Tuesday, December 29, 2020

How Trauma Bonding Blames Victims

Despite everyone making up their own definitions or reasons, the term "Trauma Bond" is just as victim blaming as codependency, and just as dangerous for abuse victims. I'm not referring to the bond that happens between two victims in trauma, that definitely happens and is a good thing, I've met the best of friends through this journey. I'm referring to the official term "Trauma Bond" created by Patrick Carnes for spouses of sex addicts, and influenced by the bogus Stockholm Syndrome, and many other men, who wrongly thought they knew women better than women. They didn't listen to the victims explanation, they just thought they themselves knew better than the victims.

The whole underlying belief behind trauma bonding is that there is something wrong with the victim (mental disorder, childhood trauma, addiction, insecurities) and THAT'S why she's with an abuser and doesn't leave 🙄.   



For example, everyone thought that Elizabeth Smart had Stockholm Syndrome or was Trauma Bonded with her captor. Everyone thought "she had so many opportunities to leave or tell someone who she was, why didn't she leave??? She must have had Stockholm Syndrome like they said" (I admit I also have thought this before). But if you listen to her tell her story, she wasn't Trauma Bonded or had Stockholm Syndrome AT ALL. Her captor was incredibly abusive and threatened to kill her family! So her "silence" or lack of attempted escapes wasn't because there was something "wrong" with her or because she was bonded to her captor, it was because she was smart and calculated and knew how dangerous he was. She responded normally and healthily to an abnormal situation and injury. 

Here's a perfect example of what I mean. This is written by Patrick Carnes for his CSAT course :

"Trauma Bonds

What we see is highly addictive attachment to the persons who have hurt the clients..

These attachments cause the clients to distrust their own judgment, to distort their own realities so much, the clients can place themselves at more risk. The clients are bracing themselves against further hurt. Taking precautions which almost guarantee more pain. These attachments have a name. They are called trauma bonds. 

..These occur when a victim bonds with someone who is destructive to them. Similarly, adult survivors of abusive and dysfunctional families struggle with bonds that are rooted in their own trauma experiences. To be loyal to that which does not work - or worse, to a person who is toxic, exploitive, or destructive to the client, is a form of insanity"

Let's briefly break this down :


1. For the zillionth time, us wives aren't addicted to our addict husbands 🙄🤦 Knock it off Patrick Carnes... 

2. These attachments cause the CLIENT (us) to "distrust their own judgment, to distort their own realities so much, the clients can place THEMSELVES at more risk."???? OH ok, so it's not the abusive men that do it, it's our addictive bond that allows US to do it to OURSELVES. Got it...🤦

3. This all happens because WE bond with someone who is destructive. We are the insane ones. Whaaaat? We didn't bond with someone who was destructive. My husband was amazing at first. I bonded to an amazing man. The destruction came later, AFTER I was already healthily bonded to him. MY bond was healthy and normal. My bonding to him was not because there was anything wrong with me. It's not a wife's fault her husband lied.


Patrick Carnes further states my point in a presentation he gave titled "Trauma Bonds, Why People Bond To Those That Hurt Them". It's not titled "How Abusers Torture People Into Staying", which would be the correct non victim blaming verbiage. Instead, he uses blaming verbiage that expresses the VICTIM is the one that bonds to the abuser.

An article by New Leaf Center also describes this presentation by Patrick Carnes :

".. trauma fuses a bond between the abuser and victim in which the two replay their original trauma. The abuser asserts his/her power over the victim, causing a life-altering love/hate relationship between them. The victim often experiences this power differential by confusing abuse with a sense of love and caring. When this kind of bonding occurs, victims are in danger of moving closer to the person exploiting them, a very natural and common reaction to trauma. 

As Dr. Carnes wraps up his presentation, he briefly addresses why victims remain in trauma and do not leave. He explains that it’s caused by co-dependency, which he describes as an obsession with the person who is out of control and a focus on the addiction rather than the abuser..... "https://newleafcenter.com/trauma-bonds-why-people-bond-to-those-who-hurt-them/


Can you imagine telling a woman who was brutally raped that she's codependent, addicted, and bonded to her rapist simply because she can't stop thinking about him? Can't stop trying to find safety? Has nightmares? Except in our situations, our abuser was the man we loved and trusted the most, whom we had a healthy bond to since we thought they were healthy men when we married them! Talk about confusing... 

I'm not saying an abuse victim isn't experiencing anything chemical caused by the abuser. That's obvious that we do. But I see it more like starvation. If an abuser tortures and starves a victim, especially with random intermittence, is it at all shocking that the victim becomes obsessed with food thinking about it all the time, depressed, tired, irritable, etc? No, that would be a completely normal response that the human body would naturally go through. It has nothing to do with how healthy a person is, or their childhood experiences. It's an autonomic response* to being deprived of something necessary for survival. We wouldn't blame the starving victim for being hungry, we would blame the abuser for all of the victims normal responses to the abuse. 


So why is it any different for a victim who is being starved of other physical needs, like love and connection? 

Why is the sex addiction/betrayal trauma industry still not getting it? 

Why are abuse victims still subjected to this blame? 

When will they stop pathologizing NORMAL reactions to being injured? 

Will it ever end? 



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