Traumatic Bonding: Understanding Child Abuse


Traumatic bonding, as the author calls it, is an experiencing of both positive and extreme negatives from an abusive parent. In cases that involve trauma and abuse at the hands of a parent, a child can become almost co-dependent.

What do you know about child abuse? What should you know about child abuse? Did you know that abuse is one of the most traumatizing events that a child could experience? For many children, abuse is unexpected and their ability to cope is often disproportionate to the abuse. Trauma is often defined as a terrible event that outweighs a child’s ability to cope (National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 2015). This inability to cope often leads to mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and even personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder, narcissism, or avoidant personality. Even more, trauma can interfere with our ability to develop and maintain healthy relationships (work, marriage, friend, family) and appropriate social interactions. Trauma can also affect development throughout the lifespan and lead to a lifetime of emotional lability (“switchable” emotional states or moods).

To read more about Bonding to the abuser, check out my most recent book review on PsychCentral:


Photo credit:  Mike Knapek