Victims are bonded by fear. Fear of finding out the truth AND fear of losing him. This is called Trauma Bonding. (also, look for information on "Stockholm Syndrome")
Dr. Patrick Carne's book THE BETRAYAL BOND - does a fantastic job of explaining this. This might be the very thing that therapists, friends & family refuse to get. But victims vitally need to understand. - EOPC
"Exploitive relationships can create trauma bonds -- chains that link a victim to someone who is dangerous to them. Divorce, employee relations, litigation of any type, abuse, family and marital systems, domestic violence, kidnapping, exploitation and religious/ verbal/ emotional abuse are all areas of trauma bonding. All these relationships share one thing: they are situations of incredible intensity or importance where there is an exploitation of trust or power."
- Dr. Patrick Carnes
by Dr. Patrick Carnes
About Trauma Bonding:
These people are all struggling with traumatic bonds. Those standing outside see the obvious. All these relationships are about some insane loyalty or attachment. They share exploitation, fear, and danger. They also have elements of kindness, nobility and righteousness. These are all people who stay involved or wish to stay involved with people who betray them. Emotional pain, severe consequences and even the prospect of death do not stop their caring or commitment.
Clinicians call this “traumatic bonding.” This means that the victims have a certain dysfunctional attachment that occurs in the presence of danger, shame, or exploitation. There often is seduction, deception or betrayal. There is always some form of danger or risk.
Some relationships are traumatic. Take, for example, the conflictual ties in movies like The War of the Roses or Fatal Attraction. What Lucy does to Charlie Brown (in the comic strip, Peanuts) every year when she holds the football for him to kick is a betrayal we have grown to expect. Abuse cycles such as those found in domestic violence are built around trauma bonds. So are the misplaced loyalties found in exploitive cults, incest families, or hostage and kidnapping situations.
[Victims] who remain with alcoholics, compulsive gamblers, sex addicts, [or Cyberpaths!] and who will not leave no matter what their partners do, may have suffered enough to have a traumatic bond.
Here are the signs that trauma bonds exist in your life:
- When you obsess about people who have hurt you though they are long gone from your life (To obsess means to be preoccupied, fantasize about, and wonder about something/someone even though you do not want to.)
- When you continue to seek contact with people whom you know will cause you further pain.
- When you go “overboard” to help people who have been destructive to you.
- When you continue to be a “team” member when obviously things are becoming destructive.
- When you continue attempts to get people who are clearly using you to like you.
- When you again and again trust people who have proved to be unreliable.
- When you are unable to distance yourself from unhealthy relationships.
- When you want to be understood by those who clearly do not care.
- When you choose to stay in conflict with others when it would cost you nothing to walk away.
- When you persist in trying to convince people that there is a problem and they are not willing to listen.
- When you are loyal to people who have betrayed you.
- When you are attached to untrustworthy people.
- When you keep damaging secrets about exploitation or abuse.
- When you continue contact with an abuser who acknowledges no responsibility.
An injury to one’s sense of self forges some bonds. The self-injury becomes part of the fabric of the relationship and further disrupts the natural unfolding of the self. When this involves terror of any sort, an emptiness forms at the core of the person and the self becomes inconsolable. No addiction can fill in. No denial of self will restore it. No single gesture will be believable. Only a profound sense of the human community caring for the self can seal up this hole. We call this wound shame.
Dr. Carnes’ book: The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships
The concept of Traumatic Bonding has also been developed to explain the dynamics of domestic violence relationships. Essentially, strong emotional connections develop between the victim and the perpetrator during the abusive relationship. These emotional ties develop due to the imbalance of power between the batterer and the victim and because the treatment is intermittently good and bad.
In terms of the power imbalance, as the abuser gains more power, the abused individual feels worse about him - or herself, is less able to protect him - or herself, and is less competent. The abused person therefore becomes increasingly dependent on the abuser.
The second key factor in traumatic bonding is the intermittent and unpredictable abuse. While this may sound counterintuitive, the abuse is offset by an increase in positive behaviors such as attention, gifts, and promises. The abused individual also feels relief that the abuse has ended. Thus, there is intermittent reinforcement for the behavior, which is difficult to extinguish and serves instead to strengthen the bond between the abuser and the individual being exploited.