How To End Trauma Bond with a Narcissist?


In today’s topic, we will share with you the key steps to breaking free from a trauma bond and regaining control of your life. We’ve seen firsthand the devastating effects of trauma bonding. And it’s not pretty. But what exactly is trauma bonding?

Think of it this way: dealing with a narcissist is like having cancer in your relationship, as it affects everything in your life. And when you realize you’re in such a toxic situation, you’re so tangled up with others related to the narcissist, as well as different aspects of their life, that walking away is tough. What’s more, deciding to cut ties with a narcissist isn’t easy because you know it will complicate a whole bunch of relationships connected to that decision.

This is where the concept of trauma bonding comes in. A trauma bond is when you just can’t seem to pull away from a toxic, divisive, and unhealthy relationship, all because of a bunch of reasons that keep you stuck. It’s a type of attachment that forms between an abuser and their victim, creating intense feelings of loyalty, love, and dependence. The victim becomes emotionally attached to the abuser, creating a bond that is difficult to break.

But how does a trauma bond develop in the first place? There are six common reasons for that.

Number 1: The negative aspects of the relationship can be justified or minimized.

Countless times, we’ve encountered stories such as, “My partner had cheated on me multiple times before. We discussed it extensively, so we decided to be together despite that history.” See the negative here? While they exist here, within the trauma bond, the partner of the narcissist often downplays or rationalizes them. And over time, a sentiment emerges of, “Well, you know, we can get through this.” But this just leads to false optimism starting to take root. And once it does, the trauma bond only strengthens.

Number 2: The narcissist uses anger to control their partner.

Narcissists can lay on the anger thick and use it to keep their partners in check. And a lot of people are scared of this kind of intense anger. This fear makes people think, “I can’t deal with this.” So, they end up doing whatever they can, including just going along with what their narcissistic partner wants, to avoid these blowups. But all this does is pull them deeper into the trauma bond.

Number 3: The narcissist makes promises they know their partner will believe.

A narcissist’s promises can make their partner feel hopeful and positive, especially in the beginning. They often talk about a bright future together, for instance. Which is why you’ll hear them saying things like, “Just stick with my plan. If you do it, we’ll be inseparable.” These promises turn out to be hollow. But instead of walking away from the relationship, the partner of the narcissist will often try harder and harder to make that promise a reality. They still hope that it will come true, which is why they don’t want to give up. This is just how narcissists reel people in, creating a trauma bond by using their seductive charm.

Number 4: They’ve been pulled into a codependent relationship with the narcissist.

When there’s codependency in a relationship, the narcissist is like, “Hey, check with me before you decide anything.” It’s because they want you to depend only on them. So, it’s normal for them to ask something like, “Did you even ask what I think? No? Don’t you see how that’s not good for us?” Narcissists are all about control, and they’ll find a way to get it. And the more their partner lets them take the reins, the tougher it gets to break away from that trauma bond.

Number 5: The narcissist exerts control left and right.

Narcissists often try to cut their partners off from others. For instance, they get all cozy with their partner’s family while keeping theirs a mystery. They’re pretty clever about pushing away anyone they see as a threat, especially the friends and family of their partner. This way, their partner ends up relying a lot more on them for hanging out and emotional support. They start setting all these rules on how their partner should act, throwing a ton of “You must do this” and “You should do that” their way. With all these expectations, it becomes super hard for their partners to break away, basically trapping them in the trauma bond.

Number 6: The narcissist threatens, shame, or guilt-trips their partner.

Narcissists have a way of making everything seem like it’s another person’s fault, not theirs. They love playing the blame game and using intimidation tactics. So much so that they’ll hint at having damaging info on their partner to keep them quiet, even suggesting they could ruin their partner’s reputation if they wanted to. So, their partner ends up keeping their mouth shut, scared of the consequences of being honest. This fear comes from not knowing what they might do with that info and how it could mess up their partner’s other relationships. And it only strengthens the trauma bond.

Now, before we talk about how you can break free from a trauma bond:

The thing about ending a trauma bond with a narcissist is that it’s not just about physically leaving that person. It’s also about breaking free from the emotional hold they have on you. The good news? You can break free from a trauma bond. It’s gonna take a lot of guts and determination, though, and it won’t be a walk in the park. But with the right attitude and commitment, you can do it.

First up, be real with yourself about leaving.

Because the reality is that it’s not going to be all smooth sailing. It can be tough, at times even making you feel frustrated and think everything is just pointless. You’ll probably have to tweak how you do relationships and make room for some big changes. As such, you also need to start sharing what’s going on with you. Often, a narcissist will try to keep you all to themselves while ensuring your silence about everything. They want you to keep their secrets. But if you want to be free of the trauma bond, you’ve got to decide you’ll no longer keep secrets and be firm with that. Admittedly, all that is easier said than done. Which is why having a support system will be very helpful.

If you’re dealing with a narcissist, it’s super important to talk things out with close friends or support groups.

Often, consulting a therapist can help, as they’ve got the right tips and emotional backup you might need. In some cases, you might even need to get a lawyer involved to keep yourself safe because, in really bad situations, you might have to think about getting a restraining order. If that’s not possible, just lessening contact is a step in the right direction.

Remember, a narcissist will try every trick in the book to keep you under their control. And making a narcissist change their ways is pretty much impossible. So, any change that’s gonna happen in this situation has to come from you. But if you feel like your resolve is weakening, keep reminding yourself that you’re doing these things because you no longer want to be the victim of an abusive relationship.

Read More: 7 Indicators of Mental Abuse by Narcissists

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