Trauma Bond

Trauma Bond

An Inquiry into the Nature of Evil

Breaking the Cycle of Violence Starts with You


If the world seems more violent these days, it's not your imagination—there's far too much aggression, coercion and deceit. And powerful institutions such as corporations and governments are getting better at hiding and rationalizing the harm they do. But it doesn't have to be that way: Trauma Bond: An Inquiry into the Nature of Evil shows how breaking free of the cycle of aggression and violence starts with you, and can start today.
When aggression becomes evil, it turns into an extraordinarily dangerous and malignant force that threatens to destroy the planet. This fascinating book demonstrates at length how aggression and evil replicate themselves in the world, and how we can break free from the toxic cycle of psychological and physical violence. We can begin this process today, in order to make this world safer, both for ourselves and for our children.


“Why do we humans cling to those who treat us with cruelty and contempt? Whether evil is banal or diabolical, it has the power to captivate. In his remarkable volume, Trauma Bond: An Inquiry into the Nature of Evil, Lawrence Swaim explains this phenomenon with clarity, wit and wisdom. I recommend the book and commend the author.” ~ Frank Ochberg MD, Post-traumatic Therapy and Victims of Violence, editor (1988, Brunner Mazel)

“…a REALLY splendid book!” ~ Patricia S. Churchland PhD, Author, Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us About Morality

“As a child in a parochial school I was required to memorize Exodus 20:5, in which God promises to visit the “iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generations of them that hate me.” I appreciate coming to an even greater understanding of human failures through reading Lawrence Swaim’s Trauma Bond: An Inquiry into the Nature of Evil. This book explains concretely in strictly human terms what causes aggression to replicate itself, and how aggression—when rationalized, concealed or dissembled—can become evil. (Swaim even explains how evil, in the form of intergenerational trauma, can be communicated from one generation to another.)” ~ Marilyn Glaim, PhD, Tikkun

“Lawrence Swaim presents collective data from films, historical events like the Holocaust and slavery, military observations and basic trainings, news minutiae, political movements (Communist, Fascism, Zionism and Nationalism, etc.), case studies like Stockholm Syndrome and psychological experiments like Milgram’s ‘Obedience Study,’ and brilliant, spot-on literary references like the great Stephen King; he even goes as far as discussing gender and patriarchal worldviews that are usually unmentionables in the mainstream equation…” ~ , San Francisco Book Review

“In this, the second book in a planned trilogy, Swaim (The Death of Judeo-Christianity, 2012) outlines a theory for understanding evil . . . However, the aggression that is the root of all evil behavior doesn’t spring up randomly, Swaim says. Rather, it is learned through a process called trauma bonding, which happens on both an individual level (e.g., the abused child who turns into a violent adult) and a societal level, as with exploited or victimized groups that go on to oppress other groups. Trauma bonds are incredibly strong and involve the victim identifying with aggression, internalizing the aggression and eventually turning into an aggressor himself.” ~ , Kirkus Reviews

Lawrence Swaim
Lawrence Swaim Lawrence Swaim is the Executive Director of the Interfaith Freedom Foundation, a public-interest nonprofit advocating civil rights for relig...
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