The beginning of a new relationship is exciting, full of fluttery feelings. Most likely, it’s filled with frequent communication and time together. For some, it feels addictive, and that is when it is alarming. Love is slow, patient, and develops with time and getting to know each other. A toxic connection on the other hand starts with “love bombing”, or fairytale-like behavior that suddenly drastically changes. In this scenario, a partner is an abuser and the other a codependent–both reenacting relationship patterns that were modeled for them as children, rooted in trauma. An expert in trauma therapy in Los Angeles can help end these toxic relationships and help you ward them off in the future.
Trauma bonding is attachment bonding. It is the internalized behavior, a template for relating to others, created by the relationship pattern developed through a child and their caregiver(s), consisting of repeated abuse (mentally, physically, or emotionally). In other words, when a child is abused, they associate love with abuse because a child will much rather protect their relationship with their parent(s) than be abandoned and in doing so, blame themselves for upsetting parents. These thoughts during childhood turn into low self-esteem and feelings of unworthiness that then seep into adult relationships, making the person codependent. Most often, a person who suffered abuse as a child will subconsciously seek abusive and narcissistic partners that will validate them or abusive partners will easily bait them because of their eagerness to be loved. Once the abuser has all their needs met by their partner and they have made their partner feel good enough and loved, they have hooked them in. Then, they can assert control and abuse the partner.
Trauma Therapy in Los Angeles: Signs that You’re in a Toxic Relationship
Relationships ebb and flow as each individual goes through their own personal ups and downs. While it is normal that it is not always running smoothly, it should be alarming if the relationship is consistently one-sided and volatile.
Red flags in a partnership:
- Feeling mentally and emotionally drained when with partner
- Initial infatuation or being put on pedestal
- Jumping quickly into deepening relationship like saying “I love you” or moving in together
- Addiction to partner–must be around them often and cannot leave them
- Lack of trust on both sides, even if partner has done nothing to prove they are not trustworthy
- Constant negativity from partner and little support or belief from them
- Avoidance and detachment from partner
- Hot and cold behavior that triggers the need to prove worthy of partner’s love
- Lack of respect for boundaries, especially with saying “no”
- Passive aggressive behavior to manipulate a person into thinking their partner is giving permission
- Lack of privacy from partner to point of reading texts, emails, receipts, bills
- Constant lies from partner
- Jealousy from partner or their need to make codependent person jealous
Break the Cycle
People who repeatedly enter toxic relationships will be able to break the pattern when they learn to love and accept themselves, feel worthy without the approval of others, reshape the way they view love, and when they choose to let go of the attachment bond they developed with caregivers. Although codependents are capable of breaking the cycle, it takes commitment and discipline to stay on track. A mental health professional will assist in bringing awareness to a person and their patterns so that they can recognize the unhealthy patterns and end the cycle of abuse. A therapist will also provide self-care tools that will help the abused individual to become autonomous, self-aware, and empowered to leave toxic situations. In the process, the therapist will help with strategies to physically and emotionally separate from the abusive partner, to recognize the abuse and control, to help the codependent person realize they have a right to make their own choice in a relationship, and to develop healthy support systems.
For more information on trauma therapy in Los Angeles, call Trauma and Beyond Center ® at (818) 651-0725.