Trauma bonding describes the dynamics of abusive relationships as well as the strong emotional bond between the abuser and the victim. The Patty Hearst case and the Stockholm Syndrome are examples of the effect of such dynamics. Family violence is a closer example in many lives of people, e.g. abusive marriage, incest, domestic violence, and other abuse of children.

The emotional bonding in such relationships develops from the good and bad treatment and the imbalance of power between role-players, where the perpetrator gains more power and the victim becomes more powerless with increasing lower self-esteem. The victim therefore becomes more dependent on the gifts and promises after eruptions of violence towards the victim. It becomes difficult to change such reinforced behaviour, even after the abuse has been stopped.

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