We develop bonds for survival in childhood, usually with our caregiver, which is the foundation of attachment.

When our safety is threatened in some way, we turn to our caregiver, for support and protection. 

  These types of relationships so hard to heal from.

The damage caused puts you in to a state of confusion, you had no idea the abuse was taking place; and like Chinese water torture, it happened very slowly and it turned you insane! 

During the relationship you told everyone how amazing they were; so when it ended they didn’t understand what happened either. 

They may ask you ‘what happened, you were so happy’ and you don’t know.

In a Toxic or emotionally abusive relationship, there is a BONDING that happens, during the CYCLE OF ABUSE. 

A bonding takes place in most relationships, but this is one-sided, and is Trauma bonding.  

Patrick Carnes developed the term TRAUMA BONDING as ‘The misuse of fear, excitement, sexual feelings, and sexual physiology to entangle another person.’ during his work with sexual addiction.

Bonding is a process that makes people more important to each other, we develop bonds for survival and it is the foundation of attachment. 

This is why TEAM BUILDING exercises use BONDING SCENARIOS AND TECHNIQUES. It helps instil trust in each member of the team, bonds are made during activities, that are unique to the individuals. 

When our safety is threatened in some way, we turn to our team, for support and protection and these bonds can be created within hours. 

People who have experienced a traumatic situation together, always have a bond of survival. I watched the film Sully, Tom Hanks plays the pilot who successfully landed a plane on the Hudson River in New York following a Birdstrike, that took out both engines. The crew ensured the passengers got off the plane safely and waiting with them on the wings and on floatation crafts to be rescued. 

Never in the history of aviation had a passenger plane been known to survive such a landing. At the end of the film they show footage of the plane in a hangar, the pilot Chesley Sullenberger was with the crew, meeting the passengers and their families, during his speech he says “because of the events of the 15th of January  2009, we will be joined in our hearts and minds together”.

Bonding is a very strong connection, it strengthens when we spend time someone. 

Bonds get stronger when we make love and when we have children together. 

Bonding becomes stronger by being together during a stressful situation or periods of difficulty.

And Trauma Bonding is why it is hard to leave an abusive relationship. 

Trauma Bonding makes it hard to enforce boundaries, and it makes it hard to stay away from people we have bonded with. 

The brain controls the body, and during the very dangerous LOVE BOMBING stage, it has been receiving a lot of oxytocin, a bonding hormone.  It is also known as the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone,” released when people bond socially, it can also be released when playing with your dog. 

Oxytocin plays a huge role during pregnancy, birth and during breastfeeding. The release of Oxytocin causes the contractions during labour, it softens the neck of the cervix and then helps the uterus contract after birth. When the baby suckles at the breast, the stimulation releases oxytocin promoting mother-child bonding. 

Oxytocin eases stress and creates feelings of calm and closeness. In a love relationship, your brain releases oxytocin during physical contact, cuddling or sex; it is released when someone shows they trust you, and sometimes even simply by just talking.

Strong bonds are created early on in the relationship, so when they start devaluing you,  it causes great pain and confusion. 

When the relationship ends, the bond is so strong and the withdrawal so painful, that you look for ways of getting the relationship back, and to where you were at the beginning of the relationship. 

A toxic relationship is about power and control. 

During the IDEALISATION stage, they positioned themselves as the caregiver, showering you with attention, gifts, meals, days out, manufacturing a love you may never have experienced before. 

Once they have hooked you up to your drug of choice, THEM, they start to introduce situations that release stress hormones, they do this with the slight putdowns and creating drama and jealousy. When they threaten your safety through their behaviour, you turn to them, the abuser, for help and protection through the bond that has been created. You then rationalise their behaviour, believing they care about you, releasing more Oxytocin and creating further bonding; this is the reason you are so connected to them and so when it finishes, you have a really hard time imagining life without them.

This Pain is very REAL!

Cruel and twisted isn’t it… 


  • Elizabeth Goddard

    Author of the A-Z of Emotional Abuse and Finding Lily I help people break the invisible bonds that keep them trapped after a relationship

    Through my own healing journey, I know the damage emotional abuse leaves both in your internal life and your external, physical, and financial life because I’ve been there.

    This was a game and I didn’t have the rules. After an unhealthy relationship, I was left a shell of my former self and I’d lost everything; I was broke and I was broken… 

    I was stuck in a debilitating cycle of questioning and doubting myself- 

    “If only I had said… If only I hadn’t said… Maybe if I had done… Maybe if I hadn’t done… “ I thought it was all my fault.

    The very first part of healing was dealing with the invisible bonds the Trauma Bonding, which kept me trapped unable to move on.  I eventually realised it really wouldn’t have made any difference if I had said or done anything differently I would still be here, I might have been granted more time but I also might have been even more traumatised. 

    I believe the emotions we feel are trapped trauma and we experience over and over again until we remove it completely from our system. 

    And that we need to get to the root cause, and much like a verruca, if a tiny part of the root is left it will lay dormant until it is triggered again. 

    The problem with a lot of methods is they only scratch the surface of the problem and act more like a bandaid rather than a full solution…

    Every step I have taken over the last 20 years has brought me to this point to be able to spot the hallmarks of abuse and transform the grit into gold

    Each new level of understanding has expanded my toolbox.

    I am so passionate about the work I do with clients, seeing them gain the clarity and the inner healing is magical and to see their faces change physically after just one session inspires me. 

    And I love having a business that allows me to travel, for travel was something that saved me when I was going through my own healing journey. 

    When I’m not working on Revive Your Soul, you will probably find me in my garden tending to my vegetables, might find me walking along the canals, writing, or meeting friends for coffee. Or you might spot me at the airport…

    Elizabeth Goddard

     Author - Finding Lily & A-Z of Emotional Abuse and Emotional Abuse Specialist