Narcissistic Abuse Trauma Bond

The Insidious Power Of The Trauma Bond

When we’re in a relationship with a narcissist, there’s an invisible bond that’s very strong and very toxic.

It’s known as the trauma bond.

The seven stages of getting to that bond are:

  1. Love Bombing (the narcissist telling their victim how amazing they are in an attempt to make themselves feel better.)
  2. Trust and Dependency
  3. Criticism (Devaluing the other person.)
  4. Gaslighting (Making the other person think they’re crazy.)
  5. Emotional Addiction
  6. Loss of Self (Very low self-esteem.)
  7. Resignation and Submission

Although the scars aren’t physically visible in the case of narcissistic abuse, they run deep on a mental and emotional level.

And that’s the insidious part.

When someone is locked in the trauma bond, it’s difficult to see their way out. (We can’t read the label when we’re inside the jar.)

Their level of self-esteem has dropped to an all-time low, and when they’re in it, they can’t rationalize the situation.

So they often stay stuck, until the narcissist moves on to the final phase: Discard.

This is when they’ve exhausted their “supply” and line up the next person so they can seamlessly dump you.

And they’re good at hiding their plan, so no matter how smart you are; you’re most likely not seeing it.

Sometimes we stay in the relationship out of guilt, perhaps because the narcissist drew us out of another relationship or marriage and we believe we have to “stick it out”.

Or maybe we think we need to stay for the sake of the kids, or for the money, or whatever reason. (I’ve talked to women who don’t have income and feel they need to stay with the narcissist for financial support – which won’t help them when they’re discarded anyway.)

And to be honest, moving in with a friend, family member or even a shelter is better than life with a narcissist.

It’s also sad because these women have the intelligence and ability to support themselves.

But their self-esteem is so low; they believe they need the narcissist to take care of them when the truth is they’re being abused. 

In the end, NO reason to stay with a narcissist is viable.

Because the longer we stay with the narcissist, the more the abuse continues, and the more it erodes our mental health and wellbeing. (This can include physical issues.)

In my first marriage to a narcissist, I managed to get out: But not without damage inflicted on my car, in spite of a restraining order. (Thank God I stood in my power.)

The second situation was more complicated, and unraveling all of the attachments seemed difficult. But in the end, I was discarded for someone else. (Ideally I should have left years earlier, but hindsight is 20/20.)

I wouldn’t recommend the second scenario, because they continue to abuse by flaunting their new relationship, travel, or whatever else they’re doing in an attempt to rub it in your face.

It’s the final blow to your self-esteem, as they try to boost their own ego.

Here’s my advice if you’re still in it:

  • Gather your support (friends, family, etc.) You might be surprised at the people that know who the narcissist really is because they’ve been afraid to tell you.
  • Make a solid plan to move on, with every bit of professional help you can get including mental, emotional, legal and financial.
  • Protect yourself in every way possible.
  • Then move on and go “No Contact”. This means not speaking to the narcissist, as they’ll try to drag you back in, even if they’ve got someone else. (The more the merrier in their mind.)

This puts YOU in control of the situation, rather than you getting emotionally beat up some more.

It’s darn hard, but it’s the best way. And once you’re on the other side of it, the healing can begin.

Because the truth is: It’s impossible to heal while you’re still being gaslighted.

Here’s a virtual hug for you.

PS: If you’re serious about healing, support and clarity on your next steps, book your complimentary clarity call, or join the Facebook group.




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