What is trauma bonding?

PAT: I only heard the term trauma bonding this week.


Medically reviewed by Jacquelyn Johnson, PsyD. — Written by Lois Zoppi on November 26, 2020

When does it happen?
Breaking the bond
When to seek help

Trauma bonding is a psychological response to abuse. It occurs when the abused person forms an unhealthy bond with the person who abuses them.

The person experiencing abuse may develop sympathy for the abusive person, which becomes reinforced by cycles of abuse, followed by remorse. Stockholm syndrome is one type of trauma bonding.

This article explains what trauma bonding is, when it might occur, and how recovery can begin.

What is a trauma bond?

A trauma bond is a connection between an abusive person and the individual they abuse. It typically occurs when the abused person begins to develop sympathy or affection for the abuser.

This bond can develop over days, weeks, or months. Not everyone who experiences abuse develops a trauma bond.

Stockholm syndrome is a specific type of trauma bond. While this term typically refers to someone who is captive developing positive feelings for their captors, this dynamic can occur in other situations and relationships.

2018 research investigating abuse in athletics suggests that Stockholm syndrome may begin when a person experiencing abuse begins to rationalize the actions of the perpetrator.

Why does it happen?

Feelings of attachment and dependence can contribute to a trauma bond, as can a pattern of abuse and remorse.


According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, trauma bonds are the result of an unhealthy attachment.

Humans form attachments as a means of survival. Babies become attached to the parents or caregivers whom they depend on, and adults form attachments to others who provide comfort or support.

When someone’s main source of support is also their abuser, a trauma bond can develop. An abused person may turn to the abusive person for comfort when they are hurt, even if the other person was the one who caused it.


A person may develop a trauma bond because they rely on the abusive person to fulfill emotional needs.

For example, a child relies on their parent or caregiver for love and support. If that caregiver is abusive, the child may come to associate love with abuse. Believing that this association is normal, the child may be unable to see the abusive caregiver as “bad.”

The child may instead blame themselves for the abuse as a way of making sense of what is happening to them. This allows the caregiver to continue being “good” in the child’s eyes, which reinforces their bond.

Cycle of abuse

Some abusive relationships follow a pattern of abuse, then remorse.

After causing harm, an abusive person may promise to change. Some may be especially kind or romantic to make up for their behavior.

This gives the abused person hope that their suffering will end and that they will one day receive the love or connection that the perpetrator has promised. The person experiencing the abuse may see suffering as a price to pay for kindness.

Remorseful behavior may also cause the abused person to feel grateful, particularly if they have become accustomed to poor treatment. This reinforces the bond.

When can trauma bonding happen?
In theory, trauma bonding can occur in any situation that involves one person abusing or exploiting another. This may include situations that involve:

domestic abuse
child abuse
elder abuse
exploitative employment, such as one involving people who have immigrated without documentation
kidnapping or hostage-taking
human trafficking
religious extremism or cults
According to the organization Parents Against Child Exploitation, a trauma bond develops under specific conditions.

A person must: perceive a real threat of danger from their abuser experience harsh treatment with small periods of kindness be isolated from other people and their perspectives believe that they cannot escape.

Signs of trauma bonding

The main sign that a person has bonded with an abuser is that they try to justify or defend the abuse.

They may also: agree with the abusive person’s reasons for treating them badly try to cover for the abusive person argue with or distance themselves from people trying to help, such as friends, family members, or neighbors become defensive or hostile if someone intervenes and attempts to stop the abuse, such as a bystander or police officer be reluctant or unwilling to take steps to leave the abusive situation or break the bond

A person bonded with their abuser might say, for example:

“He is only like that because he loves me so much — you would not understand.”

“She is under a lot of pressure at work, she cannot help it. She will make it up to me later.”

“I will not leave him, he is the love of my life. You are just jealous.”

“It is my fault — I make them angry.”

It is worth noting that these feelings of attachment do not necessarily end when the person leaves the harmful situation. A person may still feel loyal or loving toward the person who abused them or feel tempted to return.

Breaking a trauma bond

Breaking a trauma bond can be challenging and may take time, but it is possible. The National Domestic Violence Hotline suggest that people:

Focus on the present: Hope that an abusive person will change or nostalgia for good times in the past can keep people in their trauma bonds. Try to acknowledge what is currently happening and the impact that it has by pausing to reflect on it. If it is safe to do so, keep a diary.

Focus on the evidence: If a person continues to abuse or takes no steps to get help, stay focused on this, rather than on their promises about the future.

Practice positive self-talk: Abuse can lower a person’s self-esteem and make them feel that they cannot be without the abusive person. Noticing negative self-talk and challenging with positive alternatives can start to change this.

Practice self-care: Taking care of oneself may help relieve some stress and reduce the desire to turn to an abusive person for comfort. Journaling, meditation, exercise, hobbies, prayer, or talking to trusted friends can help.

If possible, a person can also:

Learn about abusive and toxic relationships in order to spot the signs early and reinforce that they are not healthy.

Learn what healthy relationships look like and seek them out.

Create a plan to improve safety and make it possible to leave.

Safety planning

Safety plans include personalized steps that an individual can take to protect themselves physically and emotionally. The plan may include:

safe places where someone can go to protect themselves, children, or pets from violence
names and contact information for people who provide support information about local organizations and services a way to gather evidence of the abuse, such as a journal with events and dates that a person keeps in a safe place a plan to leave, considering factors such as money, a safe place to live, and work a plan for staying safe after leaving, which may include changing locks and phone numbers, altering working hours, and pursuing legal action

Recovery from abuse

The trauma of abuse can have lasting effects on mental and physical health. No one has to cope with this alone. The following approaches may help people understand their experiences and address related issues, such as anxiety or depression.


A person may experience pain, a sense of loss, and grief after escaping an abusive situation.

An understanding therapist, counselor, or support worker can help someone work through this. It may help to find a therapist who has experience with trauma and abuse survivors.

A therapist can provide a safe space to talk about all thoughts, feelings, and experiences. They can also identify and treat conditions that may develop as a result of abuse, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, known as PTSD.

Support groups

Support groups offer abuse survivors places to share their stories with others who understand. This can help a person feel less alone and remind them that there are others who care.

People in support groups may also share tips on coping and staying safe, and provide other practical advice about moving on from an abusive situation.


If a person develops an anxiety disorder or depression as a result of abuse, medications may help relieve some of the symptoms. Anyone interested can discuss this option with a doctor.

When to seek help


Trauma bonding occurs when a person experiencing abuse develops an unhealthy attachment to their abuser. They may rationalize or defend the abusive actions, feel a sense of loyalty, isolate from others, and hope that the abuser’s behavior will change.

Breaking a trauma bond and recovering can be a long journey, and recognizing the true nature of the bond is an important first step. Trusted family members, friends, other survivors, counselors, support services, and therapists can all help a person heal.

Last medically reviewed on November 26, 2020


When I was 6 I was sexually abused by a young delivery man.

I did not understand what was happening and was very confused.

Something told me it was wrong and if it was wrong, I thought, it must be my fault, because grown upd are always right and children wrong.

The other thing was, I was already the oldest of 4 or 5 and I had stopped being the baby at 11 months when my next sibling arrived. So I had to move on and let the new baby and babies get the attention.

So I was lonely and lacking attention.

And then my abuser arrived, giving me attention, making me feel special and bringing me lovely sweets and biscuits.

So, of course, I liked him and liked when he came around.

So, I “bonded” with him.

I didn’t understand or appreciate what he did to me in the locked bathroom. But he still gave me attention and gifts and I still liked him.

Then he disappeared, suddenly.

And I missed him. I felt a loss, a kind of grief. And I kept looking for him for years.

Later, in therapy, I understood what happened.

But only this week did I learn it was called TRAUMA BONDING.

102 replies on “TRAUMA BONDING.”

Very brave of you to be so open.
To take it one step further there are other bonds created by abusers which skew all sorts of relationships and go a long way to explaining why some people just do not see abuse.
Cf the conversation between the clergy and others on this blog all the time.


It means compare. All sides of conversations on this blog show signs of trauma, was my point.


The abbreviation cf. (short for the Latin: confer/conferatur, both meaning ‘compare’) is used in writing to refer the reader to other material to make a comparison with the topic being discussed. Style guides recommend that cf. be used only to suggest a comparison, and the word ‘see’ be used to point to a source of information.


Thanks 9:52 (the first one), &11:40, for being helpful. (Rather than dismissive)
It was something I’ve never come across before


There is so much in this article about “trauma bonding”. Like you Pat, a “kind” neighbour abused me in the way you described by making me feel “special” – sweets, cuddles etc…but then the abuse occurred. After almost two years at 15 years of age, I escaped. Then because I “left” him, I felt sorrow for him and I almost fell into the trap again. Thank God I went to boarding school as it gave me complete escape but
the memories haunt me still. Abusers are horribly manipulative. Therapy helped in reconciling with the long term effects. Incidentally, it was a priest who noticed my anxiety issues long ago and helped me a little in unearthing the root causes. With his care I sought therapy. All experiences of abuse should be taken seriously but we must find trusting friends and counsellors as many people are not trained to unravel the complexities of abuse. That is why I have a disdain for anyone who belittles sexual abuse survivors.


I’m very sorry you experienced that, Pat. Therapy can be helpful in dealing with many aspects of trauma, and I’m glad you’ve found support there.


Pat, excellent topic that we should all try to understand when dealing with victims of abuse. I often wondered why many wait until their 40s or 50’s to report abuse. I think it’s probably a time when we are most likely to visit a therapist and the talk therapy allows us to integrate the event in our body. This makes us realise that the reason we are at the therapist may have been events that we have not resolved. Dr Patrick Cairnes, Bessel Van Der Kolk and Gabor Mate are good places to start as they deal with addiction, treating trauma and what trauma does to the body.


Thanks, Blow the Whistle, I’ll look at those authors. Many (certainly not all) victims of CSA can end up with alcohol problems, apparently. Imagine taking away a child’s innocence and trust. My children wake up everu day optimistic and thinking the world’s OK and I’d want to kill anybody who took away their optimism and hope.


Trauma Bonding strikes a chord to my memory of very difficult areas of social work child protection practice of assessments related to:
1) Best way to protect child from proximate physical or mental harm.
2) How to assess parental capacity/willingness for positive child centered change within a timescale significantly beneficial to the dependent child’s needs. ( Children’s development does not “stand still” while their parent matures)
3) How significant are child’s existing bonds/links to a parent, even an abusive one. Child’s age is often the decisive factor. And if strong emotional links are present , even to an abusive parent as in “Trauma Bonding “, what will best ensure child’s successful LONG TERM development:…….to work towards return to parents or separation placement elsewhere, if such exists!
I can tell you folks, child protection social work in the public sector, especially with inordinate pressures both of extremely limited care placement resources (foster parents and children’s home placements), staff shortages and excessive caseloads, not to mention the pressures of superficial unfair histrionic Daily Fail type publicity ………It was not an easy task.
And that was in “my own days” of practice nearly 20 years ago!
Nowadays?:… I shudder to think of the reality.
I’ve recently been discussing this with a very able caring and motivated 30+ year old honours graduate qualified social worker neice. She is currently looking to “get out” of N. IRE Trust direct social work practice and meanwhile undertaking clinical psychology qualifications to add to her honours degree in psychology.
It’s little wonder that caring committed young people like her are being lost by systems that completely fail to recognise or meet both vulnerable clients needs, or the commitment and aspirations of such able young people.


MMN: “Child protection social work in the public sector, edpecially with inordinate presdure both of extremely limited care placement resources….staff shortages, excessive caseload….it was not an easy task” – so you say out of your experiences. Sounds like the same excuse the Church put forward to cover up for and “almost” justify the mishandling of clerical sexual abuse scandals. The horrific stories of child, teenagers and families falling being failed through the social services networking are appalling in number and nature. When a former Cardinal said he was just so “busy” having not contacted a victim, he was crucified and condemned. With all our knowledge now, we look back retrospectively and realise that abuse in any era was abhorrent, evil and criminal. My parents un the 60’s warned us about particular people (men) who posed as a threat. They kept us safe, always. It was their parental instinct. Why, oh why are professionals in Church and state – clerics, social workers – forever claiming “systems failures” for criminal, negligent and sometimes fatal abuse? ABUSE is ABUSE in any era and is morally reprehensible, MMM…..


Nah not the same. The difference is the church had a policy of cover up. Go and gaslight elsewhere.


10.52: See how much you care about ABUSE – you have zero concern. You hang yourself by your ignorant denial and you must be somewhat illiterate as the blog issue is about all “trauma bonding” which is a manipulated component by perpetrators from all professions and parents, sir, (lest you think it’s the victims/survivor’s fault). You seem dumb.


Thanks @ 11:37 for the suggestion.
She’s very committed to working in child protection, and seeks eventually to specialise in assessments of the potential for positive change in abusive parents.
An often found reality is that such parents have not themselves been properly nurtured. Their capacity for meaningful maturation within the essential time frame of their dependent rapidly developing young children is the crucial element of such assessment.


1:36 am
Who was your ‘client group’; the chattering classes- those socially concerned and highly educated section of the metropolitan middle class especially those with political, media,
and academic connections- or those deemed members of the working classes and underclasses?
Here is one sample outrageous scandal :


When anyone can produce proof that social workers have an internationally organized cover up on a policy level as the RC church has for decades I will take the above comments seriously.


1:49 pm

Organizationally social work and the Rcc are not comparable. If you wish to get an idea
of social work cover ups, google “social work scandals”, for a plethora of professional incompetence negligence and inquiries into social workers practice.
How many Social Workers does it take to change a light bulb?
One. But fifteen to hold a case conference and write a report about surviving in darkness.
What’s the difference between God and a social worker?
God doesn’t pretend to be a social worker.
One social worker asks another “What time is it?”
The second replies, “I don’t know, I’m not wearing a watch.”
The first says, “That’s OK, the important thing is we talked about it.”


Very interesting point, MMM, it must be a dilemma for social wokers and courts in balancing parental ability to change and the time needed to allow the family to stay together, with ensuring that the child, who operates to a very different timetable of needs and growing up, has their needs met.


3:00pm Nice try Mister. Failed though because we are all familiar with your agenda by now 😂 and it is not in any way related to Safeguarding.


It’s most unfair to paint all social workers with the same brush and ignore the good work done by thousands of social workers.
Open your eyes and ask God for grace to overcome your hate.


The unraveling of the church and ongoing abuse by clergy is going to roll and roll for decades yet. 😂


1.49: Keep burying your head in the sand. Report after report confirms that the vast majority of child abuse takes place within famy settings. Ask CHILDLINE about the thousands of calls they receive. Let’s be clear: all and every abuse of a child or vulnerable person or anyone is indefensible and possibly criminal. If we simply focus on one area of abuse – Church – we will overlook all other abuses, an observation made by many professional during debates on the various Church Abuse Reports. All ABUSE by whosoever is morally reprehensible and perpetrators deserve the full rigour of the law. When you’ve been abused, you have a clearer understanding of the issues and of the manipulative psychology of abusers. You, sir, should shut up for now.


Thank you for an interesting and we’ll thought out comment MMM. It is a pity trolls have attempted to spoil it and that Pat has facilitated that behaviour.


Thank you @1:47, and @ 1:17 . Your comments indicate intelligent understanding of the difficulties of achieving the best balance between competing priorities to provide best outcome for disadvantaged children. And @2:32 too for a balanced and fair comment.

When talking with my neice we also touched on my atheism, something now more regularly raised by family members. They now very openly speak to me of their abandonment of much of the cradle Catholicism of our family background, though they are not as open about it and simply pay lip service at weddings funerals and other similar passage ceremonies. I referred my neice to this blog, and the prevailing impression from it of the inadequacy, incompetence , and uncharitable behaviours demonstrated by a significant proportion of its clerical contributors. I will forward her today’s comments to underline the pont.


3:14 pm. An interesting phrase ” the best balance between competing priorities”…. The social work practitioners main priority is to ” cover his or her backside” while protecting his or her employer. “He who pays the piper…..” particularly in statutory social work.


Your comment @ 7pm is a sad reality Josephine A.
Child protection reviews (particularly after a tragedy and the invariable press and public furore) have singularly focused on social work records of an individual tragic case and paid scant attention to many other issues affecting the case in question. In many critical reviews, negative inferences have been made based solely on the workers records, or lack of. And increasingly, government directives have laid down specific requirements as to what must be recorded, and when. Like so much of bureaucratic requirements nowadays, it has become a nightmare of complexity.
It has become a Catch22 : failure to record everything properly can incur risk of dismissal and even legal action. So indeed Josephine there has developed a “cover your back at all costs” mentality, right from the politicians through all levels of management down to the “coal face!”


9:26 pm. Thank you for acknowledging my comment, Michael. Social work is riddled with contradictions. Statutory social workers involved in child protection intervene in families on behalf of the State. Practitioners are not neutral objective detached professionals incapable of professional error(s). In critical reviews, what alternative means are available other than records or lack of? Let’s be honest, Michael. Social Workers can and do make errors. However, social workers employed by the State have the luxury of statutory legal personnel, unlike families where practice errors occur. I’m aware of a social worker who was promoted following very serious negligence in a number of cases. This paradigm of incompetence now works for the church. The truth can be stranger than fiction, Michael.


Josephine @ 10:29. Yes, indeed SWs make errors. They’re human! And I, we, they regret them with benefit of hindsight.
I can honestly say that from my own experience, initially as a SSW directly supervising a child protection team of nine SWs and three assistants from 1973 to 1978, then subsequentially managing a 60K pop rural district SW service delivery team across all client needs, my prevailing impression has been of staff individuals trying to do their best in very difficult circumstances.
In my 40 years of SW practice and management, my prevailing perception has been of sincere caring individuals doing their best in trying circumstances. Apart, that is, from two I have to say I got “rid of”, one through early retirement and the other was sacked for false mileage claims, as he, an unqualified SW was a lazy opportunistic chancer.


1:34am. How was an unqualified social worker appointed to a child protection team?


Josephine @ 9:25: He was already in post when I arrived in 1977. At that time many rural area SW teams operated generically with individual workers aligned to geographical areas, its schools and surgeries in that locality. In those days only about half the SWs had a qualification with little specialisation in meeting client profile/needs. The individual in question had been appointed by my retired predecessor, who was also not qualified and had “worked his way up” after starting as a clerk.
Social work in the 1960’s and 70’s was very “different” then!


Complicity in something “daring”. When I was in the armada I mean neo-carbonari I mean P2, the icing on the cake was going to be we were going to get “inserted into” the church (I’ve reflected on that phrase since).


10.52: You are in DENIAL about the horrendous effects of abuse – clerical, domestic, social services – and only when you have been abused will you, sir, clearly understand the horror. If this is the level of your intelligence, don’t engage in DENIAL narratives. Do a lityle research. Also, the issue of Pat’s blog refers to “trauma bonding” which arises out of every abuse irrespective of profession of perpetrator. Please remember my premise: ABUSE IS ABUSE IN ANY ERA and all perpetrators are destructive, even criminal and must face the civil courts of justice. Go read the many reports re: social services neglect. “Cover up..” pertains a great deal in such investigations. Get real.


And the cathbots fly in to rescue a poor priest who isn’t receiving continual adulation! Maniples ready, to strike at any person who has the temerity to question the holy priests!



And the Happy Clappies fly in to slag off any poor priest who has the temerity not to fit in with their extremely low expectations. But who cares they deserve a good slap of the Maniple and I’d love to oblige! 🤣🤣🤣


Trauma bonding sadly will occur in a toxic relationship. The abused victim will see the good and the bad of the abuser.
As in the case of the monk from yesterday’s blog, the abused victim will start thinking they can fix the abuser. It is then sadly a cycle of whac-a-mole. The victim might fix one problem or get on top of one situation but many other problems occur.
One thing to be mindful of is that the abuser will be familiar with behaviour to get their victim back on side. If the victim is looking to leave as in the case of the monk, the abuser will press all the buttons to get their victim back on side.
I pray that all victims of toxic relationships can run to the hills of safety and be free from their abuser. Remember that repeated mistakes are a decision.


Those who want to make us co-complicit because they spotted we were square pegs, instead of leaving us to the ample kindness of Providence, make false promises in order to see how much they can twist our consciences.
At 9 and three quarters I was made “militant” by a “monseigneur” (who I distinctly recall, was passed off as a bishop). By that time, my parents knew they didn’t understand what religion was being turned into (and they had been against the original wrongs in the first place). We thought we could “go along” (or not) on our own terms, as all too briefly the rest of society was doing.
Beware intensity. Always substitute your own better rationale in everything. By the way thank you to whoever told us about the real Heenan the other day, he deserved his subsequent non-comprehension.


Concerning Silverstream, it could be construed as a conflict of interest, on the part of the Holy See and the local ordinary, if the Holy See has the authority to suppress an institute and the revenues on sale revert to it, either directly, or to the local bishop. The state might have an opinion on that scenario. It might be a case of a 21st century version of praemunire applied to Ireland.


I quite see how this could motivate the holy see to close down religious institutes. In fact I thought the minimum numbers required in Cor Orans were bizarre and have already led to the closure of communities which would otherwise have limped on and fizzled out.
However in the case of Silverstream, because it is an apostolate of the diocese, it would be hard to see a conflict of interest in it being suppressed and the buildings reverting to the diocese. It would be like a company closing one of its sites and keeping the money, because it owns it.


To make the claim the diocese owns it is to beg the question. You would need to argue that case and not merely presume it.


Indeed, 10:18, I doubt that a civil court would assume that the diocese owns the property. I would suggest that it belongs to the members of the community. There is no guarantee that the community won’t simply wipe the dust from under their feet and go independent or join the SSPX.


“buildings reverting to the diocese”
Buildings cannot revert to the diocese when they did not own the property in the first place. The nuns sold the property to cover their care.
When a monastery reaches the end of their life-cycle, a healthy relationship between the monastery and diocese is important. Canonically, a bishop must be consulted before a monastery is closed. Ideally the involvement will be greater.
Questions will arise over the disposal or use of property and financial assets, over the dispersion and future mission of the monks. These are matters where disputes naturally arise and where healthy relationships can help avoid much pain.
I have no confidence in the monastery. The monastery has not been around for very long. They would want to get their act together fast. One would expect a second visitation within reasonable timescale after the concerns raised after the first visitation.
The abuse allegations then. Scandalous. I hope proper lawful punishment is enforced. As long as the scandalous abbot remains a part of the community, the monastery cannot be trusted.


You will all recall cases where the assets of an order have reverted to the members when it has closed and that is what is making you conclude the wrong thing here.
The cases you remember will be sisters or male religious in simple vows. Monks are in solemn vows so the property of the institute will revert to the Vatican – in reality the diocese.
Any attempt to make the physical property of any church organization belong to anyone other than the local church is doomed unless it specifically says somebody else’s name on the deeds.
The only case where that has happened that I know of, is the Holy Wisdom monastery which left the Catholic church completely and that was only because the sisters legally set themselves up as a corporation before being released from their vows.
Basically you can’t do it, and also be in solemn vows or remain in the church.


A bishop becomes involved in the life of the monastery at two moments particularly:
1. The ordination of any members to the diaconate or priesthood.
2. The liturgical blessing of an abbot.

Canonically most contemporary Benedictine monasteries are withdrawn from the jurisdiction of the local bishop. The bishop should not interfere in the interior workings of a monastery. Monks by their vow of obedience, submit themselves to their Abbot, not to the local bishop.
However, as regards ‘the care of souls, public worship and works of the apostolate’, monks are subject to the authority of the local bishop.
The well-being of the monastery is a concern of the whole local Christian community. This monastery in question is sick, it is in danger, and it is the duty of the local Church to come to its rescue, to heal it. This must be done for the right motives.
We have had the first visitation. The issues of concern must be addressed and corrected. When will the next visitation take place to assess if the monastery is healing or if further corrective action is required?


Thanks BP 8:10! 👍

Can. 615: An autonomous monastery which does not have another major superior besides its own moderator and is not associated to another institute of religious in such a way that the superior of the latter possesses true power over such a monastery as determined by the constitutions is entrusted to the special vigilance of the diocesan bishop according to the norm of law.

Can. 637 The autonomous monasteries mentioned in can. 615 must render an account of their administration to the local ordinary once a year. Moreover, the local ordinary has the right to be informed about the Financial reports of a religious house of diocesan right.

From the Code of Canon Law 637, the annual accounts should have been under closer scrutiny in recent years, along with an annual account of their administration. The diocese has questions to answer arising from the visitation as well. Why were both parties not adhering to Can. 637 and is corrective action being taken?


Seamus Bishop Pat told you and so has everyone else that Silverstream is not an autonomous monastery. Is it possible to be as stupid as you?


Situated amidst pasture land and forest in the eastern reaches of County Meath, Silverstream Priory (CLG: CRO 513644, Reg. Charity 20080525) was founded in 2012 at the invitation of the Most Reverend Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath, and canonically erected as an autonomous monastery of diocesan right on 25 February 2017.”
Codes of Canon Law 615 and 637 apply to that monastery.


Trauma bonding occurs a lot in domestic abuse cases. It can take years for the victim to leave the perpetrator.


Just a brief question following on from the latter part of the blog, re monks yesterday if I may.

If someone after taking temporary vows to be a monk leaves before taking their formal vows at the four year period, can they still call themselves a monk?

Eg, from what I understand Dom & Dom in Glastonbury were at Ealing Abbey and left after four years. Did they leave before taking their formal vows or after taking them? If they left before taking formal vows (and I don’t know), then can they call themselves monks and use the title Dom which I understand to mean ‘My Lord’.

Thank you. No nasties need reply, I am just asking.


The term is final vows or solemn vows.
Up to that point the expression is temporary or simple vows.
When simple vows expire the alternatives are: make final/solemn vows or leave.
Dom/Dame is a title used by monastics with different customs around their use. Many prefer Father, Mother, Sister, Brother.


The process is this.
You start with postulancy which varies in length from days to a couple of years. At this time you are really just a guest who has got serious.
You then start the noviciate which is required by Canon law and has to be a year, although some places extend it to two. During this time you wear the habit and religious life begins from the beginning of noviciate. If you are dying in noviciate your profession can be brought forward so you die a professed member.
You then take temporary vows for a minimum of three years before life vows.
This goes for most institutes except Jesuits who are different – even with variations this pattern is recognisable.
In the English Benedictine congregation postulancy varies but the year for noviciate and three years for temporary vows are both required so if you leave having been there four years you will have left just at the point of final vows
If a monk in final vows is given some work or has a genuine reason to be away from the monastery that can go on for extended periods in the English Congregation. But it doesn’t sound like that happened with them so they would either have got dispensed from vows or temporary vows run out on their own, and they can’t call themselves monks of Ealing.
As I understand it they then became diocesan priests and have started a monastery under the rule of St Benedict which is a public association of the faithful in that diocese. So they can call themselves monks of Glastonbury monastery.
Hope this explains it.


Sodalities and “ecclesial movements” don’t have a postulancy – one is just lumbered without being told what with – and one never becomes a “full” member either.


Sorry – forgot the Dom thing.
The use of Dom varies – some Benedictines get it when clothed in the habit and some don’t use it at all. for example you won’t hear it in some monasteries in Belgium because in Flemish Dom means stupid. 😂
There is also often a cultural difference between different monasteries. In England you will hear it often at Downside and Belmont but rarely at Ampleforth.
Monasteries with a more external pastoral work focus tend to use it less
There is a perspective within monasteries which is not often mentioned – before Vatican 2 many monasteries were divided totally between choir monks and lay brothers. Lay brothers were second class citizens. After Vatican 2 when the two sides of the community were integrated it was helpful to call everyone Dom not to continue the Fr and Br division of the past.


May I gratefully thank the following for their informative replies.

@ 10.47 am, 11.03 am and 11.09 am


Betty, it is an indication of the mentality currently obvious in so many blog comments that you have to specifically request that “no nasties need reply.”
I follow several blogs: sport and politics mainly. Nowhere else do I see the debased level of comments regularly found here in relation to religious matters. It infers certain traits peculiar and common to “believers.”



Minnie you’ve failed to grasp that some people find your comments extremely nasty. You’re forever giving out your atheistic rubbish, so you have to expect comments from the Faithful whom you’ve upset. It is after all a peculiar trait of yours.


@ 5.52 pm MMM
Well yes it does seem somewhat peculiar when people can’t just have their say without some people wanting to be derogatory.


5:52pm So you can determine believers from unbelievers comments even when no reference to belief is mentioned in a post. Outstanding. An assessment skill acquired in social work school as it couldn’t be bias, now, could it. You’re a great man to pair with other posters for support. An observation, sir. An observation.


5.52: MMM: I agree with you. I too follow other blogs and nowhere have I ever encountered the level of vitriol poured out on a daily basis. This blog I believe started out with good intentions as a forum to expose corruption, wrongdoing and criminality within the institutional church. Gradually and moreso in recent years, the level of ugliness and viciousness of narratives has become very extreme. Particular named individuals have been debased over and over again. The effeminisation of men is sickening. The chasing after people in death is unforgivable. No one is asking for banning essential discussions but I believe Pat should seriously moderate the tone of many commenters. The blog is a useful forum but less aggressive and deliberate offensiveness, even lies must be halted. We owe Pat a gratitude, but he must also curb the nastier and more violent contributors.


An interesting and serious topic, Pat, thank you. I find it especially tragic when children suffering abuse feel they have to defend or cover up their parents’ wrongdoing. I think also of the children of alcoholics and how they suffer and cover up.

I have also often wondered if parents do a lot of harm when they turn their children into their carers, either as physical carers or by leaning on the children for emotional support. My sister, for example, always shared her problems with her very young children and I thought that that was a form of abuse.


It can be, particularly as some people don’t understand that kids can’t process everything. Often they’ve been brought up like that themselves.


In some religious groups the “superiors” explain their “fantasies” or distasteful habits in an attempt to gain the “sympathy” of the membership and induce the membership into talking likewise in front of the group. This has to remain under the “seal of the confessional” (what confessional). Sadly I knew a young married man and an elderly spinster who started copying that talk.

When some under 21s got endangered they didn’t come “repenting”, they understood they were being demoralised / compromised and cleared off altogether for their safety.

Some groups give members a remarkable amount of information about plans and strategic activities, larded with epithets like “miraculous”, so as to make members feel important by having the “inside track”. Information is given differently from one place to another, as are instructions re. procedure, because inconsistency aids deniability.

Many gangs in whatever walk of life and the all-important crossover areas of conflicts of interest, have their pecking order of string pullers, elbow joggers, hand tiers, arm twisters, folks to get under the feet of bigwigs, busybodies, meddlers, minders, handlers, dead hands, people who take amateurishness to a professional level, gormless ones, diversion creators, stunt artistes, brownie point hunters, etc. It gets cosy, but when you realise how boring (or even scandalous) it has become, loneliness is clearly a far better option.


2.31: You are an idiot. You need to read the full article supplied by Pat today and respond to the salient issues raised: Child Safeguarding: manipulative abusers from all backgrounds: denial by many (you included) of sexual abuse in homes: the cover up by Church, state and institutions. There is a panoply of abuse experiences and all abuse is abhorrent. By only focusing on horrendous and criminal church abuses, you are, in effect, saying that other abuse contexts are less serious. What a way to minimise the pain, trauma and darkness of sexual abuse!! Come into the real world. The issue for today’s blog is an opportunity to debate about ABUSE in all contexts. Get out from your narrow bias and moral blindness..


You still haven’t read my comments have you.
I have been scrupulously polite and not resorted to personal insults like you. but then you’re here to troll and not to have a sensible conversation.


Would be good to know who this is and where he is situated. Surely it’s not the McCamley pervert up to his old tricks again.


Anon at 5pm: Seems you are just attacking the commenter at 3.07 and earlier comments. But you have just complained about being trolled. What are you engaging in? You must surely be familiar with this blog. The back and forth insulting ad hominem arguments is a daily occurrence. You’ll just have to get used to it.


Oh no, I can’t get used to it! I’m a priest! People should defer to me because I’m ontologically changed!


5.07: But you just don’t see the wider picture which the issue of Pat’s blog today invites and challenges us to reflect upon: ABUSE in all contexts. Read Pat’s article in full. Then you might move beyond semantics. So far you’ve been insulting to me. I simply challenge your narrow bias and blindness. Now, please offer something worthwhile instead of accusing others of trolling, a cop out when you’ve no plausible arguments.


Not surprised re title of today blog. Its called Stockholm syndrome. Trauma injuries isn’t a joke as I have it. Hypervilgance was one of them. Insomnia etc. Staying awake to prevent abuse happening etc. I didn’t know it at that time. Tried counseling which failed cos it not suit a visual person. What I mean by that re visual person is a person who is deaf and use sign language. Counselling suits person who is not deaf. I found a guy 12 years ago who did a therapy called cranial scaral therapy. It works for me as it might not work for other cos everybody is different. Spent every weekend with him for last 8 months as he left abroad. It was only after I realised how valuable he was. My trauma injuries were reduced but still lingering here abd there. But it’s not bad as it was at the start. There are other innovative trauma treatments such as Peter levine ‘s somatic experiencing. It works for me but not effective as the one I mentioned 👆. It was amazing when things comes out when I went through first time. The only problem was that i wasnt comfortable with interpreter. Cos its a 3 Rd party which could pass it on to others despite of code of confidentiality. I have heard and seen code of confidentiality broken again here and there. Covid-19 came in as it stopped all that. I’m ok just managing it, no nightmares et all. Hope to return when it’s over but this time without an interpreter.


If someone had a pain in their arse deaf guy you would also claim to have the same. You are just an attention seeker. Don’t you just get tired of peoole who moan and complain about their medical conditions all the time.


Anon at 6.25pm

Im no attention seeker, just stating the facts. There are other posters far worse re attention seekers than myself. Normally I do one or two posts here and there or nothing at all depending which blog interests me etc.

Trauma treatments is big business now after Cov19 and endless lockdowns.

At end of the day, I wouldn’t wish anybody or enemy trauma injuries cos it takes years to recover from all this.


If someone had a pain in their arse, Anonymous 6:25 would also claim to have the same. Don’t you just get tired of people like Anonymous 6:25 who moan and complain about other comments all the time?

DG 6:14,
I hope you can resume treatment soon, without the interpreter, and that all works out ok for you! 👍


Pat when are you going to do something about the rampant abuse and bullying in the comments on your blog. No point blogging about trauma if you’re not modelling how people can relate better, in your own online space.


If you don’t like what you read on here the go elsewhere if so easily offended. We live in a society of free speech.


Free speech is not an absolute in society. It’s limited by defamation/slander legislation.
You wouldn’t get very far if you told someone to go elsewhere having defamed them.


7.13: Deaf Guy: my heart goes out to you because of what you’ve been through and you are to be admired for your honesty. It’s disgusting that some “gombeens” literally abuse you again by their petulance, ignorance and inability to assimilate the effects of abuse of any kind. Don’t be deterred by these ignoramuses. You are morally stronger, better and bigger than these cowards.


Seamusviii at 7.25pm
Thanks Seamus 👍much appreciated.
I might explain a little more clearer re interpreter. There was a certain interpreter that I wasn’t comfortable with her. Cos it went all the way to director of deaf studies. Then she as director of deaf studies tried to contact me via other means. It takes two to tango re interpreter at my therapy session and director of deaf studies (responsibility for teaching interpreters) in Ireland, not NI.
So much or so called as ‘code of confidentiality’. I knew it was broken. I had no problem with therapist at the start without interpreter. Therapist(he) aged around 78 or 80 insisted interpreters which I agreed then many sessions later, I became more and more uncomfortable with her. She had a rep for undisclosed or silent broken code of confidentiality. It only takes two people to break it then it goes up further the chain until it reaches it.
I found that UK had far better standards or strict standards than Ireland. That’s why some interpreters get away with murder in Ireland.


Deaf Guy so sad to hear about your situation and I agree Ireland is so behind with the Confidentiality and GPDR.
North Ireland is better and going to copy a lot of the Scottish way and even the Courts in NI are catching up and open and above board sadly Ireland is behind.
In Scotland they would be out of a job and most likely be before the Courts.
England and Wales is behind and very worrying the Boris intends to do away with GDPR and let us hope Northern Ireland , Wales and Scotland says go.
Social care is joined up in Scotland for past five years it is called the Health and Social Care Partnership and they control a lot of NHS as well until full amalgamation.

Never give into bullies as they bully all the more as you being deaf you will likely be hammered by the bureaucrats as DWP or Irelands equivalent well Boris has said NO more to these private companies and the DWP bureaucrats as people with long life illness is not going to get better tomorrow or even till the end off their life sadly yet these private companies make Millions of the DWP thankfully someone is walking up in Whitehall.


DG 8:42,
Does an interpreter have to come from the Register of Irish Sign Language Interpreters (RISLI)?
All registered interpreters must agree to abide by a Code of Conduct held by the Register. You can make a complaint
to the Register, if you are not happy with how the interpreter
has handled an assignment.


Credit where credit’s due, I think the tone of the blog comments has improved considerably in recent weeks and days.


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