Category Archives: Wellness

Abstract image of a man and woman walking side by side on a dimly lit path, with a subtle, almost invisible web connecting them at their hands symbolizing the invisible and complex ties of a trauma bond.

Trauma Bonding: Definition, Stages, & Recovery

Trauma bonding might be a term that might sound like jargon straight out of a psychologist’s textbook. But the reality is far more common than our understanding might suggest. For anyone who has experienced it, it’s crucial to unpack what this means, how it develops, and how one can gently untangle from its grasp.

What Is Trauma Bonding?

Firstly, trauma bonding forms between people where one person consistently undermines the other, yet an emotional connection deepens.

Imagine a couple where one partner frequently exhibits jealous and controlling behaviors, regularly questioning the other’s whereabouts, decisions, and interactions with friends. This partner often accuses the other of being unfaithful or disloyal, leading to arguments that can escalate into emotional abuse or threats of breaking up.

Then comes the gesture …

However, following these intense and upsetting episodes, the controlling partner becomes exceedingly affectionate and remorseful. They might offer grand romantic gestures, such as surprise vacations or expensive gifts, and make emotional declarations of love and commitment. They promise to change, using these moments to rekindle the romance and deepen the emotional connection.

And the bond between the two becomes even stronger than before.

This paradox isn’t just perplexing—it’s painful. It’s like superglue; it holds fast and tight, even when everything screams that it shouldn’t.

How Does Trauma Bonding Develop?

It’s not merely about shared experiences but the intensity and rollercoaster nature of these experiences. Imagine a relationship as a series of exchanges—moments filled with both profound joy and deep sorrow.

This isn’t just about being together during good times and bad. It’s about how these polarized moments are woven into the fabric of the relationship, creating an erratic but compelling rhythm that becomes almost addictive.

It’s addictive …

Think about it like a suspenseful novel. In the narrative of such relationships, every positive incident—every moment of kindness or affection—serves as a plot twist that keeps the story moving forward, making the characters hope for a happy resolution. These are the hooks, the cliffhangers.

These dynamics set the stage for the trauma bond to solidify, where the intermittent rewards amidst the strife fortify the emotional connection, masking the underlying dysfunction.

Recognizing the Stages of Trauma Bonding

To understand trauma bonding, let’s look at the stages.

Stage one

In the first act, everything is as perfect as a scene in a movie—bright, engaging, and full of promise. Here the abuser behaves as their most appealing self, making the potential for danger seem distant and improbable.

Stage two
As we transition into the second act
, the tension builds subtly. So subtle you might not even notice. This is where small, unsettling feelings start to emerge. Something feels off, but it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly, or why one should be alarmed. Words that catch you off-guard or seem insensitive. During conversations, they start making offhand comments that seem just a bit off—perhaps poking fun at your career choices or lifestyle in a way that’s not entirely playful, or casually dismissing your feelings about something important to you.

Stage three

Then, we reach the third act—where the actual harm occurs. This phase can be overt, like emotional or physical abuse, or more insidious, like gaslighting or psychological manipulation. The impact is profound and disorienting, shaking the foundation of the victim’s self-esteem and reality.

They may verbally lash out, blaming you for their unhappiness and failures, and even isolating them from friends and family. These accusations and emotional withdrawals create a tense and unstable home environment.

Stage four

The final act is reconciliation, which cleverly resets the stage each time. It’s sprinkled with promises, apologies, or acts of affection. The victim of a trauma bond finds that the reconciliatory gestures momentarily ease the pain. And it’s enough to compel them to stay in the cycle, hoping each reset leads to a better chapter.

Breaking the Trauma Bond

So, how do you break free? Awareness is the first step. Recognizing the pattern provides the power to seek change. Secondly, external support is invaluable. Friends, family, and especially professionals can offer perspectives and support outside the emotional whirlwind.

Moreover, therapeutic intervention often provides the tools and space to explore these bonds safely and understand the underlying issues contributing to staying in harmful relationships.

Navigating the Path

Recovery from trauma bonding isn’t a sprint; it’s more like a marathon. And while the path can sometimes feel lonely or daunting, it’s rich with the promise of reclaiming one’s peace and autonomy.

Get Help With Lido Wellness Center in Newport Beach

If you or someone you know is navigating the complex dynamics of trauma bonding, remember, help is not just available—it’s a vital step towards healing. At Lido Wellness Center in Newport Beach, CA, our dedicated team specializes in understanding and unraveling the intricate patterns of trauma bonds.

We provide compassionate support and effective strategies designed to empower you towards a life of autonomy and healthier relationships. Don’t wait to take the first step towards your new chapter. Contact us today and begin your journey to recovery and self-discovery.

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Anxious woman sitting on a sidewalk, intently looking at her cell phone, illustrating the concept of Nomophobia.

Dissecting Nomophobia and Mental Health

Have you ever felt that tiny heart attack when you can’t find your phone in your bag, or when the battery icon turns red? Welcome to the club of Nomophobia – yes, that’s an actual term now. It stands for “no-mobile-phone phobia.” It sounds like something out of a modern-day Dickens novel. But this is where we are, glued to our little screens as if they were life support.

Nomophobia Symptoms

First, let’s diagnose the problem. Do you feel anxious, restless, or downright panicky when you’re away from your phone? Does the thought of being unreachable or missing out on social media updates make you sweat more than a hot yoga class? If your phone is your security blanket, and losing it feels like losing a part of yourself, you might be experiencing Nomophobia.

It’s Okay, We’re All a Bit Weird Here

We’re living in an age where being phone-less feels like being stranded on a deserted island. When we leave our phone at home, we end up spending the whole day twitching like a squirrel on espresso.

But what if this clingy relationship with our phones is more than just a bad habit? What if it’s entwined with other anxieties and disorders? Here are some ways that nomophobia could overlap with various mental health issues.

Nomophobia and Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are like that background noise that never quite goes away. Add Nomophobia to the mix, and it’s like turning up the volume on a bad song. If you’re already prone to anxiety, the constant need for digital reassurance can be like fuel to a fire. Every buzz could be a potential crisis, or worse, no buzzes could mean you’re being ignored or there’s an apocalypse happening and you’re the last to know.

Nomophobia and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

For those with OCD tendencies, the phone becomes a ritual. Check the news, scroll through social media, check the news again—it’s a loop that feels impossible to break. It’s like having a mental itch you can’t stop scratching. The fear of missing out (FOMO) or the need for constant updates can turn your phone into a digital pacifier.

Depression and Phones

Let’s talk about depression. It’s that heaviest of blanket that makes it hard to get out of bed. In the paradoxical world of depression, your phone can be both a window and a prison. It connects you to the world, but also amplifies the feeling of isolation. Seeing others’ curated lives can make your own world look grey. Nomophobia adds to this by making you fear disconnection, even when connection feels painful. Here are more ways social media affects our mental health.

Nomophobia and Social Anxiety

For those with social anxiety, the phone can be a safe harbor. It’s a way to be present without the terror of actual interaction. But this harbor can turn into a trap. The fear of real-life interactions grows, and the phone becomes a crutch you can’t put down. Nomophobia in this case is the fear of losing your shield against the world.

More Than Just Turning Off Your Phone

Treating this tangle of Nomophobia and other mental health issues isn’t as simple as going on a digital detox (though it’s not a bad start). It’s about addressing the underlying issues. Therapy, support groups, mindfulness—these are your tools. And humor, let’s not forget humor. Sometimes, you have to laugh at the absurdity of being held hostage by a device that fits in your hand.

Nomophobia Treatment

Treating Nomophobia doesn’t mean throwing your phone into the ocean. It’s about finding balance. Start by setting boundaries—maybe declare one meal a day as a phone-free zone. Watch how the world doesn’t end when you don’t instantly respond to a text.

Mindfulness and meditation can also help. Sit quietly for a few minutes each day, just breathing and being. Notice how your thoughts are like hyperactive puppies, and gently guide them back when they start running towards thoughts of your phone.

If all else fails, humor is a great medicine. Laugh at the absurdity of feeling attached to a tiny, beeping gadget. Write a break-up letter to your phone. Go wild—creativity is your ally.

It’s a Journey

Remember, dealing with Nomophobia is a process. You’ll have good days and bad days, like with any addiction. Yes, addiction—let’s call a spade a spade. But with patience, humor, and a few mindful practices, you can learn to see your phone as just a tool, not a lifeline.

If your phone feels like an extra limb and you’re nodding along to everything you’ve read, it’s time for a chat. Call us at Lido Wellness Center: 949-541-8466. Located in Newport Beach, we offer an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) that understands the tightrope walk of modern life and mental health. It’s not about giving up your phone; it’s about finding balance.

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Man and woman sitting closely, depicting the complex emotional connection associated with trauma bonding.

Trauma Bonding: The Invisible Chains of Pain

We humans are capable of a lot of contradictions. Our experiences of love, pain, mistakes, and redemption all come with varying degrees of the full spectrum of life. Sometimes those contradictions are difficult to explain, let alone understand. When we are drawn again and again into our toxic relationships, causing pain after pain, there is a chance you are experiencing trauma bonding.

Understanding Trauma Bonding

Trauma bonding isn’t your usual high school crush or a fleeting romantic phase. It’s an intense, emotional connection developed with someone who alternates between kindness and mistreatment. Said plainly, it’s when someone forms a strong emotional connection with another person who treats them badly or hurts them.

They might get mixed signals of kindness and mistreatment or joy and pain, but ultimately it’s like being stuck in a relationship you know is bad for you, but you can’t seem to leave.

Interesting statistics have surfaced about this concept:

  • According to a study conducted by the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, around 18% of women in domestically violent relationships have reported significant symptoms of trauma bonding.
  • Another study from the Journal of Traumatic Stress indicates that individuals in trauma-bonded relationships are three times more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and even PTSD.

Why Do We Trauma Bond?

At a basic psychological level, trauma bonding occurs due to a powerful mixture of intermittent reinforcement, paired with the human need for connection. People are wired to bond with those around them; it’s a survival mechanism. And when you’re shown love, even if it’s sprinkled with doses of mistreatment, the brain releases a cocktail of chemicals, like oxytocin and dopamine. These feel-good chemicals can confuse the mind, making the bad times seem not so bad, especially when a kind gesture follows them.

Add to that the principle of intermittent reinforcement—a cycle of unpredictable rewards and punishments. Within the unpredictability, every positive gesture, even if it’s rare, feels like a jackpot win at a casino, making the person crave more. This unpredictability, combined with our inherent need to make sense of our environment, can trap a person in a loop, always seeking the reward of a kind moment, no matter how fleeting.

Signs of Trauma Bonding

If we’re honest, most of us have seen our share of unhealthy relationships. We allow a little too much in certain circumstances. And some of this can be okay in life’s complexity. But how do you recognize if it’s too much? What if you’re experiencing trauma bonding? Here are some potential signs:


  • Intense emotional connection: Despite the emotional or physical abuse, there’s an unexplainable pull towards the abuser.
  • Justifying abusive behavior: The victim often makes excuses for the perpetrator’s behavior.
  • Isolation: Victims gradually distance themselves from friends and family, usually under the influence of the abuser.
  • Inconsistent affection: The abuser alternates between abusive behavior and kind gestures, creating a powerful loop of reinforcement.
  • Denial: The victim may not acknowledge the extent of the mistreatment or even deny it altogether.

It’s this kaleidoscope of emotions, of intense highs and lows, that makes trauma bonding such a complex and enthralling trap.

Breaking the Bonds of Trauma

Trauma bonding is not a disorder, more like a complex psychological response that arises when individuals form deep attachments in abusive or harmful situations. Often, this bonding leads individuals to stay in toxic relationships, even when onlookers believe it’s clear they should leave.

We must always understand that individuals caught in the grip of trauma bonding are navigating a challenging emotional terrain. It’s a manifestation of the human drive for connection and safety. As such, no one should feel shame for seeking solace and connection, even if it emerges from challenging circumstances.

We all navigate our storms in unique ways, and understanding, rather than judgment, paves the path to healing. 

Seeking professional help, through therapy or counseling, can serve as a vital lifeline for many. It provides a sacred sanctuary where one can unravel the intricate web of emotions and delve into the depths of understanding. Through this process, victims can address and make sense of the roots of trauma bonding.

And remember, healing isn’t just about confronting the external but also about nurturing the internal. Through acts of self-care, be it meditation, journaling, or indulging in passions, we can fortify our self-worth and muster the strength needed to truly break free.

Trauma bonding isn’t just about the clutches of an abusive relationship. It’s about the resilience of the human spirit, the undying hope that dwells within us, urging us to break free and find love and light.

Seek Healing at Lido Wellness Center

If you or someone you love is ensnared in the chains of trauma bonding, there’s hope and help available. At Lido Wellness Center in Newport Beach, compassionate professionals are ready to guide you towards healing and freedom. Don’t wait. Call 949-541-8466 today.

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A woman's hand gently covers her face, the image gradually fading into blur, symbolizing the disorientation and confusion often associated with experiencing gaslighting.

What Is Gaslighting

As we move through the sometimes-chaotic waters of life, we must never lose our bearings or the ground of our reality. But we may find ourselves vulnerable to manipulation when it comes to interpersonal relationships. These tactics could even call into question our very perception of reality.

This subtle form of psychological abuse known as “gaslighting” has infiltrated our everyday language, yet its profound impact on individuals and relationships is far from innocuous.

The practice of gaslighting is a destructive psychological game. So let’s look at the arenas where gaslighting usually manifests—from personal relationships to the workplace.

What Is Gaslighting?

The term “gaslighting” gets used a lot these days in social media and on TV. But it’s not just another trend. Gaslighting is an actual form of psychological abuse. If someone gaslights you, they feed you false information to make you question your perception of reality. Being gaslit can feel maddening, but with some insight, you can learn to recognize it and respond in an empowering way.

Am I Being Gaslighted?

Gaslighting is most often experienced in relationships.

Here’s a potential scenario: You return home to find your favorite book drenched in coffee on the kitchen counter. You ask your roommate about the mishap.

They look at you, calm as ever, and insist that you left your book by your coffee mug this morning. However, you distinctly remember leaving it on your bedside table. Your roommate may be dismissive; they mention how distracted you’ve been lately. “Are you sure you didn’t bring it to the kitchen?” they ask.

As you clean up the mess, you feel a flicker of self-doubt. Did you bring the book into the kitchen and forget about it?

Want to know “what is gaslighting”? This is it. It’s a subtle manipulation that makes you question your memory and understanding of reality. In such scenarios, it’s important to trust your perceptions and seek support when necessary.

Key Characteristics of Gaslighting

Gaslighting can look a few different ways:

  • Denial: The person denies doing something you were previously very confident they did. They refuse to take responsibility for their actions.
  • Diverting: The person shifts the blame to you or a problem that they think youcreated.
  • Countering: The person uses phrases like “Are you sure?” or “You’re not remembering that correctly.”

Gaslighting, Relationships, and Mental Health

If you are being gaslit, feeling anxious, worthless, and out of control is normal. You may withdraw from others and question your reality, just as the gaslighter intended.

Gaslighting is a form of abuse in relationships. It’s an attempt to gain control over you. A relationship where this is happening is not a healthy one. You may feel trapped or like you cannot leave. But you can – and often, that is the best choice.

Recognizing Gaslighting

Recognizing what is gaslighting and addressing it can be challenging, but it’s possible. It begins with being attentive to your feelings. If you often question your memory or reality, particularly around a specific person, you might be experiencing gaslighting.

A typical tactic of a gaslighter is to deny events or conversations that you clearly remember. They might make you question the accuracy of your memories by saying things like “That never happened” or “You’re imagining things.”

Another sign is their tendency to deflect or shift blame. If you’re sure they did something wrong, yet somehow you apologize, it’s time to question what’s truly happening.

Responding to Gaslighting

Responding to gaslighting starts with trusting your feelings and perceptions. When your memory is clear, and your instincts alert you to a discrepancy, give yourself permission to believe in your experience.

Practicing assertiveness can also be helpful. A simple response like “I remember things differently” can prevent you from getting entangled in a futile argument and affirm your trust in your memory.

Additionally, reach out to your support network or someone from the Lido Wellness team. External perspectives and validation can provide a more objective view and equip you with strategies to cope with gaslighting.

Remember, you have the right to your reality. You don’t need to accept someone else’s interpretation of it. Standing up for your perception and seeking help when needed is essential.

Gaslighting is indeed a hurtful, abusive, and manipulative tactic. However, by equipping ourselves with understanding and insight, we can recognize the signs, resist its impact, and ultimately, choose healthier and more fulfilling relationships.

If you want to talk to someone about gaslighting or understand how you can gain deeper insight into your wellness journey, call Lido Wellness Center in Newport Beach today.

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