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What is Trauma-Bonding?

Updated: May 18, 2023

The term "trauma bonding" refers to the intense emotional attachment that develops between two individuals who have shared a traumatic experience. It is a relationship that is frequently characterized by strong feelings of commitment, dependency, and loyalty. Trauma bonding can occur in a variety of contexts, such as friendships, romantic relationships, and even abusive or captivity-related circumstances.


When people endure a traumatic event together, they may grow close and have a great deal of trust in one another. A strong emotional connection can be established as a result of this trust. Trauma bonding, however, can also be a harmful coping strategy that results in a vicious cycle of abuse and continuous trauma.


Trauma bonding can sometimes be characterized by feelings of dependency on the captor or abuser, difficulty leaving the circumstance or the relationship, and strong guilt or shame when contemplating leaving. It may also entail rationalizing the abuser's behaviours, even when they are harmful.

Trauma bonding can be challenging to unravel as it frequently comes with strong feelings of love and loyalty for the captor or abuser. It's crucial to understand that trauma bonding is not a healthy or sustainable method of coping with trauma. Breaking the cycle of trauma bonding may require seeking support from a therapist or support group.


It's crucial to keep in mind that trauma bonding is not your fault, and that support is available if you or someone you love is going through it. Breaking the cycle of trauma bonding and starting the path to healing and recovery are both attainable with the right support and resources.

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