Those who have never been in a toxic relationship cannot genuinely comprehend what makes people stay in such a relationship for so long. ‘If someone is treating you like dirt, why did you stay?’ they ask.
For survivors, this is an extremely difficult question to answer. Those who have luck manage to escape and describe their horrible experience. Unfortunately, many of them are not even aware of what they are into and simply don’t understand that their relationship could be described as ‘abusive.’
They often remain in these relationships as they are trying to get back the abuser`s affections. In other words, what makes victims stay in these relationships despite the stress on their bodies is the fact that they are often unaware of the real problems. Through control and intermittent love, the abuser manages to keep their partner into a corner of desperation to win back the affection.
As explained by Thomas, author of “Healing from Hidden Abuse,” victims tend to get biologically attached to their abusers through ‘trauma bonding.’ The abuser initially bombs the victim with affection and when the mask slips, they believe that it is their own fault for making their partner angry.
“You have this back and forth, and the body becomes addicted,” Thomas said. “When we’re looking for something that we want, that we once had, which is a connection with somebody, and they are playing cat and mouse where they are pulling it back and forth, then the body really does become dependent on having that approval.”
Here are some of the signs that you are in trauma bond with someone:
- There is an ongoing pattern of nonperformance- your partner promises things, but keeps failing you and behaving the same way as he/she promised not to.
- The people around you are concerned about the things your partner does, but you tend to brush it off.
- You feel like you are stuck in the relationship as you don’t see a way out.
- You have the same fights with your partner over and over again and no one seems to win.
- You are given a bad treatment or a punishment by your partner when you do or even say something wrong.
- You are unable to leave although you don’t really like or love the person you are with.
- You are acting in the best and most productive way possible, but your partner is negative and unproductive.
- Your relationship is ‘on-again-off-again’ on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis.
- Your partner promises to change and improve himself/herself, but he/she never does.
- One of you is founding the relationship on something other than love.
- It seems like one of you is living in an alternative reality.
- When your try to leave, you tend to long to get back with your partner.