Jan 15, 2023

Bruno Bettelheim: The Shocking History Of Trauma Bonding

Trauma bond

I wanted to expound more on the history of the blaming label "Trauma Bonding"  (to read why Trauma Bonding is victim blaming, and what the creator, Patrick Carnes, says about it, click HERE ).

Dutton & Painter first mentioned "traumatic bonding" back in the 80's, and Patrick Carnes took it and popularized it into an actual label  called "Trauma Bonding". Dutton & Painter were influenced by other researchers like Porter, Walker, Forenzi, and especially Bruno Bettelheim (I went down a long rabbit hole reading all of them😳). 

Bruno Bettelheim was a child psychologist who helped inspire the "identification with the aggressor" theory when he wrote a paper in the 1940's about his experience as a holocaust survivor in a nazi concentration camp. He wrote that some of the holocaust victims tried to mimic the gestapo, were more mean than the gestapo, and played cruel games involving slapping each other, etc. Bettelheim later wrote tons of research papers, was one of the early writers on autism, treated autistic children, author of many books, professor of Psychology and director of Orthogenic at University of Chicago, and was the director of Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School for Disturbed Children. 

Bettleheims research papers also laid the foundation for many other blaming labels including Codependency, Learned Helplessness, Stockholm Syndrome, etc., and influenced TONS of professionals, a few of them being:

- Dutton and Painter used Bettelheim research papers to come up with "traumatic bonding" and applied it to abuse victims (though D&P didn't use it as a label at that time, they only used it as a way to describe a situation).

- Dr. L. Walker used Bettelheims research to create "identification with the aggressor" in her development of Battered Woman Syndrome.

- Dr. Patrick Carnes quotes Bettelheim as proof why victims are "addicted" to the addict. 

- Dr Bessel Van Der Kolk quotes Bettelheim as proof victims are "addicted" to the trauma/abuser/addict. Etc. (Heads up, Van Der Kolk has a history of abusing others) 

Sounds great right?? 


Bettelheim turned out to be a complete fraud and a liar! He was never a psychologist!  He never went to school for psychology, and only had a PhD in art history. He was just some dude who idolized Sigmund Freud (aw, a Freud wannabe), claimed to have worked with Freud personally (he lied 🤥), lied about his credentials, and wrote papers that made him popular, including his ridiculous idea that mothers caused a childs autism (though he wasn't the only one. Bowlby who created Attachment Theory originally blamed mothers as well. Blaming women has often been the popular choice for decades). Bettelheim also had a history of sexually assaulting women, and abusing the children he experimented on at the Orthogenic School. 🤯

Furthermore, it turned out that a lot of the stuff Bettelheim said happened in the nazi camp likely didn't happen either, because when other holocaust survivors in the same nazi camp as Bettleheim were asked if they experienced any of the same things Bettelheim did, their stories didn't match Bettleheims.

Basically, Bettelheim lied to EVERYONE about EVERYTHING!!!!

What's even more shocking is that professionals STILL quote him today, and these philosophies are STILL being taught in college. 🤦‍♀️ 

Which leaves the question, why on earth is society still believing in theories that were rooted and fueled by a guy who was a liar and a fraud?? I don't know. I really don't know...

VICTIMS DESERVE BETTER than to be treated with labels that are about as "real" as Hysteria and Wandering Womb. 

#StopVictimBlaming #traumabonding #codependency #wedonttalkaboutbruno #letstalkaboutbruno