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How to break a trauma bond?

(42 Posts)
flowersrain Tue 17-Nov-20 23:06:22

I have (finally) realised that I am trauma bonded to my ex and that is why I stayed in the relationship for so long (19 months) and didn't have the self respect to leave sooner. Objectively, i can see there are many reasons why he was not a good boyfriend. Some of them are:

- never making me a priority
- being completely unable to talk about feelings
- having no value for relationships or meaningful connection with others
- being unhealthily obsessed with money, and stingy with it
- making dismissive comments to put me down
- not wanting to know or comfort me if I was upset
- not wanting to spend extended periods of time with me
- turning things he had done wrong around making them my fault
- constantly downplaying my value and the value of the relationship whilst I tried to show him that I was 'good enough' to be his gf, have a future with etc

We have been broken up for 3 weeks. Objectively I can look at this list and see he was all wrong for me, yet due to the trauma bond I still miss him and the relationship and I am getting SO FRUSTRATED with myself.

How do I break this trauma bond? I am not in contact with him - no way will I be feeding his ego by messaging him - but what else can I do?

OP’s posts: |
Temporary1234 Tue 17-Nov-20 23:08:14

Take it a day at a time and try find something to keep you overwhelmed and motivated so you don’t have time to think about him

flowersrain Tue 17-Nov-20 23:20:54

Temporary1234

Take it a day at a time and try find something to keep you overwhelmed and motivated so you don’t have time to think about him

It's a bit difficult during lockdown! I do try to keep myself busy during the day but there are always quiet moments eg first thing in the morning or last thing at night when I can't stop the thoughts.

Is it even possible to break a trauma bond??? I am so cross with myself that my brain can't seem to listen to reason - no matter how many times I tell myself the facts, it doesn't make a difference

OP’s posts: |
iswhois Tue 17-Nov-20 23:37:47

Just keep reading that list again and again and again

Tell yourself before you go to sleep that you do not need him and are better off without him

My ex had some of the exact qualities you described and we kept getting back together it was a nightmare. In the end I had to be really tough with myself.

user1481840227 Tue 17-Nov-20 23:44:00

Yes you have a trauma bond but leaving that aside you are also dealing with a relationship ending....and very few people are over that in 3 weeks.
It takes time and space to start to heal and let go even from a normal break up.

To try to break the cycle of thoughts try repeating some affirmations or maybe some guided meditations, there's loads on youtube!

It's possible to break a trauma bond, but again it will take time. Well done for recognising it for what it was.

user1481840227 Tue 17-Nov-20 23:56:53

and BLOCK, block him absolutely everywhere that you can think of.

flowersrain Wed 18-Nov-20 00:07:18

@iswhois thank you. There is no way I am getting back with him. It could never work - he has broken me and made me into a shell of the person I was. But it doesn't stop my stupid brain from idealising him and the relationship

@user1481840227 but why is it taking so long to heal when the relationship was clearly so wrong? I am getting SO CROSS with myself. I haven't blocked him yet but I also have no desire to contact him. He actually messaged me a week after the break up because he was 'worried' about me ie he had expected me to be messaging him begging to get him back. Ha. Well I definitely had the urge but there is no way that I will be massaging his ego in that way.

OP’s posts: |
Justtryingtobehelpful Wed 18-Nov-20 00:07:32

How hw gets into you mind
Why dies he do that?
The gift of fear
The shark cage

Read up on boundaries and abusive men. Educate yourself. Observe yourself.

Every time you find yourself thinking about him, so something nice for yourself, e.g. Run a nice bath, put that nice amazon item into your basket to consider, take a deep breath. Pull your focus back to yourself. Give yourself space to understand how you got with him.

Bunnymumy Wed 18-Nov-20 00:12:20

Knowledge is half the battle. The more you learn the better.

I would suggest reading up on narcissists. Melanie tonia Evans does good youtube videos on them. Sounds like he was one of them or similar.

Once you start thinking of them as giant mosquitos only out for blood, it makes it easier to tell them to jog on.

user1481840227 Wed 18-Nov-20 00:29:59

but why is it taking so long to heal when the relationship was clearly so wrong? I am getting SO CROSS with myself. I haven't blocked him yet but I also have no desire to contact him. He actually messaged me a week after the break up because he was 'worried' about me ie he had expected me to be messaging him begging to get him back. Ha. Well I definitely had the urge but there is no way that I will be massaging his ego in that way.

3 weeks is not long.
The best thing that you can do for yourself is to block him. Everyone who has ever been in a toxic relationship and healed from it will tell you to block.

flowersrain Wed 18-Nov-20 00:33:20

@Justtryingtobehelpful @Bunnymumy thank you, I am educating myself and learning a lot about attachment theory and why I was attracted to him in the first place. I am also having therapy to work through it - I never want to fall into a similar relationship again.

@user1481840227 ha I suppose it just FEELS long. And my friends are sick of supporting me and don't want to hear about it anymore. Thank you for your advice, I will block him.

OP’s posts: |
Muchadoaboutlife Wed 18-Nov-20 03:28:12

Block him and find ways to distract yourself

RantyAnty Wed 18-Nov-20 03:39:22

It really does take time.

PP have given good advice and resources.

Write out a list of the top 10 or 20 rotten things he has done.Then at the bottom write, and this is the real him.

When you have the slightest bit of missing him, take out that list and read it again and again.

notsurewhattodo22 Wed 18-Nov-20 08:48:36

Exactly same here. Today is the first day I've not felt enthralled in it all.

Mine was the same....wouldn't spend time with me, inconsistent, extremely dismissive and condescending. Even still.my brain idealized him.

YouTube and listening about trauma bonds is good.

He sounds narcissistic, it is addictive.

Cold Turkey is best even though it's sheer hell at first.

roe2002 Wed 18-Nov-20 09:20:07

Look up The Dating Guy on YouTube. He talks about break ups, and seeking validation, and applying Indefinite No Contact to help you heal and focus on you only. Unlike other 'Break Up Gurus' he's honest, gives good advice to both men and women and is not a pushy salesman trying to get you to buy any rubbish Get your Ex Back literature or correspondence.

BlenheimOrange Wed 18-Nov-20 09:32:23

Time. For me it took 6-8 months after a similar length relationship for it not to be the first thing in my head each morning. But I was less quick than you in realising it hadn’t been a healthy relationship.

notsurewhattodo22 Wed 18-Nov-20 12:52:00

I think it's because they've made us feel so useless by treating us so terribly we come to rely on them for validation...almost to prove ourselves. That's what I think has happened with me.

notsurewhattodo22 Wed 18-Nov-20 12:52:52

With occasional niceness/ caring though ( like your text) to confuse the fuck out of us and make us doubt someone so 'caring' could be so mean.

KylieKoKo Wed 18-Nov-20 14:35:35

It's only been 3 weeks and we're in lockdown so you don't have the usual distractions of seeing your friends. I think you need to give yourself a break.

pyramidhead Wed 18-Nov-20 16:29:34

Mine was the same. Its taken me 8 months and Im still not right. I read a few books, including Women Who Love Too Much which I found the most helpful. I watched lots of YouTube videos on narcissism but that in itself was addictive and I felt it was eventually impairing my healing.
The best method is no contact. I tried to stay on the sidelines, even made a comeback. Nothing changed. People only change if they want to and if those behaviours you mentioned are in his nature theres not much chance of change.
Its very hard but completely block him everywhere.
Write a list of everything you can think of that he did and return to it when you feel like you miss him.
I think the turning point for me was when I saw him on a dating site and found he was messaging women whilst ignoring my messages. I just realised I could do no more. I had to maintain the dignity I had left. If they dont care about you ( dont care about your feelings, care if youre upset, youre not a priority etc) they will leave you at the drop of a hat anyway, and continue to use you as a doormat or fall back girl.
Stay strong, you will be ok.

notsurewhattodo22 Wed 18-Nov-20 16:45:01

Seems to be the same traits with all of them doesn't it...

Not a priority
No consideration for feelings
Cold / detached/ dismissive

I think it confuses us as most people don't like attention unless it's from someone they care about. Narcissists enjoy it regardless.

notsurewhattodo22 Wed 18-Nov-20 16:45:58

Mr Unavailable and the fallback girl is a great book too. Read it...you will think it's about you...I did!

JurassicParkAha Wed 18-Nov-20 17:46:25

I have realised that only time heals break up wounds. I think you've done very well to cut all contact, and even make this list - be proud of yourself and be kind to yourself.

Even bad relationships have good moments, moments of fun, moments of love - and you can't just rationalise them away, even when you know it wasn't right. Don't force it, trust the process, grieve your relationship, but also you are grieving the loss of the hopes and dreams you had of him. That is being human,

Lockdown doesn't help, too much time to dwell, isolation, uncertainty . But if you keep up the no contact and carry on with your day to day life, you will wake up one day and realise you don't miss him anymore. When you find yourself faltering, just re-read your list and remind yourself of all the unhappiness - memories are buggers - the good ones always try to float to the top. Don't let them. Good luck xx

pallasathena Wed 18-Nov-20 17:48:32

Mindfulness.
Get an elastic band and put it on your wrist. Every time the thought of him pops into your head, twang the elastic band.
Over a period of time you'll find yourself not 'twanging', as much as previously. It's used in cognitive therapy to train the mind to overcome unwanted feelings.

funnylittlefloozie Wed 18-Nov-20 17:53:53

You've read enough to understand the trauma bond. Keep reading and thinking, and eventually you will see the light, and wonder what you ever saw in him. Just stay strong and trust in your head rather than your heart.

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