If you haven’t ended the relationship yet, that’s the first place to start. Here’s mbg’s full guide to leaving an abusive relationship. You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224) and confidently speak with a trained advocate who can help you think through your options and make a plan.
“Healing from an abusive or traumatic relationship doesn’t happen overnight. Individuals involved in those relationships need both support and resources; working with a trauma-informed therapist and joining a support group is a great place to start,” Travers suggests.
Go no-contact with your ex so you can focus on yourself completely. Since trauma bonding works within isolation, move to the other side of the spectrum by intentionally connecting with others. Repressing your emotions and pushing away what happened will keep you from processing the relationship, which will keep you spiritually frozen. By sharing openly, it decreases feelings of loneliness as you cultivate restorative relationship practices.
During your recovery from a trauma bond, developing your relationship with yourself will be essential as you find safety again. “My advice to any and every person: Find out your attachment pattern, understand the basics of your early life relational trauma, and find out what your Big Five personality traits are,” Macaluso says. “The more you know, the more power you have. And the more power you have, the less likely you are to choose someone who will take it away from you.”
Keeping a journal to privately record your thoughts and figure out patterns may be eye-opening as you return to yourself. Working on your self-worth will help you recognize the difference between unhealthy and healthy attachments down the line. It also works hand in hand with boundary development and higher self-esteem.
Not only are you emotionally attending to yourself, but you’re also processing it somatically, which can be heavy. Toxic relationships are emotionally arresting, and unprocessed trauma can convert into stuck energy, which can overwhelm the systems in your body and overall cognition. It can also lead to increased blood pressure, tense muscles, sending your sympathetic nervous system into overdrive. Leaning on movement, mindfulness, and self-care will be vital.