Betrayal bonding happens when we are in an abusive relationship but feel unable to leave. We hold onto a promised better future, focus on the positives and ignore the rest, and feel a sense of loyalty to the person everyone else says we must leave. So how can you break free of a trauma bond when it feels easier to stay?
To be betrayed by someone that you once cherish, held so dear, loved, respected and valued is one of the most damaging attachments that you can go through. Be it a partner, family member, sibling, friend or coworker. With each of these individuals a bond would have been formed. Bonds are natural and it is something that we form with others when we spend a lot of time together or when it is familial or through a love connection. This is a natural part of the process of attachment and we as human beings as are predisposition to do this.
As human beings we thrive or die because of the attachments in our lives. It is important to identify which bonds to certain people are doing for us and it is important to check in with ourselves and see what these specific bonds with these people make you feel. Regularly checking in with ourselves is very important, this is a great way to determine how we are feeling and what emotions are coming up for us and this is also a great way to determine whether these individuals are respecting your boundaries.
Boundaries are an essential part of betrayal bonds, as we can identify how these attachments have been violated or respected.
How To Set Yourself Free From A Betrayal Bond
Betrayal bonding happens when we are in an abusive relationship but feel unable to leave.
When you find out that you have a betrayal bond to someone that you once held dear in your life this can devastating and painful to work through. They are strong, loaded with emotion. You cannot fall out of the bond they way that you fell into that bond. Bonding survives even when you do not love that person any more or you don’t even like them. A betrayal bond at a basic level is a fusion of chemical processes and hormones such as oxytocin and cortisol. When you have a betray bond the brains fear centre (the amygdala) sounds the alarm and your body instinctively responds with a sequence of hormonal and physiological responses. Your brain isn’t busy preparing you what’s going on, its getting ready to do battle and ceases all non-essential body and mind processes.
The good news is that the changes in the brain can be reversed. The amygdala can learn to relax again; the hippocampus can resume proper memory consolidation, and the nervous system can heal to flow between the reactive and restorative modes again. Medications, hypnosis, neurolinguistic programming, neuro feed back, cognitive behavioural therapy, eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), and other brainrelated modalities — have proven helpful in treating PTSD.
The bottom line is that the mind has to reframe and release the trauma so that the brain can reset itself. Recovery is a gradual process accomplished over time with successful methods of treatment being as varied as individual trauma survivors. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but evidence suggests that when people commit to a process of exploring and testing treatment options they can, reduce the effects of trauma and even eliminate symptoms of PTSD. Studies show therapies to be most effective when applied during the disorder’s critical first few months.
Here are some methods of Somatic Experiencing Therapy
for healing from trauma:
Create a sense of security. – A person must feel secure to be able to stay present with the trauma related sensations within the body.
Gently explore the sensations. – A person learns to tolerate the sensations while staying present.
Become aware of the process of “pendulation”. – This is the fluid rhythm of expansion and contraction of sensations. When a person acknowledges this fluctuation, it doesn’t feel so threatening as they move through the process of resetting the nervous system.
Practice “titration”. – Experience the smallest arousal of the nervous system possible while exploring the sensations and keep decreasing.
Insert corrective experiences. – Replace the old ways of responding – panic and helpless “freeze” mode – with positive and empowering reactions. A person with PTSD still need the fear response but needs to turn it down.
Discharge the residual energy from aroused states physically. – This frees energy for higher level brain functions and life preservation when really needed.
Restore dynamic equilibrium and relaxed alertness. – This is restoring the nervous system back to a state of calm and allowing it to self-regulate again.
Teach the mind and body to be present in the here and now. – Connect with the physical environment and reestablishing the capacity for social engagement and interaction.
Do your best to find some professional support, too.
Remember most trauma bonding happens because we already went through trauma in the past. So there is a lot going on, and
it can be truly overwhelming to navigate alone. A professional is trained in helping you have clarity of thought and to find your inner resources. They are a willing ear, too, when you just need to rant or cry in ways you never usually let yourself.
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Thank you Anoushka Marcin for the great article!
I am a Psychologist (in training), specialised is in human personality and abuse.
My years of intense study and research of Psychology has allowed me to possess a deep understanding of the mindbody system helping numerous individuals comprehend narcissistic abuse and heal from toxic relationships.
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