You might be in the deep throws of confusion; either at the end or nearly at the end of an Emotionally Abusive Relationship. Or possibly this may have happened many years ago, but you still haven’t quite got over it.

Why are these types of relationships so hard to heal from?

You had no idea the abuse was taking place; and just like Chinese water torture, it happens very slowly and it turned you insane! 

During the relationship you had told everyone how amazing they are; so when it ends they don’t understand what happened either. 

Now at the end of the relationship, you might be running through the events that lead to this point asking yourself so many questions, not understanding what happened.

Perhaps you are questioning everything that happened, going over with a fine-tooth comb wondering what YOU did wrong.

Potentially this has been keeping you stuck not being able to move on, move forward and put it behind you.

You have possibly been replaying the relationship, wondering if you had done something differently would you still have your partner or you might be wondering if you hadn’t done something or said something if things would be different. It hurts so, so much! 

Bonding took place, as it does in every relationship, but these bonds were one-sided; you bonded to them they didn’t. 

These bonds run so deeply and the pain you are feeling is emanating from your soul. You have no idea if you will recover and you may wake-up in the morning with a feeling of dread. You may have feelings of wishing you weren’t alive, this what Peter Walker calls ‘Suicidal Ideation’. 

The bonds are created by Oxytocin, which is a really important hormone. It is released during the fourth month of pregnancy and later to trigger the start of the birth process. Oxytocin is the hormone that helps create bonds between the mother and her baby.

And it isn’t just mothers who release this hormone when a baby is born their fathers do too. Oxytocin also plays an important role in the recovery of the mother, and it anaesthetises the memory and pain from giving birth.

Research has been carried out to discover the role Oxytocin really plays in lives. During some of this research, it was discovered that it is linked to social situations good and bad. When we make friends or fall in love and when we have an orgasm, but it is also released when we are jealous or envious of anyone.

Women produce larger amounts of Oxytocin however, it still plays an important role for men; it helps them with the production of testosterone and also in the movement of sperm.

Oxytocin is important for relationships and social situations, and this is the reason we bond and trust each other and it is important for fidelity in relationships. It is also involved in the positive feelings we have for one another and helps to reduce shyness and fear, increasing generosity and empathy.

Oxytocin supports the sexual attraction and is released when engaging in intercourse, sexual excitement and orgasms; hence, its nickname the “love hormone.”

But it is two-faced, research has linked low levels of oxytocin to depressive disorders and emotional pain and it was found that stress affects the production of oxytocin differently in males and females. 

So, too much Oxytocin might be bad for you!

During stressful or fearful situations Oxytocin receptors appear to strengthen the emotion and the memory of it. If you were bullied at school those memories and emotions from the event can be stored until a later date. Perhaps you find yourself working for a bullying boss, your anxiety levels are rising you can’t understand why. 

In social situations, if your experience is negative or stressful, Oxytocin activates a part of the brain that intensifies the memory. 

Scientists discovered that oxytocin strengthens an important signalling molecule — ERK (extracellular signal-regulated kinases) — which becomes activated for six hours after a negative social experience. ERK causes enhanced fear, by stimulating the brain’s fear pathways, many of which pass through the lateral septum the region involved in emotional and stress responses. The lateral septum in the region that has the highest oxytocin levels in the brain and has high levels of oxytocin receptors across all species from mice to humans. And experiments with mice have established that oxytocin is essential for strengthening the memory of negative social interactions and oxytocin increases fear and anxiety in future stressful situations. ( )

This was a game and you weren’t given the rules… 

You were IDEALISED and during this stage, everything you said and did was watched and noted. You were swept off your feet with the Love Bombing. Then they moved on to the DEVALUATION STAGE, they start testing the water, to check they had the programming at correct setting and if they had it right, they knew you would be more interested in protecting the relationship than you were in protecting yourself. They may have made comments about your intelligence (something they admired you for in the beginning), or your abilities in certain areas and perhaps your hopes and dreams. If you question this, you are perhaps over-sensitive, or they were only joking! 

The attention you received at the start of the relationship disappeared and you started to accept any little crumb they threw your way. 

They use other techniques such as triangulation. They talked too much about their exes, or they talk about anyone who gives them attention, this is used to draw you closer and fight for their attention. 

They triangulated you with anyone you saw as a threat, they love to turn people against each other; they keep them just far enough apart so you can’t compare anything, but close enough to ensure you know they are a threat. They manufacture situations that made you feel jealous and so you would question their fidelity. 

Just like they have poisoned and brainwashed you, they have done the same to everyone else in their lives; the stories they made up about the other people they are now telling about you. 

You may have experienced Gaslighting you didn’t understand a situation or your facts were wrong, or you may have discovered their lies and again told YOU to have it all wrong. 

This is about Power and Control 

The cycle now starts; round and round and round it goes.

They then introduced the DISCARD STAGE, to make sure you are fully hooked, don’t be confused with the FINAL DISCARD. They may disappear or not call or do what they said they were going to do. They then reappear with a gift or compliment, giving you back the feeling you had at the beginning of the relationships and reaffirming that they do love you! 

They turn everything into a competition, and you end up fighting for their attention with fake or invisible people.

We are all a bunch of chemicals.

When the relationship ended you may have had difficulty managing your emotions or you might have experienced strong emotional reactions to situations, perhaps becoming irritable or having extreme mood swings. And the Stress Hormones stay in your body. Those Oxytocin receptors are strengthening the memory and fear again.

Can you now see how dangerous these chemical changes can be? You may experience intense cravings wanting to get back to the LOVE BOMBING STAGE at the beginning of the relationship.

Perhaps you were being re-triggered by this relationship from an event or events from your childhood, or if you have been through or never recovered from a previous relationship you might be experiencing this pain again.

These are real fear responses; when your partner screamed in your face or shouted so loudly you jumped or when they threatened to leave and abandon you, your FEAR responses were triggered… 

You have experienced this before and you are reliving it! You have wounds from other relationships that need healing…

Those Oxytocin receptors there are responsible for creating bonds helping you integrate with social situations are also responsible for strengthening the memory and the fear again for toxic relationships… 


  • 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