Do you feel stuck to someone (friend, lover, boss, family) who’s bad for you?
The word DISGUST has gotten my attention recently. It’s a core human sensation that can provide HUGE breakthroughs in the areas of emotional trauma, abuse and toxic shame. But hardly anyone talks about it. I’ll have to provide context to get “to the point” of this article, but you’ll know we’ve arrived when you see the word DISGUST again.
The original title of this article was: Why do trauma bonds last for so long and how can you peel the bandaid off quicker? Why do they act like sticky fly paper??
First, here’s a quick explanation of trauma bond. This can be applied to adults as well as children (credit to PACE from the UK): The main survival drive is to create attachments to others. This can create a very complex situation when the abuser uses both fear and a relationship with the victim, which can make abusive relationships so complex and difficult to understand to people outside of the relationship.
When an abuser hurts the victim, although the victim may disclose the abuse to third parties (such as family members, social care and the police), the trauma bond means that the victim may also wish to receive comfort from the very person who abused them.* If the abuser re-bonds with the victim, it is likely that the victim will return to the abuser and cut contact with the third party. Any contact the child has with the abuser (even a text or Facebook message) can re-bond the victim to the abuser. Whilst it can be painful and frustrating to witness this situation, the fact that the victim has disclosed at all is a massive breakthrough. [*or safety, such a boss who wields the power of a paycheck]
The thought that someone you love or care about could possibly be a rotten egg, a jerk or an asshole – is a bit disconcerting – especially if that person gives you a sense of value and/ or safety AND you are dependent on them to do so.
Why would you be dependent?
- You’re a child
- You’re an adult who’s dealing with the effects of post traumatic stress (CPTSR/CPTSD) or unchecked codependency
If you’re in either of these 2 categories, saying NO to an asshole (that you love or are dependent on) can be very difficult.
Getting them to hear you can even more difficult. Especially if your voice has been shadowed by your own fear. Even when you yell, you still aren’t heard.
Most codependents and people with CPTSR/CPTSD (who are extremely resilient by nature) will either:
- keep trying to be heard, or
- give up on themselves and just keep serving the “rotten person’s” needs.
The reason it’s hard to let go of the trauma bond is because
- You associate the relationship with LOVE or DEEP CARE or idealized values, such as FAMILY STICKS TOGETHER NO MATTER WHAT AND
- You aren’t DISGUSTED by the rotten person’s behavior.
Disgust is a biological response that repels us from BAD food such as old, dead meat. If you’re not repelled, you’re fucked. The trauma bond will run your life.
People with CPTSR/ CPTSD frequently TURN OFF their DISGUST METER when it comes to other people’s shity behavior.
- They don’t EVER want to hurt someone else the way they were hurt – being looked upon as though they were bad meat.
- They refuse to EVER see anyone else in that “bad light”.
- What follows right behind DISGUST of someone’s behavior are: RAGE, ANGER AND BLAME – 3 no-no’s for people with CPTSR/ CPTSD. By avoiding DISGUST, you get to avoid these taboo feelings. BUTTTT….
- The taboo feelings of rage, anger and blamed are designed to help you get the fuck out of the situation. I wrote a song about it. I shared the song at this blog a few months ago, here it is again for you:
If your identity centers on YOU BEING A NICE, KIND, CARING, GIVING PERSON, SETTING BOUNDARIES CAN BE TRAUMATIC because YOU immediately start believing that if you do it – YOU’RE THE ONE BEING AN ASSHOLE. You’re not.
What’s at stake if you decide to change?
- YOUR OLD BELIEFS ARE AT STAKE. YOU HAVE THE FREEDOM AND THE POWER TO CHOOSE NEW ONES. THANK GOODNESS!
- YOUR RELATIONSHIP IS AT STAKE. THERE ARE SO MANY MORE FISH IN THE SEA… FRIENDSHIPS, LOVERS, BOSSES, EMPLOYEES. THANK GOODNESS AGAIN!
HERE’S A NEW BELIEF YOU CAN TRY ON: I CAN LEARN TO SEEK AND FIND MUTUALLY SATISFYING RELATIONSHIPS. I BELIEVE IN RECIPROCITY. (SEE #1)
The good news is that you can upgrade your beliefs without compromising your true identity or your authentic self. In fact, if you don’t upgrade your beliefs, you will be destroyed.
If you’ve read this far, it’s probably time for an upgrade.
Life is beautiful. You’re worthy of enjoying it.
ps. DISGUST is a gateway to major healing. Appreciate it and it will serve you well.
pps. When someone is envious, they will say things like “You make me sick.” (sick = disgust). You can see it in their facial expression or micro-expression. Envy is normal. We envy people because we actually want what they have. If you find yourself feeling envious, you can use that as a gateway to accept your feelings of disgust. Acceptance of your feelings is a primary gateway for major healing. Once you accept your envy, you are at choice. You now have options. You can decide to not want what they have. You can appreciate what YOU have. You can celebrate them for having it/ doing it/ being it. You can admire them and use them as inspiration to go get it for it yourself! (Note: some chronically envious people actually feel disgusted by the warm of hearts of others. This is weird, I know. But it explains sociopathic behavior.)
ppps. I am beginning to wonder if people with OCD are denying, repressing and repelling their true feelings of DISGUST about other people’s shitty behavior. Example: It’s safer to be disgusted by dirt that’s not there (because you’ve washed your hands for the 30th time in 3 minutes) than to be disgusted by your abusive sibling who you’re supposed to love.
Caveat for any asshole, jerk or rotten egg who might be reading this: If someone is normally a kind, giving, thoughtful and caring person – and she is abandoning you or betraying you to shield herself from your dishonest, shaming, confusing, confounding, obnoxious or hurtful behavior – THAT’S ON YOU.