Trauma Bonds and Intermittent Reinforcement

Trauma Bonds and Intermittent Reinforcement

How does intermittent reinforcement create trauma bonds?

Trauma bonding is a coping mechanism. It’s also a survival instinct. Most people who have narcissistic parents experience something called intermittent reinforcement. Before we get into how trauma bonding is caused by intermittent reinforcement, let’s talk about what each of these terms means in detail. 

What is trauma bonding?

Trauma bonding as a coping mechanism is a condition that causes abuse victims to develop a psychological dependence on the narcissist as a survival strategy during abuse. Of course, this makes recovering from a toxic relationship significantly more difficult than it might otherwise be. While bonding is normal in healthy relationships, trauma bonding is a sort of toxic version of this that results in an abusive relationship – verbal, physical, or otherwise.

What is intermittent reinforcement?

Intermittent reinforcement can be defined as positive (reinforcing) behaviors from the narcissist from time to time, leaving you in a continuous cycle of trying to de-code what it is that they want in order to keep getting the good treatment. Setbacks or negative behaviors follow after periods where the waves of good treatment come, which keeps you hooked on trying to figure out how to please the abuser and get back into their good graces once again.

How does intermittent reinforcement lead to trauma bonding?

In layman’s terms, intermittent reinforcement is this on and off giving affection unpredictably that almost every narcissist does. This really does a trick on your brain! It’s what creates trauma bonding. 

That’s because, when you are trauma bonded from intermittent reinforcement, it’s the intermittent reinforcement it keeps you trapped in the cycle of narcissistic abuse. Tiny bits of affection may now be all it takes to keep YOU addicted to the narcissist. 

This could even be why you can’t leave a relationship or feel the strong urge to reach out to the narcissist once you are doing no contact. The breadcrumbing in narcissistic relationships sets you up for the foundation of trauma bonding.

Another problem is this intermittent reinforcement could be the reason you think things will change, setting you up for cognitive dissonance.

What is cognitive dissonance?

Cognitive dissonance is a form of psychological stress or discomfort that happens when you simultaneously hold two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. As you might expect, it often affects narcissists as well as their victims at different times and for very different reasons.

In the case of trauma bonding and intermittent reinforcement, it leads to you not trusting yourself – and sometimes not even knowing what you feel or think. Of course, this is the narcissist’s goal all along. They use trauma bonding and intermittent reinforcement to get you addicted to them, whether they realize it or not. By doing so, they also find it much easier to keep you under their control. 

Check out the video below for more about the narcissist, intermittent reinforcement, and how it affects you. 

Are you dealing with trauma bonding in a toxic relationship? 

If you aren’t sure, try our trauma bonding self-assessment. And remember: trauma bonding is a real experience created by narcissistic abuse – and it is challenging to struggle through. Understanding what you are experiencing can hopefully take some of the confusion, fear, or anxiety out of it so you can begin healing. This is one reason it is hard to leave and let go of a narcissist.  I know that when you have been affected by narcissist abuse and are trauma bonded there is a lot going on but know that bit by bit you can free yourself from the trauma bonds and the narcissist. 

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Other Ways to Get Help With Your Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Why does a narcissist move on so quickly after the discard?

Why does a narcissist move on so quickly after the discard?

Have you been discarded by a narcissist, only to learn that they’ve already moved on to another partner days, weeks, or even hours after your relationship ended? Or, have you learned the hard way that your ex (or soon-to-be-ex) is already involved with someone else even before your relationship ended? Sadly, it’s all about narcissistic supply. Let me explain.

What is narcissistic supply?

Narcissistic supply is what makes the narcissist sort of an “energy vampire.” In other words, they get a certain amount of attention, validation, admiration – basically your energy, from people in their lives. While a narcissist’s main source of narcissistic supply usually comes from one or more people, it can also involve pets, groups of people, and more. The so-called “supply” is the food for the narcissist’s ego. Many narcissists have a whole circle of supply or “narcissistic harem.”

Why do narcissists move on so quickly after they discard you?

Why does it always seem like narcissists need a new source of narcissistic supply almost immediately when your relationship ends – and that’s assuming they haven’t secured it ahead of time? The narcissist most often moves on quickly after a relationship. Many narcissists will be already involved with new supply before discarding you and so the new supply is well in place before they lose your supply.

This is one really devastating part of the narcissistic pattern that hurts and leaves survivors with no sense of closure.

Many survivors deeply internalize the final blow from this as if they have no worth, and never meant anything to the narcissist. They worry they must be at fault, that they are not good enough. They wonder if they should have done more, if they are less beautiful/handsome, that they are inadequate…are you feeling me here?

I’m hoping that by seeing this is a toxic pattern of the narcissistic person and some reasons they do this you may feel validation or even a sense of relief that you are indeed not the problem and never were. 

Narcissists Take No Accountability

One thing to understand and really, to me it’s one of the main indications of a toxic person, is that a narcissist will not accept accountability for their actions or emotions.  They have a constant need to protect the delusional personality they set up.

What they think is who they are, they reason. So, when seeing any issue they may cause that does not align with the delusional belief of “self,” they push it away and start to blame shift or deny.

One big way a narcissist uses denial is to use a new person to bolster the ego and delusional created self. After all, how hard is it to convince a stranger through love bombing and overt attention that you are an amazing person? This is the lie they are telling their new supply. They are shirking all responsibility both to the old relationship, yours, as well as to their own healing from a breakup. They need others to give and boost their sense of self so badly they do not care who they use to get there. It’s like if they have someone new to mirror back all the love-bombing they can prove to the world how astoundingly perfect they are and thus continue the delusion they live in. Couple all of this with zero empathy for others and you have a selfish drive for attention and the use of another to regain the sense of their own inflated ego. 

You were once the new source of narcissistic supply.

If you find yourself asking why or doubting your worth because the narcissist has a new supply, remember that you too were a new supply once. Remember that narcissists use all others in their life to feed their egos in one way or another. While it can hurt a lot and it can seem like the person who is new supply is at fault, oftentimes they are as much a victim as you were.

Of course, there are cases where the new supply seems to be as toxic as the narcissist – but then you might ask yourself do you really want any attention or association going to those people? New supply is simply that, a new person to be used by the narcissist for supply and you, too, were in the position of being that new person once. You were told lies about their exes and were made to feel like you were different and needed by the narcissist. 

The narcissist is the common denominator.

The most important thing to realize is this is not because of you. You are not the problem and you are certainly deserving of being treated way better than any narcissist will treat you. You are no less valid or important because a toxic narcissist has found a new supply. You deserve the healing and amazing things life outside of narcissistic abuse can give you. Moving on fast is a narcissist’s weakness not because of you or who/how you are. The narcissist is a perpetual liar with the most significant lie being who they present themselves as. They are seeking the supply they need and taking and using another person. You deserve a better life and to be loved for who you are. Love yourself, find the truth of your amazing truth, and do not compare yourself to the new supply. New supply is the new victim, you have survived and can move past the abuse into a thriving life. 

Worried the narcissist will be better for the new source of narcissistic supply?

Does the new supply end up with a better version of the narcissist? Absolutely not, says Angie Atkinson, who shares her thoughts on why you shouldn’t be jealous of the narcissist’s new source of supply in this video.

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

Did you know? Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.

 

6 Ways A Narcissist Manipulates

6 Ways A Narcissist Manipulates

Being in a relationship with a narcissist is confusing and can completely change the way you feel, think or believe things about yourself for a reason. They are constantly manipulating!  There are many forms of abuse and manipulation in the narcissists repertoire of toxic behavior, the following video gives a brief description of 6 of these. Understanding the ways you are being manipulated can help you to see the situation for what it is and  the narcissist for who they are. If breaking trauma bonds is the goal,  understanding and acceptance that the abuse is real is one thing needed to help you get there. What are some ways you feel you have been manipulated by a narcissist?

Check out other videos for more information on any of the 6 ways a narcissist manipulates at Narcissistic Abuse Recovery by QueenBeeing.com.

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery by QueenBeeing.com offers free video coaching each week on YouTube on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays along with videos and help on recovery from toxic relationships. Featuring certified life coach Lise Colucci and supported by QueenBeeing founder and certified life coach Angie Atkinson. 

If you are looking for an affordable way to get ongoing personalized support as well as peer support and validation in a small group setting join our private coaching group https://lifemakeoveracademy.teachable…

Get one-on-one coaching with Lise Colucci at https://queenbeeing.com/lise-colucci-…

Get notified free for free video coaching sessions by texting LISELIVE to 33222. Find Lise on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lise.colucci…

Email Lise with topic ideas or any questions about the coaching options available  at [email protected]

 

Detaching From A Narcissist

Detaching From A Narcissist

Breaking Trauma Bonds and Detaching Emotionally From a Narcissist

Are you trying to break trauma bonds and detach from the narcissist? If you think you may be trauma bonded  know that you are not alone, weak, at fault and do deserve so much more. You deserve to feel and believe in the amazing person that you are as well as have others in your life that see and appreciate you.  You can take steps to begin to heal and there is support out there to help you along the way.  Gaining a higher sense of your own value can be one really amazing piece of healing that may be right on the other side of these trauma bonds. Are you ready to let go of the narcissist and gain freedom? Breaking trauma bonds is a critical part of healing and can be very complicated for a lot of survivors to both understand and heal from. The attached video below includes several tips for finding your way to detaching from a narcissist. The struggle is real and self focus can take you far in recovering from being trauma bonded, you got this!!   If you are wanting more info on trauma bonds here’s a link to help you out https://youtu.be/kcoBI9MSdW0

Do you have any tips for others of things that helped you through this stage of healing? What questions do you have and what can I help you with in order to support your healing goals?

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery by QueenBeeing.com offers free video coaching each week on YouTube on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays along with videos and help on recovery from toxic relationships. Featuring certified life coach Lise Colucci and supported by QueenBeeing founder and certified life coach Angie Atkinson. 

If you are looking for an affordable way to get ongoing personalized support as well as peer support and validation in a small group setting join our private coaching group https://lifemakeoveracademy.teachable…

Get one-on-one coaching with Lise Colucci at https://queenbeeing.com/lise-colucci-…

Get notified free for free video coaching sessions by texting LISELIVE to 33222. Find Lise on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lise.colucci…

Email Lise with topic ideas or any questions about the coaching options available  at [email protected]

Closure After Narcissistic Abuse

Closure After Narcissistic Abuse

Is there any way to find closure after narcissistic abuse?

It seems that so many survivors of narcissistic abuse really struggle with fully healing trauma bonds and moving on with life because of the lack of a sense of closure. In this video I talk about this as well as several ideas and tips for finding closure for yourself without the need to contact, reach to to or even include the abusive narcissist. Struggling to let go and move on so that you can thrive is something most of us face while understanding and healing from  toxic emotional abuse. You are not alone if you feel the need for closure but can’t seem to find it.

What is it you need so that you will have a sense of closure? Is it really necessary to find that closure? If a narcissist can’t take accountability, can that closure be had? Would breaking no contact help? Do you need to forgive? Why is it so hard to let go and move on in life? These and many other questions were asked and replied to in the following video. What questions do you have and how are you finding closure for yourself?

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery by QueenBeeing.com offers free video coaching each week on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays along with videos and help on recovery from toxic relationships. Featuring certified life coach Lise Colucci and supported by QueenBeeing founder and certified life coach Angie Atkinson.

Lise Colucci is a certified life coach, as well as a certified narcissistic abuse recovery coach. She is a long-time admin and mentor for the SPAN Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Group, actively helping survivors of narcissistic abuse in the expansive community to learn and heal.  Lise is passionate about providing coaching services that help her clients feel heard and validated as she guides them along their healing journey. For information on coaching, group coaching or to contact Lise check out the links below.

Join our private coaching group https://lifemakeoveracademy.teachable…

Get one-on-one coaching with Lise Colucci at https://queenbeeing.com/lise-colucci-…

Get notified free for free video coaching sessions by texting LISELIVE to 33222. Find Lise on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lise.colucci… Email Lise at [email protected]

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