One of the great tragedies of all forms of abuse is that the abused person can become emotionally dependent on the perpetrator through a process called traumatic bonding. (…) This is a bitter psychological irony. Child abuse works in the same way; in fact, children can become more strongly attached to abusive parents than to nonabusive ones. (…) Almost no abuser is mean or frightening all the time. At least occasionally he is loving, gentle, and humorous and perhaps even capable of compassion and empathy. This intermittent, and usually unpredictable, kindness is critical to forming traumatic attachments. When a person has suffered harsh, painful treatment over an extended period of time, they naturally feel a flood of love and gratitude toward anyone who brings relief, like the surge of affection one might feel for the hand that offers a glass of water on a scorching day. But in situations of abuse, the rescuer and the tormentor are the very same person.
— Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?, 2002