The “Addictive” Trauma Bond-Learning What It Is And How To Help Yourself Heal

Source: The “Addictive” Trauma Bond-Learning What It Is And How To Help Yourself Heal

The “Addictive” Trauma Bond-Learning What It Is And How To Help Yourself Heal

     The following gives an accurate description of the highly ‘addictive’ quality of traumatic relationships with the disordered. The following is by Dr. Patrick Carnes and from his book, “The Betrayal Bond”. This is an excellent resource for your recovery:

Trauma Bonds by Patrick J. Carnes, Ph.D., CAS
Abandonment and trauma are at the core of addictions. Abandonment causes deep shame. Abandonment by betrayal is worse than mindless neglect. Betrayal is purposeful and self-serving. If severe enough, it is traumatic. What moves betrayal into the realm of trauma is fear and terror. If the wound is deep enough and the terror big enough, the body alters. The system elevates into an alarm state, never safe. Waiting for the hurt again. In that state of readiness the client doesn’t notice that part of them has died. The client is grieving.

What we see is highly addictive attachment to the persons who have hurt the clients. The clients may even blame themselves, their defects, their failed efforts. The clients strive to do better as their lives slip away amongst all the intensity. These attachments cause the clients to distrust their own judgment, to distort their own realities so much, the clients can place themselves at more risk. The clients are bracing themselves against further hurt. Taking precautions which almost guarantee more pain. These attachments have a name. They are called trauma bonds.

Exploitive relationships create trauma bonds. These occur when a victim bonds
with someone who is destructive to them. Similarly, adult survivors of abusive
and dysfunctional families struggle with bonds that are rooted in their own
trauma experiences. To be loyal to that which does not work – or worse, to a
person who is toxic, exploitive, or destructive to the client, is a form of insanity.

There is a universal stumbling block that I have noticed with survivors, as well as from time to time within myself, that I’ve given much thought too. A survivor was in distress about this the other day because her mind kept gravitating toward her ex. She has been out of the relationship about two years, just as I have been.
She explained her circumstances and I shared that I would ponder…then I had an “aha!” moment!

The more I think about these relationships, along with similar but not always exact patterns I see with survivors, it is becoming crystal clear to me how the ‘addictive’ component plays out and how compelling it truly is.


The psychopath was our drug. We had chemical changes in the brain when due to the intense cognitive dissonance in the relationship. This means moving goal posts in our realities with him. He’s nice one minute, but utterly cruel the next. He can go a week and it is peaceful, but then we find out he’s cheating. Many scenarios can play out…so is he good, or is he bad? This cycle sets up the trauma bond, or rather the addictive element due to the severity of the insidiousness of the abuse.

So, let me ask you this:  Have you had another addiction you’ve struggled with? There are many, addictions to substances is only one area of addiction. We have addictions to food,  to sex,  to spending, to hoarding…anything can be addictive.
When we give it up we are in pain  from withdrawal. Our brains were wired through trauma and so we are literally re-wiring it  to do something else.

When you are recovering from addiction, when do you think it is most likely that you will have cravings? During times of stress maybe? When you’re lonely? Another trigger?

This is why you think of him. This is why.

It’s not ‘missing’ of him in the sense that you miss an abusive and dangerous predator, it’s that you miss the addiction to the cycles he created. When we remove any addiction, we must stay away from any sources or individuals that are likely to trigger a craving that leads to cognitive dissonance, that could lead us to contact. The craving is what causes a relapse. WE WANT A HIT OF OUR DRUG. The idea is to get enough TIME away from it to heal our brains, and to fill the huge void he left behind.

So what do we do when we are addicted to something and are in recovery or trying to do something different?

Note: This article also applies to men who are survivors of psychopathic and narcissistic women.

17 thoughts on “The “Addictive” Trauma Bond-Learning What It Is And How To Help Yourself Heal

  1. Jarrod C says:

    I don’t believe in the theory of chemical imbalances and such. I do believe that humans become conditioned to what they know and find solace in that even if they know it is wrong for them.

    I am also of the opinion that our temperament and the experiences we have especially when young largely shapes who we are and how we approach life. The human mind is an incredible tool and much stronger than people think. Our mind and will allows us to achieve great goals but also becomes our biggest enemy.

    This article was challenging to read because it brought back a flood of emotions from my own abuse and journey to overcome it and change my way of thinking. Hope your journey continues to be a positive one.

    Liked by 2 people

    • emmagc75 says:

      Um Jarrod? I have a chemical imbalance that causes severe clinical depression. It’s not a theory lol. I have a will of steel but it’s useless if I’m literally crying hysterically 24/7 for absolutely no reason.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jarrod C says:

        I respect your opinion Emma but we will have to agree to disagree concerning the chemical imbalance topic.

        I know your journey has had many challenges in the past couple years. Your will is very strong and it will help you to continue to navigate hurdles you encounter.

        Liked by 1 person

        • emmagc75 says:

          Unfortunately it’s not an opinion, it’s a proven fact. It came on suddenly at age 18. It’s kind of offensive to me that you don’t think they exist. Also kind of funny cause I really wish you were right lol. Hope you’re well xo!


            • mmbhatt says:

              Chemical imbalances in the brain are physiologically and neurologically true. It’s a general study in neurobiology as well as psychobiology. These chemical imbalances are generally hormones and neurotransmitters. For an example, if you have a depleted serotonin level because neurons have exhibited an increased excitatory state because the signal to stop the firing has not passed, at a point all serotonin has been released. Since balance is needed in all aspects to maintain homeostasis, neurology, physiology and behaviors are all affected due to the imbalance in the brain. So, sorry Jarrod, it is more of a right or wrong here, not agree to disagree. 🙂

              Liked by 3 people

              • emmagc75 says:

                Thank you for this comment. I knew this, although you said it perfectly lol. It’s like disagreeing cancer exists or diabetes. Kind of WHY those of us unfortunate enough to suffer from a chemical imbalance have the added shame of an invisible illness. As my neurologist and psychopharmacologist/psychiatrist have both told me, I have no deep seeded issues or trauma. It’s simply a chemical imbalance. Thanks again!


                • Jarrod C says:

                  I’ve read your blog for a long time. How you can say you have worked with a psychologist and he/she says you have not suffered psychological damage is unbelievable. Most of your posts are centered around narcissism and the affects of the psychological abuse associated with it. You have written most from a 1st person point of view based upon your experiences. That you honestly believe that has not taken any effect on you and contributed to your depression is unbelievable. There is no doubt dealing with those individuals shaped your mindset and views of yourself. That is psychology 101. I am almost at a loss you wrote that.

                  I don’t care to use the term “issues” because I find people associate a negative connotation with that. I don’t think that is fair or warranted so I am not going to apply it to you. People may “poo-poo” that statement but I don’t want it to appear as I am attacking you. That obviously was not my purpose in commenting.


                  • emmagc75 says:

                    Unbelievable?? Lol Well it’s the truth. Oh Jarrod I’m sorry if you misunderstood. I don’t think you know what you’re talking about at all. I’ve never been abused or in a relationship with a narcissist. And yes I, like everyone on the earth, have problems. Jarrod your statements here were out of order and an attack, make no mistake about it. I’m sorry you’re angry that someone else called you out on your ridiculous assertion that chemical imbalances don’t exist. But to take that out on me? Unlike you I won’t use personal information against you but YOU have issues. I have unfollowed you and would appreciate you NOT reading my blog anymore. Thanks and good luck to you.


                    • emmagc75 says:

                      I posted all your comments except the pseudoscience 10 page diatribe. I think you’re the ONLY one that doesn’t publish comments Jarrod. But don’t think a few of your readers won’t come to my blog and see what you wrote. We bloggers are a curious group lol.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • emmagc75 says:

                      The truth is enough for me. Which is why I posted YOUR many comments Jarrod. Sadly you did not think it necessary to extend me the same courtesy. It saddens me that you’re a hypocrite. Goodbye Jarrod.

                      Liked by 1 person

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