Understanding trauma driven attraction: Why a victim gets drawn to an abuser and vice versa

ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT ADRENALINE Trauma attraction and karmic bonds

We hear about trauma bonds everyday but do we know the exact meaning? This is a relationship between two unhealed people; one is used to being a victim and the other who has always been an abuser. Now, you must be wondering why am I showing this as a pattern? The reality is – YES! It is a pattern because two people who form a trauma bond are people who have always been in a situation like this. Starting from childhood and carried on till old age. The relationship between the victim and an abuser is like a cat and mouse chase. The victim is so used to feeling like a victim that subconsciously, they get attracted to situations where they feel the same. The Abuser would want to continue to manipulate and hence attract people who can be a victim to it. And so, THE MIGHTY CHASE is on. This is exactly where TRAUMA DRIVEN ATTRACTION starts.

Spiritually, we call this KARMIC PATTERN or KARMIC CYCLES.
Psychologically, we can call this an ADDICTION of the mind or TRAUMA BONDING as we discussed. This is exactly how Psychology and Spirituality are linked with each other.

Let’s now look at how trauma attraction influences our choices, relationships and a lot more

Causes of trauma driven attraction:

Trauma driven attraction is a habit a person develops because of what they normalize relationships in their mind or what they see as a definition of ‘normal’ growing up.

Relationship choices can be hugely impacted by two means

1. Childhood/parenting: Relationship history plays out as a dynamic from childhood
The perception of a relationship is usually formed in childhood itself. While growing up when a child is seeing the parents behave in a certain way, they consider this as a normal relationship. Example for a girl child, her father is the first example of a masculine figure in her life. More often it is seen that she would want a partner who is like her father and if she sees her father emotionally unavailable, extremely authoritative and if she couldn’t speak in front of him then there is a very high chance that she would feel attracted to someone who can recreate the same setup for her. The reason is that this is the definition of the ideal masculine in her life. She would always associate a masculine with similar traits. In such cases, the mother has to step in and explain what is normal and what is not and usually this does not happen. That’s where this trauma bonded attraction or karmic pattern starts. Lately, there has been so much emphasis on inner child healing.

2. Movies/Novels defining relationships and bonds: Every child has that one favorite romantic movie. This is usually in the growing up stage. Having dreams of a certain kind of a relationship is good but most of the time it moves towards an unhealthy zone. While movies or books talk about relationships in terms of domination, passion, excitement, the ‘lala feeling’ kind of love, creating a false and incomplete scenario of what love is actually like. Where love is meant to be a calm, safe and comfortable place, movies and books tend to romanticize love, creating a false sense of expectation. Mostly associated with love and adrenaline. Now when the person gets involved in relationships, they tend to look for these fantasies to come true, which can only injure and suffocate the two. Films and books are work of fiction and should be watched like fiction. While the definition of love is different for all, every acceptance comes with a set of pros of cons. I have had clients who want to believe love is all about adrenaline and here its a conscious choice. Yes that hormone is a rush of excitement but it also brings extreme emotions. Lots of happiness and then lot of pain because two people here are connecting because of that rush and when the rush goes, there is nothing left to keep the bond going. We always have a choice.


The word CHASE is often associated with adrenaline and if this is a trauma driven chase like what we discussed earlier, it can have disastrous consequences. The chase is typically for something that the child lacked in childhood. For example, in a household where the child’s parent/s were emotionally unavailable, the child is going to have relationships where there is lack of love, basically being behind a person who won’t commit, will look like love to this person and since it’s not a healthy relationship, it can only create triggers or more trauma with attachment, especially when this person they are trying to chase, leaves. This spiral keeps repeating in life, be it in friendships or romantic relationships. The kind of bonds this trauma driven person is going to form will only be more traumatic, until they realize this spiral and work towards coming out of it.

Heal from the vicious cycle

Identify your trauma
The first and the most important step to heal from trauma is to keep a self check to understand if you are in a vicious cycle. Chasing adrenaline is good but life is all about balance. Question yourself if your chase is healthy or not. Here one key thing that can help you understand is how you feel about the situation. Do you feel cold feet? Does its make you anxious? My friends, anxiety is a very tricky emotion and can also be addictive. Little do we know that anxiety is created by our own mind about a situation. When we do not know the conclusion of a situation, there is a lot of material to think about- what will happen? Is s/he there or gone? Can i trust or not trust? The mind loves to think and it needs a subject. You have to keep a self check whether your mind is getting addicted to subjects. When the subject is not there, the chase begins again. For instance, you are trying to fix your partner in a relationship, remember how trauma bonds are formed- victim attracts abuser and vice versa. Here, both the parties involved are expected to take care of each other’s emotional needs, which neither of the parties can fulfill, since their idea is coming from an unhealthy space. Overtime, this relationship can only magnify the original trauma.

Seeking help is no shame if you find yourself stuck in a loop like this. With so much pressure in your mind, one needs professional help to solve this.

Changing the belief system
To acknowledge the old ideas of a relationship as unhealthy and toxic, Do not shy away from deprogramming yourself and seek help. Often we are shy to ask for help. Usually, the belief system comes from what the person learns in childhood as a normal. For instance, if a child grew up in a household where violence was practiced and no action was taken to fight against it. The child will grow up to feel that relationships can have violence and that’s the only way to end a fight and not talk about it. This belief system has to be identified as a belief coming from the trauma the child had experienced first hand and has to get rid of the idea as normal.
Most importantly, the trauma driven person has to form the wisdom to understand what is ‘healthy ‘ in a relationship and what is ‘unhealthy’ and to consciously practice healthy relationships to form their new bonds. Only then will a person come out of the trauma eventually.

(Author: Neelam Naseeb, Energy Therapist and life coach)

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