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Beware of Junk Psychology... Just because it's on the Internet doesn't mean it's true. Not all blogs and online "life coaches" are reliable, accurate, or healthy for you. Remember, there is no oversight, no competency testing, no registration, and no accountability for many sites - it is up to you to qualify the resource. Learn how to navigate this complicated arena...
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Author Topic: Trauma bonds?  (Read 514 times)
H Hi
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Posts: 55

« on: January 04, 2015, 03:27:57 PM »


Does anyone have any insight into trauma bonds or can recommend any books, websites for more info?

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Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2015, 09:03:55 PM »

What i did was a simple Google search.

In the eye for an eye game, he who cares least, wins. I, for one. am never stepping into the ring with someone who is impulsive and doesn't think of the downstream consequences.
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« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2015, 09:40:37 PM »

The Betrayal Bond by Patrick Carnes is excellent!  I highly recommend it!  Here's a review of it here:


I liked it so much I reviewed it twice (by accident Laugh out loud (click to insert in post))
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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
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« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2015, 09:56:47 PM »

We as humans are more loyal and committed to something that is difficult, uncomfortable, and even humiliating. Almost any ordeal creates a bonding experience.

Look at fraternity hazing, military boot camps, club initiations, athletic teams. Any time there is a requirement to quickly form bonds between people with little other common ground, bonding will be hastened via intense, torturous and/or humiliating activities.

Look also at people who go through trauma together... .survivors of war, disaster victims, so on. There's a reason why people "fall in love" after experiencing tragedy together -- like in all of those disaster movies where the protagonists realize they're soulmates after knowing each other for all of five days.

The concept of traumatic bonding is based on this very basic human truth. Patrick Carnes, who coined the term, described it as "the misuse of fear, excitement, sexual feelings, and sexual physiology to entangle another person."

From Wikipedia--

Traumatic bonding occurs as the result of ongoing cycles of abuse in which the intermittent reinforcement of reward and punishment creates powerful emotional bonds that are resistant to change.

Now, intermittent reinforcement is the key here. Intermittent reinforcement is when rewards or personal boundaries are handed out or enforced inconsistently and occasionally. The unpredictability is what keeps us hooked. Think about slot machines. That's usually the example given for how intermittent reinforcement works on us psychologically.

This is one of the best descriptions of intermittent reinforcement I've found:

One of the useful principles discovered by behavioral psychologists is that intermittent reinforcement increases resistance to extinction. The word intermittent means not every time. Intermittent reinforcement contrasts with continuous reinforcement. Under conditions of continuous reinforcement, the organism is reinforced every time it makes the required response.

What effects do continuous and intermittent reinforcement have upon speed of extinction? Why? For example, under continuous reinforcement, every time the rat hits the bar, it receives a food pellet. Under intermittent reinforcement, the rat might be required to hit the bar 50 times to get the pellet, or the rat might be reinforced only once every five minutes, or the rat might be reinforced only when you are in the room, or in accordance with some other pattern, but not every time. Any pattern of reinforcement other than continuous reinforcement is a form of intermittent reinforcement.

Extinction, as you recall, is a process of eliminating a behavior by stopping the delivery of reinforcers responsible for maintaining the behavior. Intermittent reinforcement makes extinction slower or harder to accomplish. The reason is that intermittent reinforcement makes an extinction period harder for animals to discriminate.

During an extinction period, a behavior is never reinforced. If the response has been continually reinforced in the past, the animal will quickly notice this; it will discriminate the extinction period. It will stop responding soon. By contrast, if a response is intermittently reinforced, then the animal grows accustomed to periods of no reinforcement. If an experimenter tries to extinguish the behavior by cutting off all reinforcement, the animal is less likely to notice that extinction is taking place, or more likely to persist with the behavior in the expectation that reinforcement may resume again as it has in the past. The result is that animals with a history of intermittent reinforcement do not stop a behavior as quickly as animals with a history of continuous reinforcement. Instead, they show resistance to extinction. (Dr. Dewey, full article here)

The end result is that it's much harder for us to detach from a relationship where intermittent reinforcement has been used and trauma bonds created.

Disordered people who rely on creating trauma bonds to attach to people are masters at what they do. They have to be -- it's survival for them, emotional life or death.
H Hi
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« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2015, 12:34:31 PM »

Thanks for all the info.

Happy nihilist - thanks so much. That really makes a lot of sense.
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