Trauma bonding in abusive relationships — is it happening to you?
By Lindsay Dodgson
hose who have never been in an abusive relationship struggle to understand how people remain in one for so long. If somebody was mistreating you, “why did you stick around?” they ask.
For survivors, this can be a really tough question to answer. The lucky ones escape, and stumble upon articles or books that give them the terms to be able to understand what happened to them, and thus describe their experience. Other times, though, this doesn’t happen, and people might not even be aware they were in a relationship that could be classed as “abusive.”
This is because we are conditioned to believe abuse is always physical. On TV and in films, we see characters who are obviously evil. They are violent to their partners, shout at them aggressively, or even murder them in a fit of rage. While this does happen, it’s not a true representation of the abuse many others experience.
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