Do you know one of the hardest decisions to ever make in life? It is breaking free from the bonds of a narcissist. I tell you that narcissists are one of the despicable yet smartest people in the world because of their quick wittedness and their manipulative power of bringing people down on their knees. They bury down their own fragile ego and then manage to find your big ego to trample on it. People who find themselves under the grip of a narcissist go through a lot of difficult emotions yet as hard as it is to live with a narcissist, breaking free from them had proved to be a much bigger battle.
The most tactical technique they use against you is the ‘trauma bonding technique’. Ever heard of that before? Probably yes or no but anyway, I will tell you what it is. Naturally, humans are created to have emotional attachment to the people they love, the people who are there for them, and the people who protects them right? This emotional attachment is the bonds that brings a whole family together. It’s not something that happens in a day or two but something that requires a long time to develop and when it does, it becomes hard to detach yourself from it. Well unfortunately, narcissists use this technique to bring you down and make you beg with your big ego.
Initially, they treat you nicely, show you intense love like a dream come true until you start developing that bond, you start feeling safe and secure being with them, you trust their love and then the table slowly turns against you. This happens in a slow progressive manner so everything feels natural yet it isn’t. They start showing you the faulty side of yourself, sometimes by subtly criticizing you and because you trust them, you believe whatever they say. The amount of love you get from them slowly decreases and you begin to wonder why that happens, thinking you might be the reason why everything is going wrong. You try to fix yourself because you desire to win back their love, and you succumb to harsh punishments because you feel you deserve it. You feel guilty so you do not have the energy to walk away feeling like the bad guy.
At this stage, you’re in confusion so they tell you to do what they want and they promise to love you again like before. You crave for that sweet love again so you do everything they say and once in a while, you get rewarded but not as much as before but you’re still grateful for the little you get since half a loaf is better than none. With this little validation, you keep doing what you do hoping that someday, you will win back all the love again and you fail to notice that it only makes it worse as they establish more of their control over you.
You find yourself addicted to this toxic person but you still need to win back their love because you are so scared to lose them and that is it, you have become ‘trauma bonded’. It takes a lot of courage to break away from this toxic relationship because your abuser has become almost like a part of you as in the case of Stockholm syndrome. Although some people say Stockholm syndrome and traumatic bonding are the same thing but I believe there is a slight difference between the two. In my next article, I am going to talk more about the Stockholm syndrome so for now, we would focus on breaking free from the traumatic bonding.
Breaking free from this bond is not something that magically happens and it’s not a miracle either. It just happens when you are ready to be courageous enough to endure the pain and the awful feeling like a part of you has been chopped off but it’s worth it. I tell you it’s worth it. The struggle is real just like ridding yourself from drug addiction, there would be side effects too but in the long run, you would be happy to win back your freedom. Nobody deserves to be manipulated like that so if someone treats you like that, show them how you were born to be free.
Writer: Karima Shehu