5 Steps to Quiet Courage, A Way Out – Series 1 of 3
What does a holocaust survivor and a person experiencing domestic violence have in common? Trauma Bonding. “Trauma bonding is evidenced in any relationship in which the connection defies logic and is very hard to break. The components necessary for a trauma bond to form are a power differential, intermittent good/bad treatment, and high arousal and bonding periods (Dutton and Painter 1993).” This type of bonding takes place in concentration camps and in intimate partner violent relationships where the intense fear and will to survive can cause a bond with the enemy. This bonding is perpetuated by the imbalance of power and the manipulative nature of intermittent cycling of abuse with acts of kindness.
Huh? What? I know :-] –that’s confusing to me too. I’m going to try and break it down.
Strong’s Concordance # 5134 says that the word trauma is transliterated ‘to wound’. Wounds are trauma on steroids. Through trauma we suffer and become exhaustively overwhelmed, weakening our natural ability to cope. Wounds can bury themselves in the abyss of our sub-consciousness—visualize the numerous layers of an onion. When you have wounds that are buried so deep in your subconscious that you don’t even know are there, how are you supposed to know they are there, let alone heal from them? Marry that to still relationing (Yvonne’s dictionary) with the abuser you love. Your abuser is essentially significant in your life and you desire to be loved. He/she may be your spouse or significant other, you’ve experienced extremely blissful times with…giving you hope. Oh, but the low times when the script flips in the twinkling of an eye. That can be like offering a lion a sumptuous meal that he thoroughly enjoys, but when he’s done eating, he does what comes naturally; he snarls, bears his teeth and pounces.
“Stockholm Syndrome” was the term given to this “bonding” that occurred (Bejerot 1974). In hostage negotiation it is defined as the psychological tendency of a hostage to bond with, identify with, or sympathize with his or her captor. Law enforcement personnel have long recognized this syndrome with battered women who fail to press charges, bail their battering partner out of jail, and even physically attack police officers when they arrive to rescue them. It is a rare phenomenon.
There are many reasons people remain in abusive relationships. In a group counseling session, one lady said, “I love him.” Another said, “I want the kids to grow up in an intact family.” Another said, “He only acts like this when he’s drunk, otherwise, he’s the sweet man I fell in love with.” While yet another said, “I’ve been an at-home mom for 20 years. What skills do I have?” Another said, “He told me that if I left, he’d kill my kids.” Regardless of the reason a person stays, the fact remains that they’re still there.
This got me to thinking. Is there a way to survive while enmeshed, ensnared, entangled in a violent relationship? What exactly would that look like?
Initially, my term for it was “standing up on the inside” which after research became, quiet courage. According to Frank Haney of the Rockford Registrar, “Quiet courage is taking that next step toward a goal even when the conditions are not ideal. It is having intestinal fortitude to do what you know needs to be done. Quiet courage is executing when there is a perfectly good excuse for putting something off, when there is no immediate reward, when the second most important thing is pulling you away from what matters most.”
You might feel paralyzed with fear and shame. But God!
Step 1. I always wondered how to emotionally detach from someone I loved. I’m not going to tell you it’s easy, because it’s not; however, it is vital. You might get stuck at this stage, but do not berate yourself. You are going through and living in a traumatic situation. The operative words “going through” denotes that you are not “stuck in” this situation. Trauma can paralyze you without you even being aware you are experiencing trauma.
You have an advocate in Abba. He hears you.
In hindsight, what would you have done different, prior to entering the relationship you are currently in?
What would you tell your bestest friend if they were entering into a relationship and you clearly saw the evil nature of the person, they’re with?
Check out this link: https://www.focusministries1.org/articles/HowToBeHappyinanUnhappyMarriage.pdf
At the end of the day, I wish this for you: It’s a song written by Mark D. Sanders/Tia Sillers
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder; You get your fill to eat, but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted; God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small, when you stand by the ocean; Whenever one door closes, I hope one more
opens; Promise me you’ll give fate a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance, I hope you dance