“Intermittent reinforcement. One of the most powerful ways narcissistic individuals create trauma bonds is through intermittent reinforcement. This is when they subject you to hot-and-cold behavior to get you fixated on them and seeking their validation. They will intermittently incorporate periods of affection and attention into the abuse cycle. They may love bomb you with excessive contact, attention, and affection, only to abruptly withdraw or mistreat you, treating you with cruelty and contempt.
This intermittent reinforcement creates a powerful biochemical and psychological addiction to the cycle of abuse, as you work even harder to get the next “fix” or “reward.”
Research by Dr. Helen Fisher shows that people in love, particularly those in adverse-ridden relationships, show activation in the same areas of the brain’s reward system as in people addicted to cocaine and other drugs. When a narcissistic or psychopathic person subjects their victims to a “mean and sweet” cycle of abuse, it can feel akin to a drug addiction.” – Shahida Arabi, MA – Thought Catalog