Trauma Bonds

Bonds. That word makes me think of ions. Ions bonding together to make some sort of electricity or building block. In this context, a trauma bond can be a foundation of a domestic violent relationship.

In fact, it was absolutely the basis of mine. I spoke to an art therapist that specialized in domestic violence last night. It was complete coincidence, as if I was supposed to meet her last night. I shared with her when I was doing art therapy, my art told me to leave my Ex, but my mind did not allow it.

I was grieving the relationship before I had the strength to move. I think I was grieving our relationship before I even moved across country. I remember being so, completely, and utterly depressed when my Ex moved across country, and I was alone in my condo. It was just a few short months after my mom passed that previous July.

I was grieving my Mom, and grieving my ideal relationship. I realized I lost myself. I lost who I was. I didn’t even recognize myself anymore. I didn’t recognize my behaviors. I didn’t know why I was doing the things I was doing. Everything seemed gray.

Seasonal depression in Minnesota is a real thing and mine hit me incredibly hard the winter of 2019-2020.

The most messed up thing I was missing? My trauma bond. My brain was so chemically addicted to this push pull effect. I was so used to getting trampled on, called names, I never felt like what I was doing was good enough. I never felt validated in our relationship. As messed up as it sounds, I could have missed him screaming at me and calling me a piece of shit.

Why did I miss this behavior? Because after that, he would act so genuine and apologize. He would turn into my knight in shining armor. He would tell me everything’s okay when I was sloppy crying. These circumstances have formed ionic bonds in my brain where I was seeking this trauma.

It’s the same reason my dog Benji whines. He whines for love and attention. I was seeking the same thing even if that meant for him to treat me poorly to the point where I was scared for my life. I just wanted him to turn into the person I thought I fell in love with.

Breaking free of a trauma bond is extremely difficult. For me, it’s almost just as difficult as leaving in the first place. I am ashamed to admit I had a hard week last week and called my Ex looking for support. I felt like I have no one on my team. No family to call for support. No one to help me figure out my next step.

So I thought, why the hell not? And of course, I am falling into the trauma bonded trap again. He is being the person I want him to be. After having a conversation last night, and the therapist reassuring that is the absolute wrong thing for me to do while healing.

So where do I go? I am meditating, and I know I could pray more. That will be my intention for the remainder of the week. Present my requests to God. I am so hung up on where to go and what to do next when I know he has a perfect plan for me.

One day at a time, one foot at a time, one breath at a time.

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