relationships, career, and overall well-being.
  • Create a Healing Plan: Develop a personalized plan to heal these wounds, whether through therapy, self-care practices, or support from loved ones.
  • Avoid Blaming Yourself: Recognize that the narcissist’s behavior is the problem, not you. Don’t blame yourself for their actions or for staying in the relationship.
  • Embrace Your Strength and Empowerment: “Trauma-awareness lets you tap into your inner strength – to change your outlook from self-pity to self-empowerment, break the abuse cycle, and heal your wounds.”

“Emotional wounds inflicted by a narcissist are not signs of your weakness but markers of their cruelty.”

How To Break Trauma Bonding With A Narcissist
Trauma bonding can form in children of narcissistic parents

3. Change the way you think.

Shift your mindset to empower yourself and break free from the narcissist’s influence.

  • Understand the Overwhelming Influence: Understand that you can get out of the overwhelmingness, anxiety, and apprehension they put you in. As I said earlier, narcissists keep your stress motor constantly whirring in the background.
  • Recognize the Hidden Wounds: “It prevents you from seeing that the wounds they gave you have been bleeding for a long time. They know that as long as they keep you traumatized, your focus will be on them, not on yourself.”
  • Break the Cycle of Pleasing: You will always keep trying to please them so that they don’t hurt you anymore. It won’t occur to you that they will keep finding new ways to hurt you.
  • Understand Narcissistic Malice: Some narcissists show “narcissistic malice,” which can be traced back to their early, sadistically charged relationships. From these relationships, the narcissist learns that they could only feel good about themselves by hurting others.
  • Recognize the Narcissist’s Self-Attack: Narcissists, after early sadistic relationships, begin to see their own body as an ‘other’ or ‘not me.’ This can lead to bodily self-attack, as they may feel like they need to hurt ‘the other’ to feel good about themselves. Bodily self-attack may be understood as a self-rescue operation when a narcissist’s self-break-up starts and destruction anxiety becomes unbearable (Goldblatt & Maltsberger, 2009).
  • Avoid Self-Punishment: They can influence you into having self-harming thoughts and emotions, and carry out self-punishing behaviors for failing to please them. Realize that you don’t have to punish yourself for their faulty self-attacking mental patterns.
  • Stop the Rumination: A relationship with a narcissist makes us overthink and ruminate on the lies we are fed day after day. Often, we can no longer tell how the real world feels.
  • Adopt a Growth Mindset: Embrace the belief that you can grow, change, and overcome the challenges you’ve faced.
  • Cultivate Positive Self-Talk: Replace negative thoughts with affirmations and positive statements that reinforce your strength, worth, and potential.
  • Set Boundaries with the Narcissist: If you must maintain contact, establish clear boundaries to protect your mental space and prevent further manipulation.
  • Focus on Your Goals and Values: Align your thinking with your personal goals, values, and interests, rather than the narcissist’s demands or expectations.
  • Practice Mindfulness or Meditation: Engage in practices that help you stay present and centered, reducing the influence of past traumas on your current thinking.
  • Embrace Your Independence: Reclaim your autonomy and make decisions based on what’s best for you, not what will appease the narcissist.

When you reflect on yourself and your thoughts, remember that what you think is not always accurate.

Remind yourself this by telling yourself:

“My thoughts tell me that I am no good. But I am not my thoughts. I chose to focus on my strengths, let go of my negative self-image, and embrace myself with love.”

4. Break up with the narcissist.

You need a clean break and a fresh start. Go no or low contact with the narcissist to minimize their impact on your life.

  • Recognize the Need to Leave: You need to leave the narcissist, but this can be hard if you have to stay with them. Understand that breaking free is essential for your well-being.
  • Ensure Safety During the Breakup: Move to a safe place if you decide a clean break or declare a breakup, as narcissistic rage can get ugly. Consider seeking support from friends, family, or professionals to ensure your safety.
  • Prepare for Withdrawal Symptoms: After a break from a narcissistic relationship, there could be withdrawal symptoms. This withdrawal is much like opioid withdrawal, causing dysphoria, irritability, anxiety, and high stress-reactivity.
  • Understand the Physical and Emotional Impact: The victim may feel anxiety, stomach pain, nausea, headaches, less sleep, flashbacks, hypervigilance, confusion, and intense cravings to get back with the abuser.
  • Develop a Long-Term Healing Plan: Focus on healing both the emotional and physical symptoms of withdrawal through self-care, therapy, and healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Stay Committed to Your Decision: Recognize that the cravings to return to the abuser are part of the withdrawal process and stay committed to your decision to break free.
  • Recognize the Role of Brain Chemistry: Experts think withdrawal is linked to high cortisol and low oxytocin levels. Oxytocin, often called the love hormone, is a brain chemical that influences social reward, social affiliation, and stress responses.

Now, the interesting part.

  1. Pedersen & Smedley (2012) found intranasal oxytocin blocks alcohol withdrawal in humans.
  2. Moeini & Omidi (2019) found that intranasal oxytocin improved craving, stress response, and withdrawal symptoms in heroin-dependent patients.
  3. Miranda Olff (2012) suggests that oxytocin may have a positive effect on social interaction, and reduce emotional numbing, experienced by PTSD patients.
  4. This study found that interacting with pets, particularly dogs, can stimulate oxytocin release in both humans and animals. So, consider getting a pet.
  5. Oxytocin is also released by close physical contact in a safe environment, exposure to infants, novel environments, and the Big O (Burri, 2008, Feldman, 2012, Pournajafi-Nazarloo, 2013).

“Cuddling increases your oxytocin levels. Get a pet dog or a teddy bear to cuddle.”

5. Socialize with supportive friends and groups.

Hang out with happy friends and supportive people who understand your situation.

  • Surround Yourself with Positive People: Be around people who are fun to be with. Find an interesting social group to join. This landmark study has shown that knowing a happy person makes you 15.3% more likely to be happy.
  • Understand the Health Benefits of Social Connections: Studies show that social attachments protect against the health consequences of stress, whereas chronic stress can undermine social attachment (Buisman-Pijlman & Sumracki, 2014).
  • Enjoy Social Outings with Friends: If you have supportive friends who can give you some time, take them to a restaurant, café, museum, or any other place of mutual interest.
  • Engage in Physical Activities: Start a gym membership. If you can’t, then go out to the park for walks and jogs. Physical activity can boost your mood and energy levels.
  • Embrace Laughter and Joy: Join a laughter yoga class. Smiling and laughing release endorphins and promote relaxation.
  • Participate in Community Service: Join a weekend social activity group, like a homeless food service group. Helping others can provide a sense of purpose and connection.
  • Seek Specialized Support: Join a narcissist survival support group, or domestic abuse support group. Connecting with others who understand your experience can be incredibly healing.
  • Give Back to Others: Socializing can work the other way too. Instead of seeking people to support you, help a friend in need, a social cause, or educate disadvantaged kids.

“Creating a support system is not just about finding help; it’s about building connections, embracing joy, giving back, and nurturing your soul. It’s a journey of healing through community, compassion, and shared humanity.”

6. Lean into new connections.

Explore new relationships and opportunities that align with your values and interests.

  • Be Open but Cautious: Keep yourself open to a new relationship, but do not dive into a rebound relationship. You may spend some time with someone you like and feel secure with, like a friend or a colleague, or a casual date.
  • Keep It Casual and Low-Pressure: Keep your new relationship with no strings attached. Take it easy while keeping your expectations low. Do not overindulge in this new person’s company.
  • Avoid Rushing into Intimacy: Do not rush things or hurry into intimacy to make yourself feel worthy of being loved. You just left a toxic relationship. Do not make this new person a replacement, and don’t cling to them with all your might.
  • Build Trust Gradually: Allow yourself time to feel safe in this new person’s company. You may gradually drop your defenses as you increase your trust levels with them.
  • Reflect on What You Want: Spend time thinking about what you want in a new connection, recognizing that your needs and desires may have changed after leaving the narcissist.
  • Communicate Openly: Be honest with yourself and the new person about where you are in your healing journey and what you’re looking for in this connection.
  • Embrace Self-Love: Remember that your worth is not determined by a relationship. Focus on loving and valuing yourself, independent of anyone else.

“Leaning into new connections after narcissistic abuse is a delicate dance of openness, caution, trust, and self-love. It’s about finding joy and connection without losing yourself, guided by the wisdom of your past and the hope for a healthier future.”

Find out how Stoic philosophy can help you recover from a breakup.

7. Show self-love and self-compassion.

  • Embrace Love, Kindness, and Compassion: It’s time to give yourself the love, kindness, and compassion that you have been depriving yourself of for years. To undo that toxic conditioning, indulge yourself with lots of patience, tenderness, and understanding.
  • Date Yourself: Practice self-care. Date yourself. Take yourself on a restaurant date. Invite yourself (like, literally leaving yourself a card) to a movie or a fun place.
  • Embark on Solo Adventures: Go on a solo adventure like a tourist in your home city. Go out on a thrilling activity like rock climbing or paragliding.
  • Enjoy Simple Pleasures: Soak up on sunshine every day. Listen to a music list to lift your mood. Recall happy times and cheerful experiences from before your relationship with the narcissist.
  • Practice Mindfulness Meditation: Learn to practice mindfulness meditation, even if for 3 minutes a day.. Meditation can help re-activate the areas of your brain that process emotions and higher thinking. It can also increase gray matter in the frontal lobes, whatever your age (Lazar, 2005).
  • Understand the Nature of Meditation: Meditation is not about shutting out your thoughts or emotions, but observing and accepting them, and then releasing them.
  • Celebrate Your Strength and Resilience: Acknowledge how far you’ve come and the strength you’ve shown in leaving the narcissist. Celebrate your progress and continue to nurture yourself.

“The two factors that allow for the creation and continuation of a trauma bond are a power imbalance and intermittent reinforcement. Narcissists in our lives, who are often more poweful than us, condition our brains to react with a freeze response. Once trauma-bonded, we keep moving through that always-anxious environment, trying to appease them and get their periodic flashes of love and validation.”

– Dr. Sandip Roy

8. Plan for gradual improvement.

Identify areas for improvement in your life separate from the narcissist, and create manageable steps to achieve them.

  • Set Clear Goals: Identify areas in your life that you want to improve or change. Whether it’s career, relationships, health, or personal development, set clear and achievable goals.
  • Create a Step-by-Step Plan: Break down your goals into manageable steps. Outline a clear path with specific actions that will lead you toward your desired outcomes.
  • Embrace a Growth Mindset: Recognize that improvement is a journey, not a destination. Embrace challenges, learn from failures, and celebrate progress.
  • Invest in Education and Skills: Consider taking courses, workshops, or reading books that align with your goals. Investing in your education and skills can empower you to reach new heights.
  • Build Healthy Habits: Focus on creating healthy habits that support your goals. Whether it’s exercise, healthy eating, mindfulness, or positive thinking, consistent habits can lead to lasting change.
  • Monitor Your Progress: Regularly review your progress and adjust your plan as needed. Celebrate successes, learn from setbacks, and stay committed to your improvement path.
  • Stay Connected to Your Values: Ensure that your improvement plan aligns with your core values and beliefs. Authentic growth comes from staying true to yourself.

“Improvement is a courageous act of self-discovery, growth, and transformation. It’s a journey guided by clear goals, actionable steps, resilience, and the unwavering belief in your potential to create a life filled with purpose, joy, and fulfillment.”

9. Work on healing your wounds.

Work on healing your core wounds and vulnerabilities, possibly with professional help.

  • Accept the Need for Healing: Acknowledge that the wounds inflicted by the narcissist are deep and require time and effort to heal.
  • Create a Personal Healing Plan: Develop a step-by-step plan that includes therapy, self-care practices, support from loved ones, or other healing methods that resonate with you.
  • Embrace Self-Compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, recognizing that healing is a process, not an overnight transformation.
  • Build Resilience: Focus on strengthening your emotional resilience by engaging in activities that bring joy, fulfillment, and a sense of purpose.
  • Avoid Re-Engaging with the Narcissist: Minimize contact with the narcissist to prevent re-opening old wounds and to create a safe space for healing.
  • Celebrate Progress: Acknowledge and celebrate even small progress in your healing journey, recognizing that every step forward is a victory.
  • Reconnect with Your True Self: Rediscover your passions, values, and interests that may have been overshadowed by the narcissist’s control.

“Healing from narcissistic abuse is not merely mending broken pieces; it’s a profound journey of self-discovery, resilience, and transformation. Embrace the process, for it leads not just to recovery but to a stronger, wiser, and more authentic you.”

10. Block the narcissist’s hoovering tactics.

Recognize the hooks the narcissist uses to pull you back in, called hoovering, and steer clear of these.

  • Recognize Manipulation and Control: Narcissists often use manipulation, guilt, and control to get what they want. Understanding these tactics can help you protect yourself.
  • Identify Gaslighting: Gaslighting is a common tactic where the narcissist makes you doubt your own reality. Recognize the signs and trust your own perceptions and feelings.
  • Understand the Cycle of Abuse: Many narcissists follow a pattern of idealization, devaluation, and discard. Understanding this cycle can help you recognize when you’re being pulled back in.
  • Beware of Hoovering: Hoovering is when the narcissist tries to suck you back into the relationship with promises of change. Stay firm in your boundaries and don’t fall for false promises.
  • Know the Narcissist’s Triggers: Understanding what triggers the narcissist’s rage or manipulation can help you navigate interactions more safely.
  • Protect Yourself from Smear Campaigns: Narcissists may try to ruin your reputation by spreading lies. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family who know the truth.
  • Set Firm Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries and stick to them. Don’t allow the narcissist to overstep or manipulate you into changing your mind.
  • Educate Yourself: Consider reading books or seeking support from professionals who specialize in narcissistic abuse. Knowledge is power, and understanding the narcissist’s tactics can be empowering.

“The narcissist will try to get you back into the abuse cycle when you’re trying to reclaim your life, your sanity, and your self-respect. Recognize the manipulation, trust your own reality, and don’t let them violate ypur boundaries.”

11. Add positivity to your life.

Engage in activities and hobbies that bring joy and fulfillment to your life.

  • Embrace Joyful Activities: Engage in hobbies and activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Whether it’s painting, dancing, gardening, or writing, find what makes your heart sing.
  • Cultivate a Positive Mindset: Focus on positive thoughts and affirmations. Practice gratitude by acknowledging the good in your life, even in small ways.
  • Surround Yourself with Positive People: Spend time with friends and family who uplift and support you. Positive connections can have a profound impact on your well-being.
  • Create a Positive Living Space: Decorate your home with colors, art, and objects that make you feel happy and inspired. A positive environment can boost your mood.
  • Explore Nature and the Outdoors: Spend time in nature, go for walks, hikes, or simply enjoy the beauty of the natural world. Nature has a calming and rejuvenating effect.
  • Invest in Your Health and Well-Being: Eat well, exercise regularly, and take care of your physical health. A healthy body supports a positive mind.
  • Set Achievable Goals: Focus on setting and achieving small, positive goals that align with your values and interests. Celebrate your successes along the way.
  • Avoid Negative Media and Influences: Limit exposure to negative news, social media, or toxic individuals. Focus on what uplifts and inspires you.
  • Consider Volunteering or Giving Back: Helping others and contributing to a cause you believe in can add meaning and positivity to your life.

“Adding positivity to your life is a conscious choice to embrace joy, cultivate a positive mindset, surround yourself with uplifting influences, and create a life filled with happiness, purpose, and fulfillment. It’s a journey guided by self-love, intention, and the unwavering belief in your ability to create a bright and beautiful future.”

12. Take help from a therapist.

Talk to a mental health expert who specializes in narcissistic abuse in relationships to guide you through your healing process.

  • Consult a Mental Health Expert: Talk to a mental health expert who specializes in narcissistic abuse in relationships. They can provide personalized support, insights, and therapeutic interventions.
  • Explore Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT, developed by Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s and 1970s, is a helpful way to change the distorted patterns of thinking given to us by the narcissist.
  • Understand the Principles of CBT: Beck based CBT on the idea that our interpretation of events influences our reactions, our interpretations may be distorted and unhelpful, and when we change our interpretations, we change our emotions and behaviors.
  • Recognize the Lasting Impact of CBT: Beck found that when he helped his patients evaluate and change their distorted thinking, they felt better, modified their behavior, and positive effects lasted a long time. CBT became the first therapy to be shown to be more effective than medication for treating depression..
  • Connect with Ancient Wisdom: The idea that our thoughts influence our feelings, and feelings influence our behaviors, has its roots in the ancient philosophy of Stoicism. Quotes like “Man is disturbed not by things, but by the views he takes of them” by Epictetus and “People don’t just get upset. They contribute to their upsetness” by Albert Ellis reflect this wisdom.
  • Acknowledge the Influence of Stoicism: Both Albert Ellis, the developer of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), and Aaron Beck acknowledged the influence of Stoic philosophers on their work.

“Seeking professional help, particularly through Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, is a courageous step towards healing, empowerment, and transformation. It’s a journey guided by expert support, evidence-based therapy, and timeless wisdom, offering a path to reclaim your life, your mind, and your authentic self.”

What is trauma bonding?

Trauma bonding is an unhealthy psychological response to abuse in which the abused person develops feelings for their abuser and wishes to return to them. The victim may grow sympathy for the abuser, which gets perpetuated by successive cycles of abuse and rewards. However, not every victim of long-term abuse develops a trauma bond.

Traumatic bonding is a strong emotional attachment between an abused person and his or her abuser, formed as a result of the cycle of violence.

— Austin & Boyd, 2010

The narcissist abuser mistreats the victim physically, emotionally, and psychologically. However, they also interspersed it with gestures of love, caring, kindness, generosity, and promises not to abuse again.

These little episodes of good behavior, occurring at random between phases of abuse, reinforce trauma bonding.

trauma-bonding is abuse-good-cycle
Trauma bonding: cyclic phases of good behavior and abusive behavior.
  • Trauma bonding is a form of addiction that emerges prominently in the aftermath of a traumatic event. The main feelings involved are attachment, loneliness, fear, and worry.
  • The term “trauma bonding” was first used to describe addiction to certain tormentor-tormented, sadist-masochist, and abuser-abused behaviors.
  • Trauma bonding can form with anyone who witnessed the traumatic event, including romantic partners, friends, family members, and even first responders.
  • A trauma-bonded person may react with anger if you suggest that they need help to stop the abuse. They may even sneer at you, insisting that their abusers love them and that what seems abuse is actually their way of romancing.

Trauma-bonded victims may find it hard to move on after ending the toxic relationship.

Trauma bonding is actually a survival strategy in the victim’s mind. It grows on the false belief that if the victim loves the abuser, they would love them back and hurt them less.

The well-known Stockholm syndrome, in which an abducted person develops sympathy for the captor, is a type of trauma bonding.

However, Stockholm syndrome may have the abuser also softening their stand against the victim whereas, in trauma bonding, the abuser maintains a harsh stance.

Narcissists can often be heartless abusers, and in some cases, they are downright cruel. Some of them might even send their “flying monkeys” to you to get you back if you leave them.

When can trauma bonding happen?

Trauma bonding can happen in love, parent-child, and sibling relationships. It can also occur in cults, hostage situations, human trafficking, sports coaching, and military training.

Trauma bonding is a strong bond between an abuser and their victim, making it difficult to break free from the relationship. When a trauma-bonded narcissistic relationship ends, the person may have withdrawal symptoms.

Research by H. F. Harlow published in Nature of Love (PDF) showed that infant monkeys form attachment bonds even with abusive mothers.

Children are the most vulnerable victims of trauma bonding.

We are conditioned as children to form bonds with a particular type of person.

When the hurt kids grow up, they show signs of repressed childhood trauma. One of them is trauma bonding.

Living with a narcissist in your childhood will always make you gravitate toward narcissists, and make narcissists gravitate toward you.

When we grow up with narcissistic parents, we are likely to develop trauma bonds. When we always see conflicts among parents and get constantly abused as children, we get programmed to seek refuge in those feelings, values, ideals, and emotional environments.

Narcissists use their charms to trick our primitive brain, particularly the amygdala, to fall in love with them.

Once under their spell, they make you feel jumpy, cranky, emotional, and vulnerable all the time. People undergoing narcissistic gaslighting feel disturbed, nervous, and unable to trust themselves.

Stages of Trauma Bonding

Trauma bonding is a condition that occurs when someone who has been terrorized over an extended period of time begins to sympathize with and even care for their captor.

The 7 stages of trauma bonding are:

  1. The honeymoon phase – The first stage can be defined as “the honeymoon period” where the survivor feels relieved from the stress and anxiety of the traumatic event.
  2. The tension phase – They may believe that their captor has been unfairly scapegoated or that others are not aware of the captor’s personal struggles. Trauma bonding can also occur in instances where the victim is too young to understand what is happening, and may exhibit emotional attachment as a result. It includes an emotional dependency on their partner or caregiver, which may lead to them feeling deeply hurt when they are not around.
  3. The love bombing phase – The love bombing phase of trauma bonding is when the abuser shows kindness and affection to the victim. The new relationship is established as a positive, loving one- but it’s an illusion. It’s a ploy to form the trauma bond, which will be used against the victim.
  4. The devaluation phase – With traumatic bonding, it is common for the victim to idealize the abuser, minimize their actions and then devalue them in an attempt to protect themselves. This phase is often a result of trauma and can be difficult to recognize.
  5. The discard phase – The discard phase of trauma bonding occurs when the abuser wants to end the relationship. The abuser may be ending the relationship because they grew bored or are no longer in need of the abused person’s attention. It is characterized by an obsessive need for control over their partner or caregiver, which can lead to extreme jealousy, anger, or violence when they feel like they have lost control over them.
  6. The rescue/hoovering phase – The rescue or hoovering phase of trauma bonding is the second phase of this relationship. This is when the victim realizes that they are trapped and that escape is impossible. They may feel powerless and insignificant, yet still dependent on their abuser for survival.
  7. The recovery stage – The trauma bond is a powerful and unhealthy connection that forms between victim and perpetrator. It is common in abusive relationships, co-dependent relationships, or among victims of kidnapping or hostage situations. Individuals experiencing trauma bonding often have a difficult time breaking the cycle and getting themselves to move on.
Narcissistic Abuse Cycle
Narcissistic Abuse Cycle

Final Words

Narcissists bind you with a few intermittent gestures of love, in between many instances of hurt.

Once you grasp that, you can start to overcome your trauma bonding, and remove yourself emotionally from the need to get their validation, or please the narcissist.

“It is the nature of narcissistic abuse that the victim cares about what the narcissist thinks. Healing means deprogramming the mind from this habit, which is a real thing and does real harm. An important step in this deprogramming is fundamentally embracing the total irrelevance of the narcissist’s feelings or opinions.”

Al Edwards on Quora

But it is often not easy. Trauma bonding is an ongoing process of emotional attachment between an abused victim and their abuser.

It’s a very complicated thing to recover from, but there are many things you can do to make it easier. The worst thing is that they give you trauma and then do not let you process it.

You look at your wounds and do not understand how to nurse them. One crisis pours into another, obscuring your emotional vista. You even forget to laugh with abandon.

• • •

• • •

Author Bio: Written and reviewed by Sandip Roy — medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher.

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When it comes to mental well-being, you don't have to do it alone. Going to therapy to feel better is a positive choice. Therapists can help you work through your trauma triggers and emotional patterns.