TRAUMA BONDING NUMBER ONE: STOCKHOLM SYNDROME

Nino says, “I grew up witnessing my narcissistic dad abuse and hurt my mom. My mom is very codependent. I have grown up to battle the effects of all that. Currently in recovery. All my life (over 50 years now) I wondered why my mom couldn’t just leave my father so that she could be happy. Over 50 years later, she is still with him. Not any bit happier, but still with him. There is barely a smile on her face. Her self-esteem and worth are basically under my dad’s feet. She walks on eggshells trying all means to please my father. Her good acts are barely reciprocated. But surprisingly, she views my dad as her savior. She says she can’t imagine what life will be like without him.”

Sounds familiar right?

I know we know a person or two with a similar story.

You are asking yourself why this person can’t just leave this union where they are never appreciated, where they are constantly abused, where they don’t seem to be their happier selves, where their growth is limited…

Or you could be that person. You are wondering why it is so hard to detangle from this person that seems to cause you pain and trauma repeatedly. Why is it so hard to imagine yourself without them?

It is not surprising that victims of an abusive relationship or marriage will think of suicide more than they would think of just cutting ties or leaving the abusive person.

Remember R.Kelly’s ex-wife? Before she found the courage and strength to leave the man who she knew as her husband for 13 years, she attempted suicide. And this attempt wasn’t her first suicidal thought. She had had the thought on several other occasions.

We have heard stories, know someone, seen people who have attempted or even committed suicide or at the very least, had the thought to just end it all because the abuse or the maltreatment or the betrayal is just too much to bear. And we ask, why can’t this person just leave this relationship/this man or woman/this marriage instead of thinking that death is what will save them from the abuse?

Well,

Any form of abuse comes with an insanely crazy bond that logic can’t really explain.

As a victim you know what you should do, but can’t just get yourself to act it out. You always find yourself drawn to your abuser. You feel like your place is with them and there can’t be a better life out there. There could be moments you have left but crawled your way back. Your family and friends don’t know how to help you anymore. Subconsciously, your abuser has become your little god or savior.

There is more to it than it meets mere logic.

Chemical changes in the brain that make the victims addicted to the abusive person.

Think of a woman that is abducted and raped and released only after a few hours. Chances are this woman will resent and loath her rapist and wouldn’t want anything that reminds her of the guy.

Now think about a woman or a child that is abducted and held hostage for months or years and raped repeatedly like the example I gave in my last blog of Natascha Kampusch. Chances are this woman or child will develop certain positive feelings towards her rapist. Small acts of kindness that assure the victim’s survival despite the dominant abuse makes the victim start looking at her abuser as her savior, because her life is literally in her abuser’s hands.

Here is the thing,

Abusive people do not 100% engage in abusive acts. There are moments when they show little acts of kindness. They cycle between being abusive and acts of love and care. This is a cycle that is extremely detrimental on the brain, soul and general wellbeing of their victims.

Victims of abusive partners leave in fear of the abuser striking any time. However, during the little moments when the abusive partner shows some acts of love or care, there is a sudden release of feel good endorphins. Because for the victim this is a rare feeling, it comes as a huge favor from the abuser. The surge of these endorphins stimulated by the abuser’s acts of kindness is what creates a deep connection to the abuser.

You are used to them treating you in a way that stimulates negative emotions. One act of them stimulating happy emotions is bound to be met with a huge sense of gratitude from you.

For example, they will deny you a right to work, dictate when you leave the house, deny you having friends or even interacting or visiting family and in the midst of all come home having bought you a dress or something you might really be in need of. That act will come with a surge of dopamine, serotonin that will draw you closer to them making them come out as your hero or savior.

Or they will beat you up and still be the ones to drive you to the hospital and pay the hospital bills. So you feel like them taking you to the hospital is a huge favor they have done because naturally you aren’t used to them being caring. However, for the narcissist, the little acts of kindness are just to keep you in their web.

Like the rapist will feed his victim to sustain her but still repeatedly rape her, that is exactly what narcissistic abusive people do.

Eventually you become addicted to them.

More like one gets addicted to dangerous drugs.

A drug addict knows the drugs are dangerous. Knows they are slowly killing him. Knows his only rescue is cutting ties with those drugs and seeking rehabilitation but he cannot just stop taking them because his brain keeps craving for the thrill the drugs give him.

Same thing

A victim of abuse knows that they are being abused. They know this abuse is very dangerous for them and their wellbeing. They know the only solution is to seek a safe space to heal away from the abuser but can’t just seem to be able to leave.

This is why taking chances with an abusive person should NEVER be considered. The moment you realize or see the signs that they are abusive, it is best to cut ties early because the longer you stay, the harder it gets to save yourself and you end up living a relatively miserable life, damaged, battling various psychological, mental  even physical issues. We have heard of people who end up committing suicide, being killed, dying of illnesses related to stress like Hypertension, stress, depression, Stomach ulcers…

Just like consistent use of drugs leads to addiction that can be life threatening, so is consistent exposure to abusive acts from a spouse.

YOU WILL FIND YOURSELF CRAVING THE SAME THING THAT KEEPS DESTROYING YOU.

STAY SANE

STAY BLESSED

BY JACKIE WANGWE

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