Yeah buddy. If ever there was a time when I recommend that you read an article when you're in a pretty good mood (meaning, not easily triggered) and you can be uninterrupted so that you take some time to process all that's been said, this one would be it. As someone who is quite clear on the fact that my first so-called friendship with a girl was the worst kind of trauma bond on the planet—one that paved the way for other trauma bonds to occur over the course of a lot of my life—I will give the heads up that while a write-up like this can provide all kinds of ah-ha moments, sometimes the reality of the truth can be quite jarring too.
Because, c'mon y'all—who ever really goes into a relationship, thinking that it is to be based on some form of trauma? And yet, whether a lot of us want to accept it or not…that is exactly what some of us do. Often. In part, because we don't get what a trauma bond actually is and/or how to avoid cultivating one before we find ourselves feeling wounded, heartbroken and/or devastated.
And here's the real trip of it all. While I've experienced a few trauma bonds with relatives and boyfriends, oftentimes folks don't realize that where they tend to be highly prevalent is in platonic situations. And listen, when your close friendships are toxic, that tends to affect, infect and negatively influence you in ways that you don't even realize—until you break free.
So, now that we're entering a new year and a new season, take a moment to see if one of your nearest and dearest friendships is actually one of the worst things that has ever happened to you. (Take a deep breath, now. Ready? Let's go.)
What Exactly Is a Trauma Bond?
"Trauma bond" is the kind of phrase that's used so much that it has taken on a lot of meanings. While I do personally think that an extension of a classic trauma bond is when two people connect on nothing more than unhealthy habits and/or brokenness and/or toxic personality traits (which means they aren't building on anything healthy, purposeful or meaningful), that isn't what a true trauma bond is all about.
A trauma bond is when a narcissist finds a victim to bring into their world and then manifests a cycle of abuse that becomes so unbelievably insane that 1) it's hard for the victim to even grasp what is going on and 2) even once they do, they don't really know how to get out.
Keeping this in mind, in order for a trauma bond to make even more sense, we should break down what some traits of a narcissist actually are.
- Needs constant praise
- Is an ego maniac
- Intimidates and belittles others
- Is apathetic
- Makes everything be about them
- Feels envious of others
- Is obsessed with power, beauty and/or success
- Is a snob (thinks only certain people are "qualified" to be in their intimate space)
- Idealizes relationships in a way that is unrealistic
Off top, a sho 'nuf example of a narcissist is Donald John Trump. And while there are a billion and one reasons why that man has been able to get away with as much as he has, a big part of it is because so much of this country politically trauma bonded to him. For whatever the reason, they initially found him to be charming and/or funny and/or intriguing, he manipulated that, then proved himself to be nothing that he promised. Yet, because certain folks made him up to be something bigger in their own minds, the remained loyal anyway. They remain trauma bonded.
OK, but how does this all happen? Outside of political mayhem, how can people who seem to be really smart and self-aware still find themselves caught up? That's a really good question. I'll do my best to break it down.
How Do So Many of Us Get Caught Up in a Trauma Bond?
When it comes to how a person either becomes a narcissist or involved with one, it typically has to do with one's childhood. Oftentimes, narcissists grow up feeling abandoned or not properly nurtured in some way, so they create a really toxic way to self-preserve and self-persevere. On the other hand, a victim of a narcissist was usually raised by a narcissistic parent or caregiver (check out "What If It's Your Parents Who Happen To Be The Narcissists?"). As children, we want (and deserve) to be loved. When we're not, it can create voids (narcissism). Children are also innately very pure and desirous of wanting to make their parents or caregivers happy. When an abusive parent takes advantage of that, the child keeps doing more in hopes that their parents will be pleased. And since our parents are usually our first introduction to love, respect and relationships in general, we think that the emotional roller coaster ride that they put us on is how relationships are supposed to go. And so, in walks other narcissistic people who are more than ready, willing and able to take advantage of our vulnerability; especially since a lot of us aren't even aware that the shaky foundation that our parents created for us even exists.
So with that breakdown, I'm thinking that it might make sense how you can have a tight trauma bond with someone who you consider to be a really close friend. Because if that friend is a narcissist, then already something is "off". That said, do me a favor and think about the people who you consider to be in your inner circle. Do they have a huge ego? Do you find yourself praising them as they belittle you? Do you have moments when it seems like they are a closet hater or envious of you? Are you way more "into them" (committed, devoted, supportive) than they are into you (check out "Ever Wonder If A Friend Is Just...Not That Into You?")? Do they not seem interested in understanding what you need and how you feel?
Deeper still, have you not even really stopped to consider all of this because, up until now, the amount of time, effort and energy that you've put into the relationship has caused you to keep enduring what they are dishing out because you've chalked it up to being "That's just how they are" with a dash of ill-defined loyalty to them and the friendship?
Matter of fact, have you even stopped to ponder if you're even happy and fulfilled in your friendship? Because unfortunately, a lot of us seem to feel like that way of thinking should only be reserved for romantic relationships (or perhaps even professional ones), when the reality is you deserve to be happy, fulfilled and nurtured in every single relationship you've got. So, if all you and your homie have are "all these years" (shout-out to one of my favorite lines from the movie,Love Jones), no matter how much you love and care about them, not only is that not a good enough reason to remain in the relationship, chances are, you are subjecting yourself to abuse—a trauma bond.
What Does a Trauma Bond Between Friends Look Like?
If some of this is rattling you a bit and you would like a little more info, just to be sure, here are some signs that you could have a trauma bond with a so-called friend:
If your friend:
- Guilt trips you into getting you to do what they want you to do
- Uses manipulation to get what they desire
- Makes you feel uneasy or uncomfortable in some way and, if you bring it up, they not only attack you for doing so but find a way to make you feel like a bad person for even mentioning in
- Rarely takes accountability and responsibility for the wrong that they've done and, if they ever do, the remorse seems fake AF
- Never wants to deal with real issues within the relationship
- Has unrealistic expectations and/or are hypocritical in the sense that they expect you to do what they are unwilling to do in the friendship
- Is never wrong
- Is hypersensitive and/or super defensive most of the time
- Is self-righteous
- Hurts you, deflects, and then hurts you again (and it feels like a pattern)
While none of us are perfect (and anyone who feels otherwise about themselves; they too could easily fall into the narcissism demographic), if you've got someone in your life who you could easily check off 3-5 of these traits—while it might be a bitter pill to swallow, you very well could be involved with narcissist. Not only that but you could very easily be trauma bonded to them as well.
While we're here, another clear sign that there is some trauma bonding going on is if you read all of this, you feel a pit in the bottom of your stomach, and yet, your immediate inclination is to defend your friend or the dynamic rather than figure out a way to actually grieve the reality, heal yourself and set up some firm boundaries, moving forward. Because, I speak from personal experience when I say that, being in a relationship with a narcissist is a vicious cycle that absolutely will not change until 1) they are forced to face some consequences of their actions and 2) they get some assistance from a reputable counselor or therapist. Please never forget that it's pretty close to impossible for a narcissist to heal on their own because they've got to be humble enough to recognize that something is wrong with them and humility is a trait that narcissists simply do not have.
How to Heal from Breaking a Trauma Bond.
So, what are you saying, Shellie? If I've got a trauma bond with someone, I need to cut them off. Some of you may have check out an article that I wrote a couple of years back for the site entitled, "Why I Don't 'Cut People Off' Anymore, I Release Them Instead", so no, I don't necessarily recommend that you turn around and be as "violent" to a friend as they've been to you. What I will say, though, is if it is now abundantly clear that you've been in a relationship with a narcissist, why would you want to keep them in the honored and privileged space that really belongs to those who are going to love you right and well?
So yeah, for a season, I think that you should take some time away from the "friend", so that you can figure out what you want and need, what the counterproductive patterns have been and why you tolerated their BS for so long. It can help to journal out where you think your codependency in this area stems from and how long it's been going on. I'm all about you establishing firm and necessary boundaries with them in order to protect yourself from further harm. It can also be smart to come up with your own definition of what a real friend means to you, in this season of your life.
Also, I've always been about—and will continue to be about—creating pros and cons lists. That said, the friend who you think you are so close to and love so much, figure out the great things about having them in your life and the not-so-awesome ones.
Ask yourself if you're "in this" because that's just the way it is because you are afraid of what life looks like without them or you don't really have any other friends but that friend. If any of those reasons resonate, give yourself permission to accept that they simply aren't good enough. You should never remain in a friendship merely out of habit, fear, or loneliness. Besides, it's not until you remove yourself from your emotional abuser that you can get into friendships that are better for you anyway.
I know this was a lot to take in. Believe me when I say that I do. Yet your time and the very essence of your being are way too precious to be on a hamster wheel with someone who, at the end of the day, really doesn't have your best interest at heart; someone who mostly keeps you around, so that they have a tool to manipulate and a fan to make them feel like their stratagems really aren't "all that bad".
2020 was traumatic enough, don't you think? Purpose in your mind to go into 2021, releasing the pain, drama and lack of personal satisfaction that you actually can control. Start by shifting that trauma bond you've got with that friend of yours. It'll be one of the best decisions that you've ever made in your entire life. Trust me.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy