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.

WE MUST TREAT IT LIKE AN ADDICTION.

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.

Will I Always Love Him?

like a cactus

I loved him for over 2 years and even though I had not seen him for 11 very long months,  until recently I loved him still and I do not know why.  How could I have loved a man who had shown over and over how little he loves  and cares for me?  Would God be that cruel as to keep me tethered to someone so undeserving of my love and devotion?  Surely there has to be some reason for all the suffering I have endured loving him.  I just would really like to know what the reason is.

I did not want to love him anymore.  I just wanted to be happy and loved.  I wanted to feel the passion and joy I felt with him again.  I truly thought he was my soulmate and yet he chooses to live without me.  How could I ever have loved such a foolish man? A man who was able to put his love for me in a box and shut it away. Now I’m trying hard not to be ashamed that I loved him at all.

He was so different back then. It’s hard to imagine that someone could change so much in less than a year. But as much as he says he hasn’t, he most definitely has. He’s become much less like me and more like her. He’s colder, distant, less caring and loving. He has walls up to keep me out and now I have lost the desire to break them down. I finally realize I have no choice but to let him stay empty, alone and unloved. It’s what he wants and what he has chosen.

I have no place in his life, so there’s no longer any reason to have contact. He is not the man that I loved, wanted and needed and he never will be again. I know that now and I have finally accepted it.

The part I find pretty hysterical is that because he really has no basis for comparison, as she and I are the only 2 women he’s ever been in love with, he really believes that he can get me back if he wants to! He thinks it would take time and a huge amount of effort so he’s not a complete idiot lol. But he honestly believes that if and when he ever leaves, he can just take my love out of the box he put it in 11 months ago and I will accept him. NO friggin way! I am becoming more and more like my old self everyday, BUT I do not forget how weak and pitiful I had become. Months and months of being treated like a human yo-yo, manipulated and given false hope over and over again made me this sad sap. I was unrecognizable to myself sometimes. It was very scary and I will not be repeating the abuse.

I am so lucky to know love is an amazing gift that is to be treasured and respected. To think of it as a burden or a weakness is not only terribly sad, it’s just wrong. Love is not like a baseball card that you can shove in a shoebox, put in a closet and expect to be able to find when or if you’re ready for it! It’s a living, breathing thing that needs to be taken care of, nurtured and cherished. Otherwise it shrivels up and fades away, like dust in the wind.

So will I always love him? As much as I feared this may be a lifelong curse, thankfully it is NOT!  HELL NO!! I am no longer in love with him and I am really happy about it. It was happening gradually over time and with healing. But when he did certain unforgivable things and then proceeded to manipulate me to ease his own suffering when I blocked him from my life? Then I knew he was too selfish and self-absorbed to worry about anyone other than himself and his family.  He is no longer the same man, so loving him is no longer possible.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Go where the love and great sex is!!!

How Many Chances?

 

never let u go

I know some people would rather I never mention a certain person EVER AGAIN lol. If that is the case, skip this post and come back tomorrow lol. Please let me be 100% clear.  This was how I felt IN THE PAST.  It is NOT how I feel anymore. I just wasn’t ready to let him go for so long.  I had so much love for him and hope that he would find his way back to me.  

Don’t you just love an eternal optimist? Well that’s definitely me!  I was so hurt, betrayed and angry but underneath it all was hope.  False hope is such a bitch!  Even more than Karma lol! It keeps you loving and missing someone long after they should be but a memory.  I was never as strong as everyone thinks I am.  I missed him so much, some days I didn’t know how I would make it through.

But somewhere along the way, I went from loving him to needing him.  It became unhealthy, like an addiction.  I kept needing more and more to satisfy me. I know now that it was my subconscious way of knowing that I was skating on thin ice and was about to fall through to the murky, icy waters below.  He wasn’t ready to build a life with me, even though he told me he was.  I guess deep down inside somewhere, I knew that.  That’s why I was so insecure.  When someone leaves you, it makes you feel insecure!

I realize now that it was extremely foolish and naive to think a relationship could’ve possibly worked out, especially back in November when his family threatened to disown him if he left so n so for me. We all need love and support from our family and friends. That’s what life is all about. Family, friends, love, laughter, relationships, and joy. His kids are the most important thing in his life, as they should be, and it’s stressful enough knowing your parents live separate lives.  To throw me in the mix would’ve hurt them and I never wanted that.  Kids don’t ask to be born and they deserve every chance for a happy, secure life.

An affair is, despite how you may feel while you are in it, an extra relationship. While mine wasn’t a secret from my hubby, I wasn’t open with him about it. Sometimes, it was like he was in a prison and I was stuck in there with him.  The insane part is that I was there through my own choice! At the time, I just wasn’t ready to face up to the big problem in my marriage, a lack of physical intimacy.

 All I know is he was able to put my love in a fuckin box!!!!  Wow, really dude?!?!  Well, if you are able to just stick my love in a box, then it couldn’t have meant that much to you in the first place.  Why are guys so much better than women at compartmentalizing?  It’s such a nifty ability when you want to lie to yourself and keep things separate in your head.  Just probably not the healthiest way to go through life. I think it’s a blessing in disguise I found out how damaged and addicted he was before I made any major changes in my life.

Why did I give him a few chances?!?!?!  When someone shows you who they really are, BELIEVE THEM!!!  But that’s the thing. Despite the fact that he hurt me, can I truly fault him for trying to save his marriage and family? Even though so n so’s a narcissist, they have still been married 19 years. Just another lesson. Affairs suck n cause everyone a lot of pain, even the cheater. That is one of the many lessons I have learned over the last 2 years.  I guess that was what this was all about. Teaching me lessons that I needed to learn.  And I absolutely have, whether I wanted to or not.

So how many chances do we give those we love before it’s enough??  How many chances before we must let go and wish them well?  And how many before it goes from loving someone to being a doormat?

more-chances-disrespecting-you-8w5t

Betrayal is A Real Bitch!

betrayal

Betrayal. A breach of trust. Fear. What you thought was true-counted on to be true- was not.  It was just smoke and mirrors, outright deceit and lies.  Sometimes it was hard to tell because there was just enough truth to make everything seem okay.  Even a little truth with just the right spin can cover the outrageous.  Worse there are the times of seeming sincerity and care that effectively obscure what you know to be true.  It was exploitation, not love.  You were used.  Everything in you wants to believe you weren’t.  Please make it not be true, you pray.  Yet enough proof has emerged.  Facts that can no longer be denied.

Betrayal.  You can’t explain it away anymore.  A pattern exists and you know that now.  You can no longer return to the way it was (which was never really as it seemed).  That would be unbearable.  But to move forward means certain pain.  No escape and no in-between.  Choices have to be made today, not tomorrow.  The usual ways you numb yourself will not work.  The reality is too great, too relentless.

Betrayal is a form of abandonment.  But I haven’t been abandoned, my wife or husband is still here, you tell yourself.  Often abandonment is difficult to see because the betrayer can still be close, even intimate.  Yet YOUR interests, YOUR well-being is continually sacrificed.

Abandonment is at the core of addictions.  Abandonment causes deep shame but abandonment by betrayal is so much worse than mindless neglect.  Betrayal is purposeful, self-serving and traumatic.

But that is not the worst part.  The worst part is a mind-numbing, highly addictive and strong attachment to the person who has hurt you!  You may even try to explain and help them understand what they are doing- convert them into non-abusers.  You will probably blame yourself, your defects and your failed efforts.  You strive to do better as your life and any shred of happiness slips further and further away. 

These attachments cause you to not trust your judgment, distort your own realities and memories and place yourself at even greater risk.  The great irony?  You are bracing yourself against further hurt.  The result? A guarantee of more pain!!

These attachments have a name.  They are called traumatic bonds or betrayal bonds.  Exploitative relationships like that with an overt or covert narcissist, create these bonds. These occur when a victim bonds with someone who is destructive to him or her.  Thus the hostage becomes the champion of the hostage-taker and the victim becomes the champion of their abuser.

Oh Crap

So my day was going great. The sun was shining this morning and I love the people I work with. We are a family and we take care of one another. We also get on each other’s nerves sometimes but hey that’s what family does lol.

Then I got this really bad feeling that P was struggling. I have always known things that I have no way of knowing. It’s happened throughout my life and my family lovingly refers to me sometimes as the good witch. It’s only people I’m close to but it is a little bizarre, freaky and completely out of my control. And yes I’m still waiting for winning Powerball numbers lol.

So I sent P a message just asking if he was ok. He asked if he could call and after a little while I agreed. I know I’m an idiot and he did not deserve my compassion but I am who I am.

Basically, like me, he’s been trying to repair his broken marriage. He’s been going to counseling and sometimes she even goes with him. Unlike me, he’s miserable and struggling. He’s married to a frigid narcissist and last week she told him she’s not in love with him and thinks of him as a friend.

He said he regrets staying but he felt it was his only choice. He said he misses me everyday and his love for me hasn’t diminished. I told him that after all the pain he caused my love for him had.

He apologized for hurting me and for being a selfish ahole. He cried. I told him I never really understood how damaged he is and that I hope he keeps going to counseling. The psychologist thinks he needs to come twice a week.

The only positive news was that his daughter has started counseling. It is required if she wants to go to the only high school that would take her next year. I know that deep down underneath all that attitude, lying and manipulating, she is a terribly unhappy little girl that has put up so many walls to protect herself. For anyone thinking it has anything to do with me, her problems started 2 years before he even met me.

I told him about my blog and how much it has helped me to heal my heart. He asked if he could read it. I told him I would need to think about it.

Well I have thought about it and my answer is NO. Hell no! I wish him well and hope he finds peace and happiness someday. But my blog is mine. Even my H understands it is my outlet and has not asked to read it.

Which brings me to the most important part,  my husband. He is not perfect but he is a good, kind and loving man. I am truly lucky that he has stuck by my side through everything as I have stuck by his. He says I am his soulmate, not P and I am starting to believe that again.