4 facts about trauma-bonding in abusive relationships


Avalanche of the soul

Trauma-bonding offers a compelling insight into why people struggle to escape abusive relationships. Here are four facts about what it is and why it works – and how to break the destructive bond.

1) Trauma-bonding is a real thing

Emerging research is shedding new light onto traumatic-bonding, and its role in abusive relationships. Also known as the ‘betrayal bond’, researchers have found it occurs in a variety of traumatic situations:

“the general phenomenon of victims developing emotional attachments to their abusers or captors has been observed in situations of intimate partner violence, child abuse, hostage situations, human trafficking, and cults.” (Reid, Haskell, Dillahunt-Aspillaga, Thor, 2013)

Typically likened to Stockholm Syndrome – named after a high-profile incident in which hostages sided with their captors rather than those that tried to rescue them – traumatic-bonding is an intense attachment to someone to upon whom we feel our survival depends…

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