Healing from trauma bonds can take some time but is possible with support and treatment. When you leave an abuser, the trauma bond is broken, and you can begin to heal.

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Trauma bonding occurs when you develop a bond with your abuser. It often involves a negative pattern of an abuser sucking you in, making you dependent on them, and beginning a pattern of violence or aggression toward you.

When you leave an abusive relationship and break the trauma bond, it takes some time to heal from that relationship. Finding treatment and relying on your support systems are vital for healing from trauma bonds.

When you’re trying to heal from a trauma bond, you need as much support as you can get. Here are some research-backed ways to recover from a trauma bond.

Seek the support of a therapist who specializes in trauma

Finding mental health treatment can help you heal from a trauma bond, especially if it’s a therapist who specializes in trauma or works with victims of intimate partner violence. Trauma bonds involve a cycle of dependence, abuse, and love bombing.

Learning to recognize these patterns and break contact with the abuser must be done with support. Having healthy relationships after breaking a trauma bond might be challenging due to the broken trust formed in trauma bonds.

For more about finding a trauma therapist, consider visiting PsychCentral’s Resource for Finding Mental Health Support.

Set healthy boundaries

When you’re healing from trauma bonds, you may not have set healthy boundaries before. The lack of healthy boundaries may have led you to stay in relationships where you tolerated unhealthy and flat-out abusive behaviors.

Research suggests women who’ve faced intimate partner violence and have recovered from it have set boundaries with their perpetrators and have been in little to no contact with them. They also mention that many women have sought supportive and healthy relationships with others.

Your abuser probably made you feel like you couldn’t live without them. They made you dependent on them emotionally, financially, and physically. Learning the signs of abusive relationships and setting clear boundaries with others can help you heal.

Learn about secure and healthy attachment styles

Trauma bonds form from unhealthy and insecure attachments with others, including your abuser. When you learn what healthy attachment looks like, you can move from insecure to secure attachments with someone.

It’s important to note that breaking contact with your abuser is often the safest and healthiest thing to do. You can learn to have secure attachments in other relationships in the future.

Practice self-care

Learning how to take care of yourself properly after leaving a relationship in which there were trauma bonds is crucial. Self-care can look different for everyone. It may involve anything from managing difficult emotions to getting plenty of sleep and exercise.

Coping with triggers in a healthy way is also an essential part of healing from abusive relationships. When you face triggers, consider leaning on your support system or using emotional regulation skills.

How long does it take to recover from trauma bonding?

There isn’t a set length of time that it takes to recover from trauma bonding, as it varies from person to person. For some people, it may take a few months; for others, it can take years.

How long it takes may depend on how soon someone seeks treatment, their access to a healthy support system, and if they have the resources to get help.

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When you’ve been in an abusive relationship where trauma bonds have formed, and you choose to leave, the impact can last a while. Research indicates the effects of trauma bonds can include:

  • depression
  • low self-esteem
  • a loss of your sense of self
  • interpersonal relationship difficulties

These relationships can break you down and make it hard to trust people in the future. It can leave you blaming yourself and feeling bad about yourself. It can be hard to trust people after experiencing violence, name-calling, and criticism from someone you once depended on and loved.

It may be hard to imagine a life without your abuser, and although it may take time, healing from an abusive relationship is possible. Eventually, you may see yourself as worthy without relying on someone else for validation and love.

Healing from a trauma bond takes time. Once you have cut contact with your abuser, seeking support is vital for being able to mitigate the impacts that the relationship had on you.

Long-term effects of trauma bonds can last for a while, and seeking treatment when possible can help you recover. You can form healthy and secure attachments, which may take some time.

For more information about intimate partner violence, trauma bonding, and healing from trauma bonds, consider visiting or calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline for support and resources.