Dear Priscilla Bennett Friends,

Why do domestic violence victims give their abusers one more chance over and over again? Abusers are cunning and manipulative. They know exactly what to say to change the minds of their victims who are caring and traumatized. Trauma bonding is the type of attachment one can feel toward an abuser. It involves compassion, love and hope that things will change, but it also brings confusion. How can one love someone who hurts them? The victim must be doing something wrong.

Many children who are abused by a parent can experience trauma bonding and then, as an adult, this can become the way they define “love,” making adult relationships especially confusing.

Here is a list of some signs of trauma bonding:

You feel stuck and powerless in the relationship but want to make the best of it.
You don’t know if you trust the other person, but you can’t leave.
You’d describe your relationship as intense and complex.
There are promises of things getting better in the future.
You focus on the “good” in the person, despite behaviors you know are abuse.
You think you can change your abusive partner.
Your friends and/or family have advised you to leave the relationship, but you stay.
You find yourself defending the relationship if others criticize it.
The abusive partner constantly lets you down, but you believe them anyway.

In my novel SOMETHING TO BE BRAVE FOR, Katie grows up with love and abuse mixed together and then marries Claude who hurts her mentally, physically and emotionally but always promises to change. Katie tries to please him, to change him, to pretend and make excuses over and over until she realizes that she must get out for her and her daughter’s survival.

Take good care of yourselves,