(Read time: 1- 2 mins)
In order to completely let go of the narcissist, move on and fully heal, it is very important to understand that any residual feelings of longing, and feeling deeply connected to your narcissist ex; these are not feelings of love. These are most likely indicators of a trauma bond – a very strong psychological and biochemical bond that has been wired into your brain through the love-bombing and devaluation cycle of abuse you’ve endured.
With determination and consistent effort, a trauma bond can be broken. In order to do this however, you have to realize you are trauma bonded in the first place.
10 Signs of a Trauma Bond
1. Cognitive dissonance: You feel anger, dislike, may even hate the narcissist one minute, and shortly after, you feel that you love and need the narcissist. You are relieved to be away from the narcissist, and attracted to, miss, and want to return to the narcissist in a looping cycle, and feel distress and confusion about your feelings.
2. Rationalizing the abuse: You make excuses for the abuse. These include, but are not limited to, “I am too sensitive. I should have realized it wasn’t a good time to talk. I should have known better. I’m insecure and jealous. Etc.”
3. Normalizing the abuse and over-focusing on the “positives”: You deny your feelings and tell yourself, “All couples fight. No relationship is perfect. I’m lucky to have someone who loves me so much, cares for me, and has such good qualities. My expectations are too high.”
4. Protecting the narcissist: You defend the narcissist to family and friends who have noticed the put downs, the poor treatment, the gradual changes in your mood, i.e. increased anxiety, irritable, tired, on edge, unsure, etc.
5. Feeling indebted to the narcissist: You have developed a sense of gratitude for any kindness, no matter how small, the narcissist shows to you.
6. Feeling that “he or she needs me”: You have developed a sense of obligation to the narcissist, and the desire to make your partner’s life better, and help heal whatever pain and suffering your partner has experienced in life.
7. Becoming the “everything”: Your world is consumed by filling your partner’s every need and demand, at the expense of yourself, your desires, your feelings and eventually, your identity.
8. Assuming blame for everything that happens: You feel guilty whenever anything negative happens, you feel guilty for your feelings when your partner abuses you, you start to disregard and invalidate your own feelings, assuming they are wrong.
9. Wanting love and approval, despite being abused: You cling to the narcissist’s demonstrations of love and approval to define your self-worth, and you feel empty and hopeless without it.
10. Feeling panicky at the thought of the narcissist leaving you: The thought of losing your relationship, and the narcissist moving on, puts you in a panicked emotional tailspin, and you anxiously seek reassurance, and feel worried and stressed until you receive it.