Date of Conferral







Sandra Caramela-Miller


Researchers indicate women succumb to relational abuse as seen with maladaptive attachment, identity enmeshment, and implicit maltreatment. Implicit violence and nonviolence, bonding victims to victimizers remains unstudied, although the domestic abuse phenomenon continues. Intimate partner abuse was examined through qualitative inquiry. There is much to learn about female victim perspectives describing attachment bonds, identity conflicts, and implicit maltreatment experiences. Traumatic bonding theory served as the lens through which female participant responses were examined in this study. Research questions were developed to focus on female attachment bond perceptions, views concerning self-esteem, self-identity, or self-reference, and implicit aggression, coercive control, or manipulation experiences. The foundation for the qualitative research design was phenomenological constructivism. The Psychological Maltreatment of Women Inventory served as the standardized assessment instrument for data collection. Participant responses from the questionnaire and semistructured interview questions were organized through analytic coding, resulting in meaningful, composite categories for thematic conclusions. Data from 10 female participants who previously experienced intimate abuse were collected and analyzed. Thematic coding resulted in survivor experiences categorized by caustic, deceptive, emotional, implicit, and oppressive traumatization. Themes involved psychological entanglement with the abuser due to humiliation, or physical entrapment by the abuser due to opposition. Victim perspective and experience can potentially improve how the law, law enforcement, or health care professionals, view, treat, and protect abuse victims.