woman looking sad as man looks out the window

Trauma Bonding Part 2 and Overfunctioning

Trauma Bonding Part 2 and Overfunctioning

As a continuation of our discussion on trauma bonding from last week, we’re bringing a second topic into the mix: overfunctioning.

Overfunctioning in relationships

Overfunctioning in relationships is a pattern where one person tends to take on all the thoughts, feelings, and responsibilities for both people in the relationship. It’s a way of establishing a sense of control – a common result in cases of trauma bonding where the balance of control is disproportionate.

A lot of times we miss the signs of overfunctioning, particularly within relationships in recovery, because we don’t really see that it’s not healthy. It can be tricky to identify if you’re a natural caregiver. We think that’s how we should be functioning, or we may use it as a way to manage (ie: avoid) our own feelings.

One way to identify whether you’re acting out of an overfunctioning trauma bond response is the reason why you’re fulfilling a certain role. Is it because you genuinely want to do it, or because you’re trying to appease your significant other?

Are you planning every date because you genuinely want to, or because they’re too busy and tired and you don’t want to upset them?

Are you going to their favorite theme parks instead of your favorite beach so they’re in a better place emotionally?

Trying to make sure the house is calm and clean every day when they get home so they don’t blow up?

Having all their favorite foods in the house at all times so they don’t stonewall you for 3 days? 

Relationships in recovery

So how do you move forward once you recognize patterns of overfunctioning in yourself? 

First and foremost, have so much compassion for where you are and where you’ve been. Trauma responses serve a purpose – they keep us safe and help us survive. Your brain knew what it was doing when it gave you denial so you could get through your day and take care of yourself and your loved ones. 

But now you have the opportunity to stop the unhealthy cycles and create new, sustainable ones in their place. And you don’t have to do it alone.

You’ll Learn:

  • More tangible examples of how trauma bonding could look in your relationship
  • How trauma bonding can lead to overfunctioning in relationships, and what overfunctioning actually is
  • Ways to identify and understand trauma response patterns and how they affect relationships in recovery
  • How to understand your past choices and consider ways to choose differently as you heal


Meet the Faces Behind the Voices

Image of Alana Gordon, Betrayal Trauma Coach and Master Life Coach Trainer
Alana Gordon, MFTI
Amie Woolsey, Betrayal Trauma Coach

Choose To Be is focused on women healing from infidelity, betrayal trauma, or from the sexual acting out of their spouse. We are a Christian based company, committed to helping women heal. Come be part of the conversation as we interview experts, others who have gone through this journey, as well as gain tools to help you move forward.

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