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.

Addicted to Love? It’s Actually Your Brain, Not You!

love is a drug

I knew it had to be something more than just heartbreak. It has NEVER taken me as long to get over a relationship as it took this past year. I’m passionate and loving but I’ve never felt anything as strong as this for as long as I did.  I missed him like I have never missed anyone in my whole life, except my Mom.

I can only surmise that because of his actions, he created a fear of abandonment in a woman who had absolutely NO history of that type of issue in her previous 39 years on this earth. And it has been proven that a fear of abandonment can lead to love addiction. 

It actually really helps knowing there is an explanation for the severe compulsion and unhealthy need I had to contact him so long after he had proven how little I actually mattered to him. The truth is I was conditioned because of certain events that occurred during the almost 2 years we were together.

Thankfully those days are now behind me (although not far enough behind me as I would like lol). There’s no more compulsion and I am finally free. 


You might as well face it. According to a new study, you really can be addicted to love.

From looking at the brain scans of the broken-hearted, researchers found that recovering from a break-up is like a kicking an addiction to a drug.

“Romantic love is an addiction,” said Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist at Rutgers University and author of the study. “My guess is that our modern addictions — nicotine, drugs, sex, gambling — are simply hijacking this ancient brain pathway that evolved millions of years ago, that evolved for romantic love. … The brain system evolved to focus your energy on an individual and start the mating process.”

Fisher, who has long examined the evolutionary underpinnings of love, sex and relationships, said that she previously studied the happily-in-love. But she said this recent study on the just-jilted and dejected is the most important one she’ll ever do.

“Nobody gets out of love alive,” Fisher said. “You turn into a menace or a pest when you’ve been rejected. That’s when people stalk or commit suicide. … There’s a very powerful brain system that has a dramatic effect on your entire life.”

Love, Like a Drug, Can Make a Person Obsess, Crave

“Our poets, our songs, our novels, our sitcoms, our operas, our plays, have been discussing it forever and now we can confirm it with what we found in the brain,” she said.

To test her love-as-an-addiction hypothesis, Fisher recruited 15 college-age, heterosexual men and women still raw and reeling from a recent break-up. On average, the participants had been rejected about two months prior to the study and said they were still in love.

As the participants looked at images of their ex lovers, the researchers looked at images of the participants’ brains.

The parts of the brain that lit up were the same ones associated with cocaine and nicotine addiction, physical pain and distress and attachment, Fisher said.

“You just crave this person. You’re willing to do crazy things, stupid things,” she said. Just as a person would while fighting a drug addiction, she said, a lovelorn person obsesses, craves and distorts reality.

Study Could Help Love Addicts

And the implications for treatment could be profound.

“I think this helps in what to do about it. If it really is an addiction, you have to treat it as an addiction,” she said. For example, when it comes to trying to stay friends for exchange letters and e-mails, she asid just say no.”It’s like trying to give up cigarettes and having one every afternoon. It’s just not going to happen,” she said.

While psychologists have long helped clients cope with obsessions with love and relationships, some say the backing of science could further help those seeking treatment for the condition.

“As soon as there’s a label, that’s a big reason people feel better, they blame themselves less,” said Dr. Judy Kuriansky, a New York psychologist and author of “The Complete Idiots Guide to Dating.” “As soon as you can say this is a chemical reaction in the brain, then they’re less likely to stay in bed longer, to berate themselves, to put the cover over … because there is an explanation.”

Information Could Be Abused

Still, she said, there are also potential downsides.

“The danger I think is that people don’t take responsibility,” she said. “Let me blame the chemical in my brain and not take responsibility for the fact that I can’t cope … and take responsibility by examining your own participation and defining what your choices are.”

The identification of a physical cause could also mean that people seek physical answers, she said, for example, in the form of pop-able pills.

“So it could be used very effectively or it could be abused,” she said. “But in general, for most people it can be very helpful because they can say, ‘I have this problem. I can get over it. I know it will pass.”

Susan Peabody, love addiction counselor, author of “Addiction to Love” and co-founder of Love Addicts Anonymous, said Fisher’s study is among the most groundbreaking studies on the chemistry of love.

Long known to experts in the self-help field, love produces mind-altering chemicals to which we can become addicted.

“This study legitimizes what we already know,” she said. “How does this help us love addicts? For one, it reduces the shame we have for being a love addict because it makes love addiction a legitimate form of mental illness like all addictions.”

Love Heals All Wounds, Even Science Says So

While the information doesn’t yet make love addiction more treatable, she said it moves the field closer to medical treatment.

In the meantime, Fisher said her study gives scientific support to one more time-tested adage: as time goes on, the pain fades away.

“Time does heal,” she said, explaining that as more time passed, activity in the parts of the brain associated with attachment and addiction decreased. “People have always said time heals and we’ve proven it.”

Wednesday Wisdom

what you deserve

Never chase love

Why was I always so 100% sure we were meant to be together?  I mean like more sure than I have ever been about anything in my whole life sure.  Now I’m a bit scared and freaked out that I could have been so completely wrong about someone.  I do know I should have cut off all contact last November when we broke up.  He has never once chosen me (he says he did in June before his son threatened suicide when they announced they were separating and he got sucked back in but that’s crap).  He is actually waiting for the narcissist to tell him she doesn’t love him so he can leave!!  Yeah, he’s gonna be waiting a LONG LONG time lol. Some people are just more comfortable being treated like crap and he is one of them.

Most women, myself included, need to know they are #1 in the heart of the man they love to feel happy and secure in the relationship.  After choosing to stay with her over and over and over, he could never possibly hope to make me ever believe that.  And I am too good a woman to ever come second to a lying, manipulative,  shoplifting, crazy narcissistic piece of trash like her.  He’s a blind fool and I am finally starting to believe they truly do deserve one another lol.