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Love or Traumatic bonding? How do I know?

(12 Posts)
YetAnotherNC Tue 05-Jan-16 11:33:12

I am currently trying to decide whether to Leave my marriage or try and stay and make a go of it. There has been a lot of EA and unreasonable behaviour on husband's part, and we are being counselled, not that it's made much difference so far. I lurch between hoping it will make a difference and (usually when I'm away from him) wishing I had left yesterday. My question is, how do you tell the difference between love and traumatic bonding. Why can I see that how he behaves to get what he wants is so so wrong, but still feel bewildered and confused, and just brush it under the carpet till next time? I've got this need to double check that I'm doing the "right" thing, and people keep asking me how I feel, what I really want, what my heart is telling me, and I keep coming up with the answer that I just don't know. I thought I was somebody who knew their own mind pretty well, but recently I feel really really bewildered, and I just can't make a decision.

So what is love and what is traumatic bonding? How do I tell the difference? How is loving someone but being monumentally pissed off at them right now so not wanting to be near them, different to traumatic bonding? Is this a stupid question? Should it be self-evident? Why am I in this fog?

hellsbellsmelons Tue 05-Jan-16 11:46:31

You are in the FOG because you have been abused for years.
You actually don't know your own mind.
I am certainly not going to tell you to stay with an abuser.

Are you having joint counselling? If so this should not be happening.
No joint counselling if there is any abuse.
Are you having individual counselling?

To me - this says it all
(usually when I'm away from him) wishing I had left yesterday

I am assuming you want to stay with an abuser because there are children involved?
If so then you need to get away even more.
The abuse cycle will continue and your children won't thank you for that.

Basically, can you envisage living like this for the next 10-20-30 years.
If it fill you with dread then get away - fast!

mum2mum99 Tue 05-Jan-16 12:19:38

Maybe it was love once? But is it still here after this traumatic behaviour towards you?
The only way to know how it is affecting you and the DCs is to step out of it.
Try reading 'why does he do this?' from Lundy Bancroft or attend the freedom programme. It might help you to understand the different behaviours and how they affect you. Or talk it through with a woman's aid advisor.

YetAnotherNC Tue 05-Jan-16 12:20:47

Can I have been abused for years without knowing it? Everyone else thinks we have a lovely marriage. It has only really broken down recently since I started saying things weren't ok, such as yelling at me, thumping walls, intimidating me with scary driving, talking or shouting over me till I shut up. I've been saying these things are horrible and scary and hurtful and I won't put up with them any more. And since then things have worse. I feel like I'm hurtling along on a path or destruction and he blames me for our relationship breakdown.
We have had joint counselling, but they will now not see him with me and have referred him to some other organisation. I'm not convinced he'll do anything about going or seeking help.
And yes, I am staying because of the kids at the moment. Leaving would be logistically really hard so I need to be sure, hence the question about love/traumatic bonding. I am so torn.

hellsbellsmelons Tue 05-Jan-16 12:26:14

The fact your consellor won't see you together is total proof you are being and have been abused.
Yes you have been abused for years.
You just don't realise it.
It creeps up on you without you noticing.
Please contact Womens Aid and have a talk to them as a matter of urgency.
Bringing your DC up in an abusive environment if very damaging for them.
They will grow up being abusers like your DH or being victims of abuse - like you are. What was your upbringing like?
For you to not know that what you describe is abuse tells me you were brought up in an abusive household.
If you don't get yourself and the DC away the consequences could be massive.
Womens Aid - right now.

goddessofsmallthings Tue 05-Jan-16 13:00:56

yelling at me, thumping walls, intimidating me with scary driving, talking or shouting over me till I shut up Each of these behaviours is abusive and are indicative of a domineering and controlling man who expects to have everything his way.

The only person responsible for the breakdown of your marriage is him, but even though he has been told his behaviour is abusive he won't seek the help that's been recommended and prefers to blame you.

Instead of "staying because of the kids" you should be making plans to leave, or have him removed from the marital home, asap for the sake of the dc who have unquestionably been damaged by their dps toxic marriage.

As melons has said, make contact with your nearest branch of Women's Aid and begin to educate yourself about the many and varied forms of abuse that inadequate individuals visit on victims such as yourself.

mum2mum99 Tue 05-Jan-16 13:05:55

Can I have been abused for years without knowing it? You probably already know the answer to this question.
Surround yourself with help and support, it will make things easier.
It sounds like you are not staying out of love. Love is nurturing and helps you to grow. Traumatic bonding destroys you.

Marchate Tue 05-Jan-16 15:15:17

Yes, you have been abused for years without knowing it. That's how it works. Small things that you accept, then moderately not-okay things that you question but excuse
The stage of shouting, throwing, banging things comes after he has acclimatised you to abuse

pocketsaviour Tue 05-Jan-16 15:40:35

Have you heard of the "boiling frog" analogy OP?

If you put a frog in a pot of cold water, it will be quite happy. Then you turn the heat on and it slowly gets warmer. The frog doesn't notice that it's getting warmer - it's a gradual progression. It doesn't jump out of the pot. It stays there and dies.

Abusive relationships are like this. They start off lovely, with the abuser promising the world and making huge declarations of love (often scarily early). Then they slowly start to let the mask slip, but because it's so slow, you don't notice it. After all, if they were to suddenly come round a few weeks in and shout and insult you all evening, you'd go, right? But it only happens ocassionally, so you kid yourself that the relationship isn't harmful because "it's only once in a while". Meantime he's telling you that it's totally normal for him to be shouting, swearing, throwing things, sulking, etc - and anyway it's YOUR fault for making him mad. He's lying. It's not.

Think about this:
He did some things - shouting, swearing - that made you unhappy.
You told him they made you unhappy.
So he did them even more.
Is this the action of someone who loves you?

Hissy Tue 05-Jan-16 22:13:21

Sweetheart, what organisation have they referred him to?

Sounds like (thankfully) his abuse of you has been observed and confirmed. I'm sorry, that comes as a shock, I know.

Thank god, have you any idea of how damaging counselling is when it's with an abuser? Sooo dangerous. Abuser "recruits" therapist, uses same to batter you psychologically and gang up on you, further marginalising you, weakening your position further.

MichelleNeedsMore Fri 25-Mar-16 10:57:45

Hi. I know this is an old thread but have been reading about trauma bonding and trying to work out myself whether I have ever really loved my H. Found this definition which may help you YetAnotherNC - Trauma bonding, a term developed by Patrick Carnes, is the misuse of fear, excitement, sexual feelings, and sexual physiology to entangle another person.

MichelleNeedsMore Fri 25-Mar-16 11:07:43

I also found this and this is soooo my life!

Strangely, growing up in an unsafe home makes later unsafe situations have more holding power. This has a biological basis beyond any cognitive learning. It is trauma in one's history that makes for trauma bonding. Because trauma (and developmental trauma or early relational trauma is epidemic) cause numbing around many aspects of intimacy, traumatized people often respond positively to a dangerous person or situation because it makes them feel.

Helping me try to work out my mess......

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