7 stages of trauma bonding

7 stages of trauma bonding

Trauma is a word used plenty in our society, but few people understand it. Trauma-bonded relationships are unhealthy and lead to depression and cyclical abuse. This article will help you understand and avoid the 7 stages of trauma bonding and trauma bonding itself. You should read it if you are about to get involved with someone who has experienced trauma. Trauma-bonded relationships describe the emotional attachment that develops between two people who have experienced traumatic events together. 

Love Bombing

Love bombing depicts the seduction and idealization process of a relationship. Cults and narcissists use it as a tool as part of their manipulation and brainwashing techniques.

In love bombing, people are treated with extreme kindness and affection. They feel special on some level. Abusers tell victims they are brilliant and their relationship is extraordinary. But it will only happen if they agree with everything their partner says or does. It can lead them to an unhealthy obsession. It makes it hard for them to see anything outside the relationship.

Trust and Dependency

There is a need for trust and deep interdependence between partners in these relationships. So, each party must have complete confidence in one other. It is to establish they can always depend on each other when most needed. It follows an important part of the seven stages of trauma bonding relationships.

  • The need for being needed

Perpetrators must show their ability not by words but with actions, too. It is for meeting and surviving the needs of survivors.

  • The desire/need for love

Trauma bonds create intense emotional connections between people who were strangers once. It makes them feel safe again after experiencing something terrible.

  • Need for validation

They remind abuse victims they will never be good enough for anyone again. So they may become afraid/ashamed if someone tells them otherwise!

7 Stages Of Trauma Bonding | Seven Stages Of Trauma Bonding
7 Stages Of Trauma Bonding | Seven Stages Of Trauma Bonding

7 Stages of Trauma Bonding | Criticism, Manipulation, And Gaslighting


Criticism is control. It is not about getting feedback; it is about manipulation and control. Feedback is information that helps your partner improve their behavior or performance. Criticism is something else. They are harsh words meant to hurt the feelings of someone and cause them emotional harm. In feedback, people tell you what they would do differently next time to improve the situation. In criticism, people try to convince themselves by saying mean things aloud.

Manipulation And Gaslighting

In abusive relationships, the 7 stages of trauma bonding show a repetitive pattern of intense highs and lows. We are now discussing manipulation and gaslighting. In trauma bonds, abusers use manipulation/gaslighting to make their partner feel they are the problem. They may accuse you of lying, being crazy, or shift the blame entirely. Abusers will try to make the excuse that something that happened when they were younger may have caused their problems. It is possible they try to make themselves feel better by saying things like “I’m not like this” or “I’ve been through so much.”

Besides manipulating people, abusers also love playing mind games with their victims. It makes them feel powerful and in control of the emotions of others. Suppose an abuser has been violent towards someone else. Though jealousy did not motivate his actions, there is always the possibility of attack. It will happen if he seems threatened by another person’s presence around the victim.

Resignation, Giving up, Loss Of Self-care, And Addiction To The Cycle

Resignation is the fifth stage of trauma-bonded relationships. It is one of the crucial phases of the 7 stages of trauma bonding and its relationships. It occurs when you feel like there is nothing left to do. You may have lost your ability to care for yourself. You may also become so overwhelmed by the events that you want them to end. It can lead people into self-destructive behavior like substance abuse or eating disorders.

Loss Of Self-care

To be a victim of trauma is to lose your sense of self. You become a doormat, and the abuser becomes your master. Your needs do not matter anymore. Victims become dependent on abusers for everything from food and shelter to love and approval. There won’t be a happy ending to this story if the abuser did not provide these things.

People in this stage rarely know how to take care of themselves anymore. They may engage in risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex with many partners. This practice is to feel good and numb themselves.

Addiction To The Cycle

The seven stages of trauma bonding normally initiate a remarkable partnership. After a while, they deteriorate into an abusive relationship. A cycle of trauma-bonded relationships is predictable and begins with a helpless victim. They remember a time when they felt powerless. The victims often have an emotional need for connection. It leads them back into the repetitive abuse cycle of abuse. This cycle of abuse continues until a person steps up and breaks the chain. The first step is admitting that you have been in a trauma bond and taking action to end it. It can be painful, but it is the only way forward.

Author: Dr Tahira Rubab Hafeez

Call for appointments at +923114482787

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