What Is Trauma Bonding?

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The term “trauma bonding” can mean a multitude of different things. This can be something that happens in adults once they’re grown. It can stem from past traumatic experiences in life, or it can be something that children grow up dealing with as well. 

(Please note this is in no way professional advice on how to deal with traumatic experiences. Please seek professional guidance for the best possible help and treatment options.) 

Children who have been in the foster care system or been adopted may have gone through traumatic experiences in their lives. This is where trauma bonding can become a very real reality. 

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What is trauma bonding? 

A trauma bond is where the person forms a bond with someone after going through an experience with them. Yes, this can happen in both children and adults.

People who have lived through a near-death experience, for example, will tend to form a bond they feel only they’ll genuinely be able to understand. This is a copy mechanism that allows them to feel comfortable with that person and be able to trust that they understand the same thoughts and feelings. 

For children to have trauma bonding in their lives, this can be something that affects them throughout their growth and into adulthood. 

sad daughter hugging her dad while showing signs of trauma bonding
Photo credit: Adobe Photo Stock

What are examples of trauma bonding? 

The interesting thing about trauma bonding is that it can be widely varied. From a young age, there are many aspects in a child’s life that can have them bonding with various siblings and other children for many different reasons. 

The biggest thing to remember about trauma bonding is that it’s not a “one-size-fits-all” situation. For example, traditional homes can also have traumatic experiences. These may cause siblings to bond in a way they’ll remember the rest of their lives. 

How can you help heal traumatic experiences? 

Trauma is different for each and every person. The situations will vary and need to be handled as such. 

If you’re looking to adopt a baby, work with the adoption agency and make sure you’re educated thoroughly on the backstory of the adoption process. This will help you make a plan to move forward. And make a plan to accommodate your new child in the best way possible. 

If the child is older, do everything you can to show support to them. Their need for having a safe and nurturing environment is the #1 priority. Helping them find the ability to trust and show love is the ultimate goal.

Trauma bonding is serious, but through proper support that person can feel safe, nurtured, and loved. Their past experiences of trauma don’t have to be the path they stay on when looking toward the future. 

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