Being in a relationship with a person who’s really full of themselves, a narcissist can be tough. It can make you feel very connected to them, even when they hurt you. This connection is what we call “trauma bonding.” It’s like a strong glue holding you together.
In this guide, we’ll talk about what trauma bonding is and go through seven stages that show how it happens. Knowing these stages can help you understand what you’re going through and hopefully find a way out of the challenging situation, so you can start healing and discovering yourself again.
Trauma Bonding With Narcissists: What Is It?
Trauma bonding is a deep emotional connection that forms between a person and a narcissist, making it difficult to break free from the toxic relationship. It’s like a strong glue that keeps you stuck, despite the pain and harm caused by the narcissist. This bond often develops because the narcissist alternates between being charming and hurtful, creating a rollercoaster of emotions.
Understanding the 7 Stages of Trauma Bond Relationship
A trauma bond relationship usually follows seven stages, and understanding these stages can provide insight into the emotional ups and downs you might be going through.
At the start, the narcissist showers you with love and attention, making you feel incredibly special. You believe they’re your soulmate, and it’s hard not to get swept up in this fairy tale.
Once the idealization stage ends, a narcissist’s behavior takes a sharp turn. They start to find faults, put you down, and sometimes even emotionally or verbally mistreat you. This sudden change can leave you feeling bewildered and deeply hurt.
3. Cognitive Dissonance
It can be really tough when you have mixed emotions, trying to make sense of the kind and loving person you initially met, and the hurtful side they’ve turned into. This inner struggle can cause a lot of distress.
4. Traumatic Events
Narcissists often create traumatic situations, leaving you feeling vulnerable and dependent on them for emotional support, even though they’re the ones causing the pain.
The narcissist isolates you from friends and family, making you feel even more reliant on them for emotional connection and support.
6. Intermittent Reinforcement
At times, the narcissist goes back to being charming, showing glimpses of the person you fell in love with. These moments of kindness can make you hold onto hope for a change in the relationship.
7. Breaking Point Or Awakening
After enduring the cycle, you may reach a breaking point, realizing the relationship is unhealthy. This can be the moment of awakening, leading you to seek help and break free from the trauma bond.
Understanding these stages is essential for recognizing and healing from a trauma bond with a narcissist, ultimately helping you regain control of your life and emotional well-being.
How can you break free from the trauma bond cycle?
Breaking free from a trauma bond with a narcissist is challenging but possible. It starts with recognizing the relationship’s toxicity and seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist. Establish clear boundaries, prioritize self-care, and educate yourself about narcissistic behavior and trauma bonding. Plan an exit strategy if possible, embrace “No Contact” to cut ties, consider therapy, and rebuild your life with patience, knowing that healing takes time.
Do you know what a trauma bond in a narcissistic relationship is all about? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments!