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Painting Trauma Bonds


Look closely at this image. Can you feel that? Or is it just me, since it was my expression.

This was so clearly, to me, how I felt years ago, yet couldn't possibly describe. Even now, many years later, the image seems to describe it more clearly than my words can possibly convey.


If you have felt it before, you may not even need words to get in touch with the pain I was feeling. The thing is, there is so much to be said about how to navigate thru trauma bonds.

It has actually been the topic of several Private Creative Wellness Sessions lately.

Conversations and topics seem to come in waves of what needs to be addressed next.

Lately, there has been a lot of focus on relationships and more specifically, how it is that as we become more in tune with our own well being, and break away from old toxic behavior, the people that we were bonded with thru trauma... fall away....but it can feel like we still miss being with them.


There can be the illusion of needing that person. There can be a sense of rage and hatred and anger towards that person and a simultaneous deep longing for that person. To the one feeling it, it can truly feel like a sense of "missing" the very person that invoked pain and distress in our lives.


I lived like that for the majority of my life.


My mind was so distorted by various traumas, I had a major confusion when it came to being loved and being controlled. I was extremely susceptible to suggestion, manipulation, brainwashing and attracted people that utilised those methods of control as a way to protect themselves from their own traumas.


I can remember a moment thinking that this person choking me was literally going to kill me. I then instantly had the thought, "They would rather me dead than to leave them.....they must really love me." After making it thru that moment alive, I can remember being fascinated that my love had grown for this person that just almost killed me and realising that I may very well die from his hands one day.


I can remember excusing away abusive behavior from a very young age, because that person that was violent with me had a hard childhood, was going through a hard time, or had to endure so much they didn't even realise what they were doing. I honestly thought if I could just love them enough, if I could love them unconditionally enough, they would stop doing that to me.


My thinking was distorted by trauma bonding phenomenas. Have you ever heard of Stockholm syndrome? It's no joke.


Looking back, after years of extensive cognitive work, I can clearly see that I was also manipulating them. I was wearing whatever mask I needed to to be loving enough for them to treat me better. I was becoming more and more insecure and disempowered as I handed over my power in the name of "Somebody please love me." Then filling with incredible rage and resentment that I would contain in my thoughts, as I spewed anger and disappointment in every thought of them. Ive come to the point where I now realise if I can't have thoughts of kindness about someone, It is more loving for me to be away from them. When I am away from their immediate presence I am far more forgiving and far less judgemental.


So the real question is, how do we navigate thru this trauma bond?


When I drew this image, All I could do was express my pain.

Expressing what is going on in our thoughts, to a safe recipient of the information is vital. It needs to be someone that is trained to process the information with infinite grace. It needs to be someone that has been trained in unconditional acceptance and non judgemental language, because any shame entered into the equation is traumatising. I used to bring my pain to someone I knew would shame me, because they had, over and over again, and then I would resent them and be angry and hurt, and then I would do it again, I would share something that I needed to express and they would shame me again.

Why did I keep doing that? Trauma bond.


As I became more aware of my own behaviors and the results of that behavior, and at the same time was as unconditionally accepting of my own behaviors as possible, I could notice the behaviors and they would naturally begin to change.

In the bond of shame and guilt, I would just continue to perpetuate those same maladaptive behaviors and experience more and more trauma.


It was a very dark and very lonely place. I really just thought humans hurt, on all levels.

Life was very hard.


Painting and drawing could say that for me when I couldn't. It was like a pressure release valve. To get that pain out of me and onto the paper or canvas was the only tool I had.


These days I am well equipped to navigate and all those old trauma bonds have faded nicely into the background. From time to time they may surface, and very quickly I can remember that sometimes I think I miss who I wanted them to be, but in reality, it wasn't who they really were. It was all an incredible illusion masked in the bonds of trauma.


What are some of the ways you say what can't be said?

How do you navigate through your own trauma bonds?


I love hearing from you, please feel free to message me or comment below... and no matter what... keep on creating! I love seeing all your gorgeous creations. Keep them coming!


Love, Gracie

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