Do you have a trauma bond?
If you’re not sure, be sure to go back and listen to episode 53. That’s where I discuss what a trauma bond is, how to recognize it, and all of the signs and symptoms. Click here to listen!
Once you realize you have a trauma bond, what then? How do we break them?
Commit to Living in Reality
This is realizing that your memories are far more romanticized than the truth of what actually happened.
Part of this is figuring out the abuse to honeymoon moment ratio.
When it comes to letting go of our abusive partner, we find ourselves hitting a wall. We want so desperately to let it go, we know we deserve better. But our brains seem to fall back into old habits. We obsess over all of the “good things,” aka honeymoon moments, and the abuse seems to disappear in the background.
What’s a honeymoon moment?
They’re the “good things” that happened.
It’s the “I’m sorry” after he hits you. The “I’ll never do it again” after screaming at you. Bringing you home flowers after an abusive incident.
Those are the honeymoon moments that our brain thrives on. That’s the reason we say in abusive relationships at all.
As hard as this may be, I want you to pull out a journal and begin to write down how much abuse you had to tolerate in order to get to the honeymoon moment.
If this is triggering, please do not do it.
I do not want to be the cause of you spiraling down and being triggered. If you don’t want to think about your abuse like that, it’s ok. This post will still apply to you. But do not trigger yourself.
What this is going to do is create your abuse to honeymoon moment ratio.
We need to figure out what the ratio is.
This is going to answer the question of “How much abuse did I have to go through in order to get one of those honeymoon moments?”
This is crucial, because a lot of the times we forget how far and few between the honeymoon moments are.
To be clear: even if you had to go through one abusive moment to get one honeymoon moment, that’s totally unacceptable.
One abusive moment is too much.
Relationships should never ever be abusive.
But what you’re probably going to find after you do this exercise is that you went through 5, 5, 20 abusive moments for just one honeymoon moment.
I had to do this exercise on more than one occasion to finally stop pining after my abusive ex. Whenever you find yourself missing the past, wondering if you made the right decision by leaving, come back to this list. This list is going to pull you back to reality and ultimately help your brain along in the healing process.
It’s going to remind your brain that abuse is not okay or acceptable. It’s going to remind your brain that healthy relationships do not look like this because you should have never had to go through these things.
Right now your brain doesn’t fully understand that.
Create some affirmations
An affirmation is something you say consistently to affirm a belief. If you call yourself stupid, you’re affirming that belief, that’s an affirmatio. If you tell yourself you’re smart, you are affirming that belief. That’s an affirmation.
For a deep dive into Affirmation 101 and the full science behind them, click here.
Oftentimes, our abusers tell us a lot of things that aren’t true. But our brain begins to believe they’re true. Like we’re worthless, like we’re an object, like we’re not good enough.
Turn to a fresh piece of paper and begin to list out some of those thoughts that your abuser left in your brain.
After you make this list of these things that your user has said to you on the left side of the paper, on the right side, I want you to write the opposite.
If your abuser told you that you are stupid, and you believe that you are stupid, I want you to write “I am smart.”
If your abuser told you that you are worthless, I want you to write “I am worthy.”
After you right down opposites of the negative thoughts, pick two to three of them.
These are your your affirmations.
You’re going to say these 2-3 truths (aka affirmations) outloud to yourself consistently.
If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out Affirmation 101. It will really help with this.
Some examples of affirmations that I use:
I will not talk to someone who lies to me.
I will not communicate with someone who manipulates me.
I deserve loyalty, honesty, love and trust.
I will not unblock his number, because I know I deserve better.
Say these affirmations out loud to yourself several times a day, particularly when you’re feeling yourself wanting to reach out to him.
This will begin to prime your brain and create new connections.
This is only one step toward breaking that trauma bond, but it’s a powerful one.
The key to this working is consistency.
You’ve got to keep doing it even when it feels like it isn’t working.
Step 3: Have someone in your corner.
I highly highly recommend finding a therapist.
Having someone to help you work through these things is so powerful. None of this is easy and you should not do it alone.
Even if you have a therapist already, get an accountability partner. Have someone that you can call when you want to call that person. Someone that you can text when you want to text that person.
Having a person like that will save you so much heartache. It’s going to give you an outlet where you can still go through the motions of sending that message without actually reaching out to the abuser.
It has saved me on more than one occasion.
One of my best friends I met online, we talk just about every day. There are lots of times where I go “I want to message this person. Can we talk?”
Having her to talk to has helped me SO much.
Just to recap.
In order to break that trauma bond, you need to commit to living in reality. Figure out your abuse to honeymoon moment ratio to keep you grounded. Create affirmations to begin rewiring your brain and finally, have someone in your corner that you can reach out to when you’re feeling down.
These are the steps that I’ve used on my own personal journey and it has helped SO much.
If this resonated with you, I want to make sure you know that you’re not alone. Go ahead and send me a DM on Instagram. I’d love to cheer you on and support you on your journey.
I can’t wait to hear from you!