9 Signs of Traumatic Bonding: “Bonded to the abuser”

What do you know about child abuse? What should you know about child abuse? Did you know that abuse is one of the most traumatizing events that a child could experience? For many children, abuse is unexpected and their ability to cope is often disproportionate to the abuse. Trauma is often defined as a terrible event that outweighs a child’s ability to cope (National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 2015). This inability to cope often leads to mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and even personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder, narcissism, or avoidant personality. Even more, trauma can interfere with our ability to develop and maintain healthy relationships (work, marriage, friend, family) and appropriate social interactions. Trauma can also affect development throughout the lifespan and lead to a lifetime of emotional lability (“switchable” emotional states or moods). This article will briefly explore “Traumatic Bonding” and signs to look for that indicate  traumatic bonding with an abuser.When working with families, I often encourage them to be aware of the types of relationships that can negatively affect a child, adolescent, or adult who has been traumatized. It is the quality of a relationship that can make or break the traumatized individual. We must understand that while a part of the traumatized “victim” is resilient and quite strong, there is another part of them that requires a level of compassion, understanding, sensitivity, empathy, and comfort.


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