In the third part of why people stay in toxic/unhealthy relationships I am going to briefly discuss ‘trauma bonding’ and the signs that it could be happening in your life.
It is where you become addicted to the hormonal rollercoaster that you encounter in certain relationships.
We all know that psychological abuse is insidious, it creeps in slowly and usually we are unaware that it is even happening.
As I have discussed previously there are different ways that abuse can occur and various tactics that someone will use to get their own needs met by you.
It could be a comment here and there, that is dismissed as you have been ‘love-bombed’ into believing that they are all you have ever wanted.
So, when you stay you could be trying to get back this affection, so easily and frequently given at the start. But you could also be biologically attached to your abusers through “trauma bonding.”
It’s like an addictive drug.
So, what is it?
Well, because of the up’s and downs that you can experience emotionally within the relationship, from turmoil to kindness and back again, your body is going through a lot. You are receiving high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, followed by dopamine when given affection as a reward.
If this goes in for long enough you can get ‘addicted’ to these highs and lows of hormone release, so you need your fix to sustain you.
It isn’t the same as taking a drug and the term addiction I use quite lightly, but your body can start to crave the hormones and become dependent on receiving them.
The hormonal release can cause your body physical turmoil too and I am going to write apiece about this soon.
But some effects could be:
Chest pains, muscle pains, migraines, bad skin, stomach problems and you may even find it more difficult to just fight off the common cold due to the impacts on your immune system.
You could be staying in your relationship despite the stress because it isn’t clear what the problems really are.
Through ‘gaslighting’ (see my previous articles), control, manipulation and intermittent love, you could be stuck in self-blame and desperation, trying to win back affection.
This can lead to you not leaving the relationship or going back to the relationship when you do leave. The only way out sometimes is when the abuser decides to move on from you – the damn cheek!! This could lead you into another bad place, being replaced, discarded, rejected, but you have in fact had a very lucky escape!
It won’t feel like this at the time if you have been taken so far down the road that you feel broken or even destroyed by them. They may have taken you to a place so low that they have met their needs and moved onto the next person to do exactly the same.
Once they have gone from your life it is time for you to grieve the loss that you encountered and start the road to recovery of self-confidence and self-worth, to get your body back into a normal hormonal balance so that any need that you think needs fulfilling by returning can be excised from your life!
It was never your fault; you are not to blame. But you need to be aware of your patterns and the way that you relate which could have invited this type of toxic and unhealthy relationship into your life.
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I look forward to hearing from you.