How to Break Trauma Bonds

How to Break Trauma Bonds

The road to recovery is rarely a straight line. Whether it’s moving on past designer drugs, alcohol, or another type of addiction, you can form attachments to the people and behaviors you developed during this turbulent period. With the people who enabled your behavior or became your lifelines to your vice, you could have created a “trauma bond” that has become an integral part of your cycle of abuse.
Finding ways to effectively break these attachments will help your recovery, but it can prove tricky. Knowing more about trauma bonds and their role in your addiction can help you make the most of your mental health treatments.

What Is a Trauma Bond?

Simply put, it’s an attachment we make with people during a traumatic experience.
For people in abusive relationships, it forms when their partners have showered love and affection on them and then start physical and emotional abuse. However, the initial good behavior and loving feelings help keep the abused around because they believe they can return to those ideal circumstances again. The same can be true for people dealing with substance abuse.
Whether chasing the feeling the first time they took the substance or how they feel when they escape reality, people can form a traumatic bond and emotional attachment with their drug or alcohol of choice. They choose to believe in the initial feelings of euphoria instead of the negative effects their addiction has on their life. These bonds can extend to the people they surround themselves with and continue the unhealthy relationship with their substance of choice.

Why Do Addicts Develop Trauma Bonds?

Most people associate trauma bonds with abusive relationships with a romantic partner, but it’s not always the case. Toxic relationships go beyond what we have with other people and extend to things like food, body image, drugs, and alcohol. You can develop a co-dependent relationship, forming these attachments to viewpoints that you know on a personal level aren’t good for you, but stay stuck in that vicious cycle.
It’s not only because of how a person responds to a situation — hormones can play a significant role. The dopamine released after you take a drink or hit can often be more intoxicating than the substance itself. People become addicted to lingering feelings of the dopamine released into their bloodstream and focus solely on ensuring they get more of that, no matter the cost.

How Can You Tell If There’s a Trauma Bond?

Identifying a trauma bond in yourself or a loved one can help expedite the healing process, but it can prove challenging to break if you don’t know what to look for. Fortunately, there are some telltale signs that there is one at play, which include:
    • Feeling unhappy with your situation but unable to make changes
    • Emotional and physical distress when you try to quit
    • Making promises to stop but never following through
    • Fixating on the good feelings and not the poor after effects.
Trauma bonds can make it increasingly difficult to break out of a self-destructive cycle because they focus on how they feel in the moment and not on how it affects their relationships, health, and more. Breaking free of these attachments might seem incredibly challenging; however, there are ways to break free of these bonds and get onto your personal road to recovery.

How Can You Break Free of a Trauma Bond?

While trauma bonds can be difficult to identify and deal with, you have options to break through them and begin your recovery. A strong support network can provide you with the support you need to push forward and avoid potential relapses, but it’s not the only thing you can rely on moving forward.

Know What You’re Dealing With

The biggest hurdle for anyone dealing with addiction and the associated trauma bonds remains recognizing there’s a problem. Taking a step back, assessing the situation, and identifying these unhealthy attachments will help you take the steps needed to beat your addiction and move forward with your life.

View Things From a Different Perspective

For many people living within a cycle of addiction, knowing you have a problem can be the furthest thing from your mind. You intently focus on what your addiction provides you — a sense of escape, a dopamine rush, etc. — and ignore its negative effects on your life. By examining your behavior from a different perspective, such as looking at someone living a similar lifestyle and identifying the commonalities between you, you can begin to recognize how dire your situation has become.

Avoid Self-Blame

If you have decided to turn the corner and want to make necessary changes to your lifestyle, blaming yourself for your past decisions can have an adverse effect on your recovery. Blaming yourself for your addiction can do a number on your self-worth, making you more susceptible to falling back into bad habits and relapsing.
Taking a more compassionate approach to your recovery can help you put yourself in the right frame of mind to listen to the advice of others and continue to make the best decisions for your future.

Come to Silver Pines Treatment Center for Help Breaking Trauma Bonds!

Breaking through trauma bonds can prove more challenging than you imagined. These behaviors and relationships with your addiction have formed a core part of your current identity and make it seem impossible or highly unlikely that you need to change for the better. However, with the help of Silver Pines Treatment Center, you can receive the support you need to break these harmful attachments.
Our addiction treatment services can help you work through your trauma bonds and provide the support you need, tailored to your situation, and make the progress you deserve. Contact our team to learn more about programs and admission services today!


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