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Traumatic bonding: The development of emotional attachments in battered women and other relationships of intermittent abuse

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... This model is also plausible, since this process happens in a circular (cyclic) way. After all, the more dependent women are, the more they will remain in the abusive relationship, accepting all forms of manipulation due to emotional dependency (Dutton & Painter, 1981;Walker, 1979). ...
... The theory of traumatic bonding is based on the theoretical assumptions of the attachment theory (Bowlby, 1969), learned helplessness theory (Seligman, 1975), and cycle of violence theory (Walker, 1979). It consists of psychosocial structures that consider both social and psychological factors, which are important in the process of understanding intimate partner violence (Dutton & Painter, 1981). A social factor is understood as the entire historical trajectory of people's lives (e.g., exposure to violence, especially in the context of COVID-19, educational level), derived from patriarchal societal relations (Dutton & Painter, 1981;Walker, 1979). ...
... It consists of psychosocial structures that consider both social and psychological factors, which are important in the process of understanding intimate partner violence (Dutton & Painter, 1981). A social factor is understood as the entire historical trajectory of people's lives (e.g., exposure to violence, especially in the context of COVID-19, educational level), derived from patriarchal societal relations (Dutton & Painter, 1981;Walker, 1979). A personal factor is understood as all factors related to the person (e.g., age, gender, personality, self-esteem, emotional dependency, among others) (Dutton & Painter, 1981). ...
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Violence against women, like COVID-19, is a pandemic phenomenon that affects all social strata. The aim of this study was to understand the relations between psychological abuse, self-esteem, and emotional dependency in women during the pandemic, from the perspective of the Theory of Traumatic Bonding. The sample included 222 women, the majority heterosexual (76.6 %), dating (53.3 %) or married (44.1 %). The results showed that the greater the psychological abuse, the lower the self-esteem and the greater the dependence on the spouse. An alternative model has also been confirmed, demonstrating that the greater the dependency, the greater the susceptibility to maintaining abusive relationships, and the low self-esteem intensifies this cyclical process. In addition, we observed that women who live full-time with partners during social isolation showed greater psychological abuse and exclusive dependency. A violência contra a mulher assim como a COVID-19 é um fenômeno pandêmico, que atinge todas as camadas sociais. O objetivo deste estudo foi conhecer as relações entre o abuso psicológico, a autoestima e a dependência emocional de mulheres durante a pandemia, sob a ótica da teoria do vínculo traumático. Contamos com 222 mulheres, a maioria heterossexual (76,6 %), namorando (53,3 %) ou casadas (44,1 %). Os resultados demonstraram que quanto maior o abuso psicológico, menor é a autoestima e maior a dependência do cônjuge. Um modelo alternativo também foi confirmado, demonstrando que quanto maior a dependência, maior a susceptibilidade em manter relacionamentos abusivos e a baixa autoestima intensifica esse processo de caráter cíclico. Além disso, observamos que mulheres que convivem em tempo integral com parceiros durante o isolamento social apresentaram maior abuso psicológico e dependência exclusiva. Palavras-chave: abuso psicológico; autoestima; COVID-19; dependência emocional; violência por parceiro íntimo Resumen La violencia contra las mujeres, como la COVID-19, es un fenómeno pandémico, que afecta a todos los estratos sociales. El objetivo de este estudio fue comprender las relaciones entre el maltrato psicológico, la autoestima y la dependencia emocional de las
... Esse modelo também é plausível, haja vista que esse processo acontece de maneira circular (cíclica). Afinal, quanto mais dependente forem as mulheres, mais elas permanecerão no relacionamento abusivo, aceitando todas as formas de manipulação em virtude da dependência emocional (Dutton & Painter, 1981;Walker, 1979). ...
... A teoria do vínculo traumático se baseia nos pressupostos teóricos da teoria do apego (Bowlby, 1969) e na teoria do desamparo aprendido (Seligman, 1975), além da teoria do ciclo da violência (Walker, 1979). Constitui-se de estruturas psicossociais que consideram tanto fatores sociais como fatores psicológicos, importantes no processo do entendimento da violência por parceiro íntimo (Dutton & Painter, 1981). Entende-se como fator social toda trajetória histórica da vida das pessoas (e.g., exposição a violência, principalmente no contexto do COVID-19, nível educacional), derivadas das relações patriarcais societais (Dutton & Painter, 1981;Walker, 1979) e como fator pessoal todos os fatores relacionados à pessoa (e.g., idade, sexo, personalidade, autoestima, dependência emocional, dentre outros) (Dutton & Painter, 1981). ...
... Constitui-se de estruturas psicossociais que consideram tanto fatores sociais como fatores psicológicos, importantes no processo do entendimento da violência por parceiro íntimo (Dutton & Painter, 1981). Entende-se como fator social toda trajetória histórica da vida das pessoas (e.g., exposição a violência, principalmente no contexto do COVID-19, nível educacional), derivadas das relações patriarcais societais (Dutton & Painter, 1981;Walker, 1979) e como fator pessoal todos os fatores relacionados à pessoa (e.g., idade, sexo, personalidade, autoestima, dependência emocional, dentre outros) (Dutton & Painter, 1981). Dessa forma, a chave para compreender a permanência das mulheres em seus relacionamentos abusivos pode estar voltada para dois parâmetros fundamentais: o desequilíbrio de poder e o abuso intermitente (Dutton & Painter, 1981). ...
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A violência contra a mulher assim como a COVID-19 é um fenômeno pandêmico, que atinge todas as camadas sociais. O objetivo deste estudo foi conhecer as relações entre o abuso psicológico, a autoestima e a dependência emocional de mulheres durante a pandemia, sob a ótica da teoria do vínculo traumático. Contamos com 222 mulheres, a maioria heterossexual (76,6 %), namorando (53,3 %) ou casadas (44,1 %). Os resultados demonstraram que quanto maior o abuso psicológico, menor é a autoestima e maior a dependência do cônjuge. Um modelo alternativo também foi confirmado, demonstrando que quanto maior a dependência, maior a susceptibilidade em manter relacionamentos abusivos e a baixa autoestima intensifica esse processo de caráter cíclico. Além disso, observamos que mulheres que convivem em tempo integral com parceiros durante o isolamento social apresentaram maior abuso psicológico e dependência exclusiva.
... This form of relations has been referred to in the trauma literature as Stockholm syndrome (Graham, 1995;Wallace, 2007), traumatic bonding (D. G. Dutton and Painter, 1981), and identification with the aggressor (IWA; Frankel, 2002), which is the focus of this study. ...
... Theoreticians, clinicians, and researchers in the IPV field have long viewed victims' affiliative attachment to their perpetrators as a substantial aspect of IPV that may be implicated in the deep and enduring repercussions of this type of trauma (e.g., Dutton and Painter, 1981;Graham, 1995;Wallace, 2007). Nevertheless, to date the unique concept of IWA has been investigated only in childhood abuse survivors. ...
Article
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a global health problem that often results in a variety of mental health detriments, including trauma-related distress and depressive symptoms. According to the trauma literature, IPV victims may develop strong bonds with their perpetrators – a phenomenon known as identification with the aggressor (IWA) – in order to survive the abuse. Yet, this defensive reaction may endure after the abuse has ended, and may adversely affect victims' mental health. Nevertheless, research exploring these suppositions is lacking. Filling this void, this study investigated IWA in light of current versus past IPV as well as the relations between IWA, trauma-related distress, and depressive symptoms among a convenience sample of 297 women. Of them, 68 and 229 participants reported being subjected to IPV at present or in the past, respectively. Results indicated that whereas participants who reported current IPV had elevated trauma-related distress and depressive symptoms compared to participants who reported past IPV, no differences were found in IWA levels between the groups. Identification with the aggressor was related to trauma-related distress and depressive symptoms. Furthermore, IWA had a unique contribution in explaining trauma-related distress and depressive symptoms above and beyond background characteristics and IPV features. The findings of the current study suggest that IWA may mirror the unique relational dynamics that characterize IPV, which continue to exist even after the abuse ends, and may be implicated in IPV survivors’ psychological distress.
... For this matter, the woman feels helpless and cannot walk away. Dutton & Painter [24], concurs by saying changing the environment often affects some women. This is what is experienced in So Long a Letter 1981 [16] where Ramatoulaye depends on the husband, though abusive, she thinks he is in his right place as the father of her children. ...
Article
While society has made strides in combating violence against women and girls over the years, there are still areas that need to be addressed especially with the forms of violence mutating from what has been common, i.e., physical. Stakeholders and especially in the academia have identified religion, patriarchy system, cultural and economic dependence as the main agents of violence against women. With these most scholars are of the view that women and girls need education so that they can fight these institutions as well as getting economic independence. Today, most women and girls have used education to redefine themselves, liberate themselves from oppressive institutions and assert themselves in different spheres of life. Though a large number of women have attained this status, the above mentioned institutions are now fighting back with different forms of violence that have left women broken psychologically and emotionally. Many women are frustrated by the same institutions that they have found themselves in, be it educational, religious, and legislative and even the family. While some women and girls who have acquired education face little or no violence at all, there is evidence that a large number of women and girls face some form of emotional and psychological violence due to their educational status and opportunities coming their way through the education they have acquired. This paper will try to look into how far education has been a tool of liberation and how much tools of oppression have found ways of using it to oppress women and girls. The paper will also try to come up with ways of overcoming this new challenge that nevertheless had not been foreseen. Accounts from women and girls who have undergone this form of violence will be used well as literature reviews from texts such as novels, short stories, plays, journals that have documented similar events and documentations from previous seminars on the same.
... Traumatic bonding (TB) is a strong emotional attachment between an abused person and his or her abuser and is often formed as a result of the repeated (and often times Effiong broken) cycle of violence. TB is developed as the result of ongoing cycles of abuse in which the intermittent reinforcement of reward and punishment creates powerful emotional bonds that are resistant to change (Dutton & Painter, 1981). Saunders's (1999) attachment theory explains TB as an unresolved form of insecure attachment in which the capacity for self-regulation is impaired by the alternately abusive and protective actions of an attachment figure. ...
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Intimate partner violence (IPV) is an increasingly prevalent problem in most parts of the world including sub-Saharan Africa. However, little is known about the bonding patterns of IPV victims who decide to remain with the perpetrator despite the molestation. This study investigated the mediating role of empathy in the relationship between partner molestation and traumatic bonding among victims of IPV in Nigeria. Participants were 345 women purposively selected from female clients who visited the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SART) Awka, Anambra State ( n = 145) and the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team, Lagos ( n = 200). Their age ranged from 18-61 years (M=35.79; SD=8.6 years). They responded to the Composite Abuse Scale, the Basic Empathy Scale, and the Stockholm Syndrome Scale. Results of data analysis using the Hayes regression-based PROCESS macro showed that partner molestation was not significantly associated with traumatic bonding. Affective and cognitive components of empathy were positively associated with increased traumatic bonding. Estimates of indirect effects indicated that affective empathy and cognitive empathy served as pathways through which IPV was linked to dimensions of traumatic bonding. Empathy may engender tendencies that increase the likelihood for traumatic bonding. Findings highlight the dynamics of empathy in building and sustaining traumatic bonding in victims of IPV.
... Lastly, another factor that may explain returning to an abusive relationship is women's strong bonding to their violent partners. The IPV literature has documented this unique form of affiliative emotional connection that abused women often have towards their partners, and several conceptualizations have been offered, such as traumatic bonding (Dutton & Painter, 1981), Stockholm syndrome (Graham, 1995;Graham et al., 1988;Wallace, 2007), and identification with the aggressor (IWA; Frankel, 2002;Lahav et al., 2019b), the last of which is at the heart of the current study. ...
... Lastly, another factor that may explain returning to an abusive relationship is women's strong bonding to their violent partners. The IPV literature has documented this unique form of affiliative emotional connection that abused women often have towards their partners, and several conceptualizations have been offered, such as traumatic bonding (Dutton & Painter, 1981), Stockholm syndrome (Graham, 1995;Graham et al., 1988;Wallace, 2007), and identification with the aggressor (IWA; Frankel, 2002;Lahav et al., 2019b), the last of which is at the heart of the current study. ...
Article
Study questions: Although most women who are subjected to intimate partner violence attempt to leave their abusive partners, many return, and resultantly are at risk for even greater violence. Research to date has documented relations between several factors (income and economic dependence, frequency of intimate partner violence (IPV), fear of violence escalations, history of childhood abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms) and women's returning to their abusive partners. Nevertheless, the contribution of women's emotional bonds with their violent partners, known as identification with the aggressor (IWA), in explaining their perceived likelihood of going back to the relationship, has remained unclear. Subjects: The current study, conducted among 258 Israeli women who had left their violent partners, aimed to fill this void. Methods: An online survey was conducted. Demographic variables, history of childhood abuse, frequency of IPV, economic dependence on former partner, fear of future violence escalation, post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, IWA, and perceived likelihood of returning to the relationship, were assessed via self-report questionnaire. Findings: Results indicated that two aspects of IWA-becoming hyper-sensitive to the perpetrator and adopting the perpetrator's experience-were related to women's perceived likelihood of returning to the relationship. Furthermore, a logistic regression analysis indicated that only two factors-income and becoming hyper-sensitive to the perpetrator-uniquely contributed to explaining the likelihood of returning to abusive partners. Major implications: The current findings suggest that women's tendency to be highly attuned to their partners' feelings and needs, as a part of IWA, may impede their ability to permanently leave abusive relationships.
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The present study focused on the dynamics and factors underpinning domestic abuse (DA) survivors’ decisions to end the abusive relationship. The experiences and opinions of 12 female DA survivors and 18 support workers were examined through in-depth, one-to-one, semi-structured interviews. Hybrid thematic analysis was conducted to retrieve semantic themes and explore relationships among the themes identified and the differences in survivors’ and professionals’ narratives of the separation process. The findings highlighted that separation decisions derived from the joint action of two sets of factors, the “promoters” and the “accelerators.” Whilst the “promoters” are factors leading to the separation from the abuser over time, the “accelerators” bear a stronger and more direct connection with survivors’ decision to end the abusive relationship. Despite their differences, both these factors acted as propelling forces, leading survivors to actively pursue the separation from the perpetrator. To portray the dynamic links among these factors, we propose a conceptualisation drawn from Newton’s laws of motion. Our findings also highlighted important differences in the views of survivors and support workers, as the former conceived themselves as proactive in ending the abuse, whereas the latter described the leaving process as mainly led by authorities and services supporting survivors. This study has potential implications for research, policy and clinical practice, as it suggests that far from being a linear sequence of multiple stages, leaving an abusive relationship results from a complex interplay of factors that facilitate (“promoters”) or drastically accelerate (“accelerators”) the separation process. We argue that future research should aim at improving our current understanding of the subjective and situational factors that can act as “accelerators” or “promoters” for women’s leaving decisions. Moreover, clinicians and policymakers should invest in creating interventions that aid victims to recognise and leverage promoters and accelerators, thus increasing their readiness to end the abuse.
Thesis
p>This thesis is based on 28 in-depth focussed interviews with women survivors of domestic violence which explored their perceptions and experiences of legal responses to domestic violence. The interviews were conducted and analysed using the theoretical framework and methods of Grounded Theory and feminist perspectives. The research examines women's different 'pathways' through 'domestic violence law', including the criminal, civil and family law systems. Recent legal reforms focus on responding to domestic violence as a crime, holding perpetrators accountable, changing their behaviour and protecting 'victims'. In focussing on these aspects of 'domestic violence law' we miss crucial aspects of the meaning of law in survivors' lives. For the women in this research legal responses were part of breaking the silence surrounding domestic violence, seeking 'connections' with others, establishing power in the violent relationship and creating a new life apart from the perpetrator. Women's experiences reveal that, generally, legal responses failed to recognise these needs or to respond to the complex emotional journeys of surviving domestic violence. Legal responses also tended to silence, exclude and disempower women. This thesis argues that there are 'therapeutic possibilities' for legal responses that 'heal' and 'serve' survivors of domestic violence. It is argued that we need to develop an understanding of the role of emotion in legal responses and in experiences of domestic violence and that empathy should be valued as central to legal practice. The thesis also argues that law should develop opportunities for empowering women at an individual and collective level.</p
Book
How does experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) affect one's identity, in terms of self-concept and self-esteem? In this Element, the authors propose a novel framework called the E3 Model in which relevant theory and research studies can be organized into three phases: Entrapment, Escape, and Elevation. Entrapment focuses on how people enter and commit to a relationship that later becomes abusive and how experiencing IPV affects the self. Escape explores how victims become survivors as they slowly build the resources needed to leave safely, including galvanizing self-esteem. Finally, Elevation centers on how survivors psychologically rebuild from their experience and become stronger, happier, more hopeful selves. This Element concludes with a discussion of applications of the E3 Model, such as public and legal policy regarding how to best help and support survivors.
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