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Cognitive dissonance, the state of holding two, or more contradictory thoughts or beliefs simultaneously, is the mental twisting, twirling, tug-of-war that survivors of narcissistic abuse experience during, and after, the relationship with the narcissist. It is very distressing, and can be unrelenting in its torment. Many partners, and ex-partners, say they feel like they are going crazy from the “push-me/pull-you” dynamic running amok in their minds. The good news is, it can be overcome. In order to overcome it successfully it’s important to understand how it develops, and what keeps it going, so it can be stopped.
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It’s not easy. Breaking a trauma bond is a very difficult process; but it can be done with consistent effort. In my own experience, and coaching, I have found that following these 7 steps can help you succeed:
1. Commit to staying in reality: You were in an abusive, toxic relationship. Don’t allow yourself to fixate on the “if only’s” and “what could have been” – if’s, and could haves, are not reality. Reality if you were in an abusive, toxic relationship that was harming you. Read More
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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. Read More
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If you are, or have been in a relationship with a narcissist, it is highly likely that you are trapped in a trauma bond, or are trying to break the trauma bond, and know how excruciatingly difficult this is.
Many people have never heard of a trauma bond, even those who are trapped in one. The term was coined by Patrick Carnes, PhD, to describe “the misuse of fear, excitement, sexual feelings, and sexual physiology to entangle another person.”
Traumatic bonding occurs as the result of ongoing cycles of abuse. The narcissist uses intermittent reinforcement, rewards, and punishment to create a very powerful biochemical bond that is highly resistant to change over time.