How to Break A Trauma Bond

I could hear the yelling outside despite the fact that I was in the house with the door closed. My husband was on a cell phone with my trauma-bonded abuser. They weren’t on speaker either. I could still hear every word. Cultivated over many decades, this was the “mother of all trauma bonds” pun intended. I had reached a point of such desperation, there were two choices left. Die or go no contact. 

Every single part of me demanded I stay in the relationship. Fear, obligation, guilt, self-hatred, confusion, self-doubt, longing, sorrow. Every emotion was wrapped around this one decision. I was about to end all hope of ever being loved, of ever-changing the past, of ever being understood. I looked into the abyss. I was never going to get my abuser’s approval. They were never, ever, ever going to change.

The voice on the other end of the phone screeched. “How dare you get in the way of me!” they said to my husband. “SHE BELONGS TO ME!”

And there it was. My abuser had accidentally revealed the truth. To them, I was nothing more than property. Just a repository for all their angst, dysfunction, sadness, anxiety, anger and frustration. Without me, they would be forced to face their own life, the one thing they couldn’t and wouldn’t do. They demanded I stay.

The realization that the only way I could ever get them to stop was to leave came crashing down. It was the last thing I wanted to do and it was the only thing I could do.

Breaking trauma bonds are not always as dramatic as this. Sometimes you can coexist with a narcissist by going “Grey Rock.” Make no response, sharing nothing personal keep all interaction surface. Becoming a “Grey Rock” whenever that person is around. But some times, trauma bonds are so powerful and so destructive, they must be completely annihilated in order for the victim to live. 

It took a long time. I had to wade through terrible guilt and crushing fear. But after awhile, I realized I wasn’t going to be destroyed because I said no. The world did not end because I walked away. And the main thing I learned? The power my abuser held over me was nothing but a lie. I was the one with power. The power to believe the truth. The power to take action and the power to walk away.

That’s how you break a trauma bond—

1.Believe the truth

2. Take action

3.Protect yourself

Defy Trauma! Embrace Joy!

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