When we get back with abusive men, and let me talk about trauma bonding for a moment first, trauma bonding simply means that if two people have shared a highly emotional experience together, it gives them a unique bond and perhaps even a false sense of a depth of bond and a false sense of shared history. The more intense the experiences the more deeply it could be said to burn into a person’s unconscious, so if you compare a pleasant evening out between a nice couple, where they go and they have a nice meal, and then they go to the cinema and then they come back, and they have quiet but nice sex for 15-20 minutes and go to sleep in each other’s arms. That’s all very nice and it’s very lovely.
Whereas if you compare that to going out, getting drunk and seeing your girlfriend dancing with another man. The young couple, they’re together, the guy sees the girl dancing with another man and because he’s a nutcase, he flips out starts screaming and have a big scene in the club. He gets tossed out the club by the doorman, the police are called and he’s fighting with lies outside. The girlfriend screaming then, he takes her home and they have a screaming row, and he punches her a few times, and then they’re both still drunk and, I’m not saying that Rihanna and Chris Brown were, but I’m giving you an example of how trauma bonding works and, the intensity of emotional experience and then they have rabid sex, because they’re in this highly charged emotional, highly vulnerable, very very raw state.
That is trauma bonding, the original term trauma bond, I came across it through psychology, though I am a psychologist, but I came across it during my period as a paranoid conspiracy theorist and I’ve read about it in relation to “mind-control”, in terms of “psyops” and “Satanism” and I’m using these inverted commas because I am not sure nor convinced at all that satanic cults exist, in quite the way that they are portrayed in any real sense.
So that’s trauma bonding. You need to understand and have compassion for people when they behave like this for family members. I have direct experience of this on both sides of the fence. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship, but I didn’t really realize it until months went by. It became a source of irony to me though over the years. I was like, you know, I was actually going through it but didn’t know, and so this has become, and I don’t want this to be a gender specific thing, this tends to be made a thing that men do to women and I don’t want to feed into that discourse. I don’t want to feed into that paradigm because it’s fallacious and it’s not helpful. Women are just as capable of being abusive. When they’re the abuser it is psychological and emotional rather than physical, but we all use the weapons that we have available to us do we not, and certainly whether it’s a man doing it to a woman or it’s a woman doing it to a man.
Trauma bonding is only one element of it – let me wind the clock back again and one of the things that motivated the creation of this “why do women get back with abusive men”. Rihanna and Chris Brown had this situation about this bust up, and Larry King was talking about domestic violence on his show on CNN, and I was watching it and they brought a woman in who ran the main charity for battered women in America, who actually look after the battered women and protect battered women, give them somewhere to stay, give them legal advice, all the rest. Larry King or one of the other guests just asked a simple question to this woman, who they assumed was an expert on the psychology of abusive relationships and domestic violence. Why do women stay with abusive men, and she didn’t know. She stopped it.
I was watching this and I was like, I know what, how and why these things happen, but it’s not common knowledge. I don’t think people commonly understand why it happens and very frequently, when you try and talk about this type of stuff on YouTube, you get YouTube comments like, well women are just dumb and well you know, women aren’t that bright they lack an ability to think critically, and all the rest of it.