Very often we are asked why the victim did not walk away? Why they stayed silent for so many years and come out with their statement on abuse so late in life? Why did they change their mind in the court? Why do they support the spouse/ partner who has been abusive and violent with them ? To understand this,first we have to know the people who abuse.A lot of them are manipulators,with anti social personalities who to others might seem normal,and even popular,but within can twist anything to their needs. They groom the victim by understanding their strengths and weaknesses and playing on that. They isolate them from friends and family,so that the victim not only has nobody to turn to,but also uses this opportunity to convince the victim that the abuser is the only one around for them. They push them through so much of lack of sleep and circles of violence and emotional manipulation,that the victim feels disoriented and for the sake of sheer survival begins to believe that what the abuser says is true. There are so many cycles of violence,where,if the victim does what the abuser wants them to,they are rewarded,and if they don’t give in to their wishes,they are punished.When this happens on a regular basis,the victim feels that giving in all the time is the only way to survive.They slowly begin to believe that the abuser is their savior and that nobody else can help them from their situation.
The victim starts to go out of their way to prevent cycles of violence,to the point that they are constantly on the watch for the sake of pleasing and keeping the abuser happy. The cognitive dissonance that happens in the mindset change in the victim makes them defend the abuser ,thinking or knowing that they will never be free of them.At a later stage also,even when free of them,hearing their voice over the phone or anything associated with the abuser is enough to trigger the panic and fear and take them to the old mindset,where they believe that only the abuser can rescue them.That the abuser wants only good for them.
How to break away from trauma bonding
Trauma bonding is very difficult to break fully.There have been instances,where the victim goes back to the abuser after years of staying away because they feel they will never be free of them.That they will get to them,so by giving in ,they can stop the damage and fear from reoccurring.
- Take necessary precautions to keep yourself safe.If needed,take legal help for the same.
- Reading up on articles of abuse,manipulation,trauma bonding, cognitive dissonance, anti personality disorder ,healing would all help move forward.
- Understand that healing would take time,take as much support as you think is needed.
- Empower yourself.
- Learn to stop triggers.
- Know that you will not give in to the abuser ,that you are stronger than them.That you will not let your life be defined by fear.
- Start a new life if possible,do things that you are passionate about,that makes you look forward to life.
- Believe,in yourself and a good world and people out there.Believe in the power of healing.
- Take what happened as a learning and mitigate its importance in taking over your thoughts.Create new and beautiful memories in the way forward.
- You are not a victim or a survivor.You are more than that.You have the power of the universe in you.You have overcome battles,let not the scars define you.let them be your strength in ways forward.