Patrick Carnes developed the term to describe "the misuse of fear, excitement, sexual feelings, and sexual physiology to entangle another person." A simpler and more encompassing definition is that traumatic bonding is: "a strong emotional attachment between an abused person and his or her abuser, formed as a result of the cycle of violence."
Bonding is a normal and natural occurrence between people in an interpersonal relationship that grows over time, strengthened by doing things together, participating in major life events together and experiencing good and bad times together.
Bonding in abusive relationships
Unhealthy, or traumatic bonding, occurs between people in an abusive relationship. The bond is stronger for people who have grown up in abusive households because it seems to be a normal part of relationships.
Initially the person that had become an abuser was inconsistent in approach, which developed into an intensity perhaps not matched in other relationships of the victim. The longer a relationship continues, the more difficult it is for people to leave the abusers with whom they have bonded.
- Chrissie Sanderson. Counselling Survivors of Domestic Abuse. Jessica Kingsley Publishers; 15 June 2008. ISBN 978-1-84642-811-1. p. 84.
- Trauma bonding. Abuse and relationships. Retrieved April 20, 2014.
- Wendy Austin; Mary Ann Boyd. Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing for Canadian Practice. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 1 January 2010. ISBN 978-0-7817-9593-7. p. 67.
- Why does my child keep returning to the abusers?. PACE UK. Retrieved April 20, 2014.
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- Patrick Carnes, Ph.D.. The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships. Health Communications, Incorporated; 1 January 2010. ISBN 978-0-7573-9719-6.
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