Managing Trauma Impact


Is it normal for me to miss the person who assaulted me? I even feel jealous when I learn other people get their attention positively or even negatively.


Thank you for this question. When a person is assaulted, they may experience a variety of emotions in the aftermath, some of which may include feelings of attachment or longing towards the person who caused them harm. These feelings can be confusing and distressing, but it's important to remember that they do not diminish the seriousness of the assault you experienced. 

While jealousy does not necessarily mean that you want to be in a relationship with the person who harmed you or that you condone their behavior, it might be related to feelings of loss or a desire for validation from them. While some of these feelings may be normal initially, it could also be a symptom of complex trauma or a consequence of traumatic bonding that you may want to seek additional help for. 

Traumatic bonding is a psychological phenomenon where a survivor develops an attachment or feelings of loyalty towards the person who harmed them. This could be as a means of survival or as a means to cope with what they experienced. This often happens when a survivor is exposed to repeated and intense trauma, such as in cases of intimate partner violence, sex trafficking, or sexual assault.

Traumatic bonding can create a complex and conflicting emotional experience for survivors, where they may feel attachment and affection towards the person who harmed them, despite the damage they have caused. It can also create feelings of guilt, shame, and confusion as a result of these contradictory feelings. 

No matter why you are experiencing jealousy, if it is interfering with your  life or leading you to unsafe situations, it may be important to acknowledge and process these feelings with the help of a therapist or victim service counselor. Working through these emotions can help you gain clarity and understanding about your feelings, as well as develop coping strategies to manage them.

If you think you can work through these feelings safely on your own, be gentle with yourself. Recognize that is is perfectly normal to experience many conflicting and confusing emotions throughout your healing journey. This does not minimize what you have been through. You did not deserve the harm you experienced. 

Safety Exit