Some people in recovery may or may not have heard the expression trauma bonding before. Not having heard of the term could be a good thing, or perhaps you just have yet to understand the signs and symptoms yourself. Maybe you are well aware of trauma bonding from your experience or the experiences of those who are close to you.
At its core, a trauma bond is how we mentally, emotionally, or psychologically respond to abuse. In other words, trauma bonding describes the relationship that develops between someone who is being abused and their abuser. There is a strong connection between addiction, mental illness, and the experience of trauma and abuse in personal relationships. In some situations, addiction is the direct result of an abusive relationship. In other cases, addiction may even be the driving factor for someone to remain in an abusive situation. The possibilities in which we can experience trauma are endless. For those in recovery, it is important to understand the negative impact a trauma bond can have on you, the threat it poses to your recovery, and how to become free from the trauma.
Understanding Trauma Bonding Further
For individuals who are in a trauma bond, it may be difficult to recognize the signs within their relationship. It can be even harder to accept the relationship for what it is and free yourself from that relationship. A common issue that people may not realize is a type of trauma bond is Stockholm Syndrome. Commonly associated with kidnappings or similar situations, Stockholm Syndrome is essentially the psychological response of someone who has been kept against their will and/or abused and has developed a connection, or bond, with the person holding them hostage. Victims may become sympathetic with or even come to love their captor.
Trauma bonds, like those formed in Stockholm Syndrome and everyday relationships, are often a coping mechanism for the abused victim. Even when someone does find themself in a trauma bond, there are many reasons they struggle to find freedom. They may be incredibly attached to their abuser because the relationship began and once was one of love and trust. Sometimes the abuser is a parent, and the child in question has no one else to turn to. Taking the first step to breaking that bond takes a lot of courage, but once you do, you can finally experience the freedom of taking control of your life – and there is no other feeling quite like that.
How Trauma Bonding Threatens Recovery
Trauma bonding poses a serious threat to you once you have left treatment. Early on in your recovery, you may find yourself back in a certain situation that is not conducive to sobriety. That can include feeling the need to return to an abuser, not having another place to live, or, perhaps, the abuser is the person who perpetuated the substance use before entering treatment. Unfortunately, addiction can develop as a result of someone trying to cope with neglect, trauma, or abuse. Staying in that environment increases the chances of relapse exponentially.
Addiction recovery can be very eye-opening. During your recovery adventure, your eyes will begin to open as you reconnect your mind, body, and soul to each other. Through this journey, you will be able to see the differences between toxic and healthy relationships. By not accepting a trauma bond for what it is, you put your recovery at risk. However, if you learn to recognize the signs, you can be empowered to live a life free of trauma bonds, and in this way, you will be more likely to maintain the recovery you have worked so hard to achieve.
Staying Sober and Breaking Your Trauma Bond
While it is important to break a trauma bond to stay sober, breaking a trauma bond can be hard. The first step is to muster up the ability to leave the person, even if that means uprooting all you know and finding a new place to live upon leaving treatment. After that, you must cut off all contact and communication. Some circumstances may not allow for it, especially when family or children are involved. Nevertheless, you need a safe place free of abuse to keep your recovery alive.
It can be difficult to see loved ones struggling to maintain their recovery while still stuck in a trauma bond. During your time at The Ohana Addiction Treatment Center, you will experience a holistic approach to treatment that focuses on examining your trauma and understanding its effects on your addiction or mental health.
The beauty of The Ohana is that you have a family for life here. Client care does not end when you leave treatment. The Ohana continues to offer you support in maintaining your recovery and connecting you with local groups and communities that can also help your recovery. If you ever fear for yourself and your recovery, remember your ohana at The Ohana Addiction Treatment Center.