Candace Owens and Kanye West are the ultimate examples of a Trauma Bond.
What is the psychological symbolism of Candace and Kanye displaying their WHITE LIVES MATTER tees?
It seems harmless to the BLM movement, but what was the goal of two dark-skinned Black Americans showing the world that white lives matter?
It does feel like attention bait, however, it also eludes to an underbelly of fear, and trauma. There has never been a time in American history when Black Americans had a moment to deal with the traumatic effects of Black Life in America. At the least having time to contemplate the thought of what white Americans could be feeling.
What is a trauma-bonding relationship?
A trauma-bonding relationship is reflective of an attachment created by repeated physical or emotional trauma with intermittent positive reinforcement, according to licensed psychologist Liz Powell, PsyD. Put simply, in a relationship with trauma bonding, there’s “a lot of really terrible stuff happening and then occasionally really great stuff happening,” they say.
Candace and Kanye’s relationship is a prime example of displaying the illusion of temporary relief from the American nightmare with their brand of reality. So together, they feel more powerful to deal with their own inner trauma, but they then up the ante by banning together and decreeing that white lives matter.
The point of decreeing that one’s collective lives matter to a government structure is to settle the conditions that are imbalanced and to hold the government accountable for allowing those imbalances to occur and prevail thus becoming hardened into a status quo by a majority on the backs of the minority.
Where does trauma-bonding occur?
Trauma bonding isn’t only happening in romantic relationships. You can see trauma bonding signs in dynamics that include:
- fraternity hazing
- military training
- child abuse
- political torture
- prisoners of war
- concentration camps
“In cases of domestic violence or abuse, a lot of people have difficulty leaving abusers, because they have a strong connection to them that is able to keep them there even when things are very bad,” Dr. Powell says. “Within military training [or other group-centric situations], you’re placed in these stressful situations as a way for you to bond with your fellow service members so that you can trust people who you don’t know anything at all about in a life-or-death situation.”
To acknowledge the benefits of the American benefit package; while that package is the status quo aka the “American Dream” the package every other race is after. Then, in turn, Candace and Kanye don’s fashion statements for the slave-master class that has ruled for as long as the country existed, to everyone that already knows “White lives Matter” is on auto-pilot, is “Not News”. What could be the neurosis of Candace and Kanye? It definitely looks like Trauma Bonding.
What matters most is a human being’s humanity. Something at no time in history has an African taken from any European, Latino, Asian or Polynesian.
In James Baldwin’s critically acclaimed 1969 film Baldwin’s Nigger, grandmaster mentor James Baldwin highlights the neurosis of being Black in America and the mental state one needs to have in order to survive. However, the difference in the Y2K era is that not only is his description of Black life repetitive, but its function today is more distorted. Candace and Kanye’s display of congruity looks as if it hurts; knowing it will eventually haunt them in the long run.
The real American trauma centers are still well to this very day in every American city. When trauma is accompanied by a little bit of African American money… it still will never trade at the value rate with the intrinsic value of whiteness.
But where is the BOND OF TRAUMA really?
It is this…Until our collective value can be traded, bartered, sold, or loaned at the same or greater rate while in the hands of Black folks, Black Americans as the seller and chief operator, of things wanted, Whiteness must pay top dollar for them while enriching Black Americans as the seller. Only when this happens in the Americas, TRAUMA-BONDING race relations based and submerged in TRAUMA will this fever break and only then be broken.
Someone needs to tell Candace and Kanye, White Lives Matter because All lives matter, and all lives matter because BLACK PEOPLE’S LIVES MATTER. It’s nature, it’s genetics, it’s not racial. We only made it political.
So Why does trauma-bonding happen, in the first place?
Trauma-bonding relationships take shape due to the body’s natural stress response. When you become stressed, your body activates your sympathetic nervous system and your limbic system—or the part of the brain that regulates emotions and “motivated behaviors,” like hunger or sexuality. This activation is commonly known as the “fight or flight” stress response. “When that sympathetic activation is in control, the parts of our brain that do things like long-term planning or risk analysis in our prefrontal cortex are shut off,” Dr. Powell says. “They’re not able to be as effective because our brain is focused on just getting us through this trauma.”
This helps to explain why it is so easy to become attached to anything that helps you get through a traumatic event: your brain associates that thing or person with safety. So, when an abusive person decides to comfort you or apologize—even for a trauma they, themselves, put you through—your brain latches on to the positive reinforcement rather than thinking through the long-term effects of staying with the abuser.
Cycles of abuse and manipulation also sometimes result in a chemical bond between the abuser and the victim, says Jimanekia Eborn, a sex educator who specializes in trauma. Hormones bond people in relationships, but in abusive unions, these chemicals aren’t properly regulated. The brain can become so overexposed to some of these hormones—like oxytocin, the cuddle hormone, and dopamine, the “feel-good” hormone associated with cravings and motivation—that it actually becomes chemically dependent on them. As a result, even when someone treats you poorly time after time, your brain won’t want to leave because it felt so wonderful when they were nice to you.
“There is an intense connection due to the fact that there is a strong hormonal connection between the abuser and the victim,” Eborn says. “The feeling is that you need the other person in order to survive.”
These are common trauma-bonding signs
What’s key to understanding a trauma-bonding relationship is that it can’t be healthy because it is not equal. “Oftentimes when folks are trauma bonding, it may look and feel safe for some,” says Eborn. “But there is a lot of inconsistency within the relationship, and it can be extremely dysfunctional. There is always a form of manipulation that is involved.”
It also bears mentioning that while relationships with trauma bonding always feel very intense, relationships that feel intense aren’t all unhealthy and don’t always include trauma bonding. And remember, trauma bonding can present in various forms of abuse: physical, emotional, and psychological. Here are some other signs that a bond might be forming through trauma:
- The relationship is moving at an accelerated pace
- You feel very close even though you haven’t known each other for a very long
- You make huge life changes for a relatively new relationship
- You put time and effort into the romantic relationship at the cost of friendships, family, and other relationships
- You have an extreme fear of leaving the relationship
- You feel like they’re the only one who can fulfill your needs
“Trauma bonding can cause us to question our own reality or to trust someone else’s reality more than our own,” Dr. Powell says. “So, coming out of it often is a process of rediscovering who you are and rediscovering what reality is for you and figuring out how to trust that for yourself.” Having a strong support system—and multiple types of support systems—can help immensely.
The San Diego Monitor-News has been serving Black San Diego since 1986