Intense negative emotional experience with a toxic or a narcissistic person usually leads to trauma bonding.
Trauma bonding is the biggest reason many victims of abuse and violence are stuck in abusive relationships and marriages.
It hold victims hostage to their abusers, sometimes for years even a life time.
They become the narcissist’s puppet to manipulate and toy around with for personal gains.
It doesn’t help that occasionally the narcissist will throw in acts of kindness and care. Almost like if you were thrown in the middle of a desert and forced to walk alone for long, dry and thirsty, hungry and tired and just when you are about to give up the person that threw you in the desert appears with a quarter glass of cold water just enough to make you so grateful to them even think of them as your savior.
Unfortunately, most victims are in complete ignorance (ignorance having been used subtly here) of why for the past 5 years, 10 years, 20…they have watched their spouse torment and hurt them and as much as they wish they were not with the person, somehow they just haven’t found a way out of the relationship.
And it isn’t their fault that they are in complete darkness about what ails their souls.
For you to be able to know you have malaria, you first need to know how malaria presents in the first place.
They lack awareness.
The following is a relative summary of some of the symptoms that will tell if you are trauma bonded or not.
- You know this person has been hurting you for years, you know how manipulative they are, you may even resent the person for making you go through so much pain but whenever they show you just a little cramps of love you fall for them and mistake their antics for love. Do you sometimes find yourself convinced that they might love you after all whenever they do a small act of care or kindness despite knowing the pain they have taken you through and probably knowing this is not the first time they have acted nice then went back to hurting you?
- You feel like it is your responsibility to a certain level to “fix” them and make them better people. You may have thought about leaving but somehow convinced yourself that they need you, that you are the only person who can make them better. This is when victims embark on things like praying for the victim to change, changing themselves to something the victim is happy with…
- You find yourself trying the hardest to make the family look perfect for the narcissist. You even take up more responsibilities including finances and generally making sure all is well and the family is standing while the narcissist does very little to make the family stand.
- You hide and cover up your emotions in front of the abuser and other people most of the time. Even when you are hurt you try so hard to act like you are not hurt and everything is okay.
- You do things to please them with very little to nothing in return. You rarely complain when they ask for too much and give you too little because you are afraid of their rage or upsetting them. You basically walk on eggshells to please them even when it hurts you.
- Your whole world seems to revolve around them. As much as you lose more than you gain, it is almost like you can’t do without them. You spend so much time and energy trying to explain yourself to them, to get them to see your point so that they can treat you better. You go out of your way to try and make them better even though this keeps working against you. You end up going to bed exhausted and restless.
- You find yourself protecting the abuser. You explain away their behavior, give excuses for how they are treating you and basically bring them out as good people who were just triggered to treat you that way. You even end up blaming yourself for their behavior. This is a major sign that you are trauma bonded.
- You keep on lowering your standards to fit in the abusive person’s expectations of you. You strip down your self-worth just to accommodate their vicious needs. Narcissists make you believe that you are worthless and just good for being used. They convince you that you aren’t enough so you keep fighting for their approval. You break down your boundaries just to have them approve of you.
- You focus more on how they feel more than how you feel. You find yourself caring more about how this and that will make them feel and react and forget about how they make you feel.
- You just can’t seem to be able to leave even though you know how abusive they are. Many times you come with reasons why you can’t leave regardless of how drained and pained you are.
We need to keep reminding ourselves that any form of abuse to a parent doesn’t just end with the parent, the damage is extended to the kids that are being raised by this abused parent. It is even more urgent for people to untangle themselves from any form abuse whenever kids are involved because damage done to one child is damage done to the generations to come.
IT IS TIME TO BREAK THE CYCLES
Let’s stop burying our heads and speak up and against any form of domestic violence/abuse.
BY JACKIE WANGWE