Stockholm syndrome

Traumatic Bonding is the same as Stockholm Syndrome named after hostages who spent 4:days being help hostage in Stockholm Sweden. The hostages actually defended their captors, one of them going as far as raising funds for their defense.

It is quite common and why women go back to their abuser.

This syndrome has been found in:

-abused children
-battered and abused women
-prisoners of war
-cult members
-incest victims
-concentration camp prisoners

Symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome consists of some or all the following symptoms:

– Positive feelings by the victim towards the abuser.
– Negative feelings by the victim toward family, friends, or authority figures trying to rescue them
– Support of the abusers reasons and behaviours
-Positive feelings by the abuser toward the victim
– Supportive behaviours by the victim towards the abuser
– Inability to engage in activities that may assist in the victim getting away from their abuser.

Not everyone in an abusive relationship ends up with Stockholm Syndrome. Many factors are involved, it has been found that

Four conditions have to be present for a person to develop SS (stockholm syndrome):

1. A perceived threat to the victim’s physical or psychological survival
2. Perceived small acts of kindness from the abuser towards to victim.
3. Isolation from people who would have perspectives contrary to the abuser’s.
4. An inability (real or imagined) to leave the situation.

Perceived threat to the victim’s life or mental state is something I think we can all relate to. Through gas lighting, verbal attacks, fits of rage, insinuated threats; ie: the last woman was sorry she crossed me; I have contacts that could make you disappear, cleaning a gun, sharpening a knife etc. Physical abuse, such as choking, throwing the victim around, physically restraining the victim, punching, even witnessing a violent temper directed at the TV, or road rage can make the victim feel unsafe.

Perceived Kindnesses
In situations of danger and when we feel threatened we look for any sign of hope that things will improve. When the abuser performs some small act of kindness, even something that benefits him (I was so grateful when JC brought Kato along when he came to pick me up, or cooked supper, when he bought a car and said it was for me, even though it wasn’t mine at all) the victim interprets it as a positive trait of the captor.
Allowing the person to eat or drink, use the bathroom can be enough.
A birthday card or a gift after a period of abuse gives the victim hope the abuser will change and reinforces for the victim that the abuser is “not all bad”.
Often times the abuser is given positive credit for not being abusive in a situation that would normally put him into a rage. (JC used to do this often, not react to something that would make anyone angry yet go into a fit about something relatively insignificant.)
Along this vein is sympathy for the abuser because he showed a weakness or talked about childhood abuse, or admit they have a mental disorder. The victim feels bad for the abuser and wants to help him heal and believes change will occur. Psychopaths and other criminals have learned that they can shirk responsibility for their actions by blaming their childhood upbringing, alcohol, drugs, videos, whetever and gaining sympathy from the victim.
Any apology contains blaming something or someone else. Either an abusive upbringing, alcohol, or you and something you did. I have even heard that they did it because they love the other person so much it drives them crazy. (so they beat you?)
Once you become hardened to their sob stories they will change their approach.

When they use your behaviour as justification for abusing you ask yourself, “If they are so justified, then why do they hide the abuse and expect you to hide it? If they are justified then others would understand.” Oh! Why didn’t you tell me she questioned you on why you didn’t come home all night!? That explains everything!! Hey! I’ll even hold her so you can really beat her.
JC told me the first time he strangled me that any normal guy would have done it alot sooner. He always used to say I would drive any man to beat me. I have been with many men, married 3 times and never been hit by a man yet he had hit every woman he had been with. Hmmmmm
He used to say I needed help, I had warped views and I told him to go get another person, any one he chooses, a drunk off the street, his best buddy and bring him here, tell him the truth about our relationship and if he agrees with you that hitting me was your only option and I am fucked in the head I will get help. But I am not taking your word for it.

It never happened.

Or if they were so angry or drunk they couldn’t control themselves. I bet you dollars to donuts that if someone walked in the room while they are beating you, they would stop. So they DO have control they just choose not to use it. If they have enough control to stop in front of witnesses they have enough control to not start in the first place.

Isolation From Others

In an abusive relationship the victim feels they are walking on eggshells. They begin to anticipate what might anger the abuser and try to keep the abuser happy by eliminating or fixing issues before the n flies into a rage.
The victim becomes preoccupied with the desires, needs and habits of the abuser.

Taking the abusers perspective can become so all consuming that the victim may develop anger towards the people trying to help them.
Eventually the victim actually believes the abuse is their fault. In some cases they will even stay after the children are removed from the home because they are seen as the problem and at first the tension in the is lessened and they feel relief. But then a new problem will surface; there is no making the abuser happy. The victim can not dance fast enough for the abuser or jump high enough. The rules change almost daily, just when the victim thinks they have the abuser figured out and they can avoid the situations that anger the abuser the abuser will come up with a new problem.

Perceived Inability to Escape

This is where people don’t understand why the victim doesn’t “just leave”.
Many times the victim feels they can not leave due to lack of funds, mutual intimate knowledge, or legal situations.
Common situations:
The abuser increases financial debt to the point that neither partner can survive on their own.

In JC and my case; he would sabotage any efforts I made to earn money by sabotaging my vehicle. Yes without a vehicle he basically held me prisoner in the home but he also prevented me from making enough money to leave. He went so far as to make sure we were homeless and then I was totally reliant on him. He knew it was my greatest fear and the last time he said it was over but he was a nice guy and didn’t want to see me on the streets so I could stay, he wasn’t counting on me having any help and actually leaving or me being willing to be homeless just to get away.

The controller uses extreme threats to keep the victim in line. He may threaten to take the children (my father always threatened to take us kids and turn us against my mom), he may threaten to harm family members or the victim if she leaves.

They may keep the victim prisoner by making them feel guilty by threatening to kill themselves if the victim leaves.

The victim has experienced a loss if self esteem and self confidence or feels too drained emotionally to handle leaving.

Often times the victim has given up control of the finances in order to appease the abuser. The abuser has total control of the finances and has the vehicles registered in their name etc

Younger people might be looking for a parent figure and feel they need the abuser.

Law enforcement cringes every time they are called out for a domestic desturbance because often time they arrive to find the abuser calm and composed and the victim crying because they don’t want the abuser arrested.
The victim knows they will be punished by the abuser if:
They press charges
They make a statement about the incident (JC actually changed my statement and forged my signature)
They don’t bail them out quick enough
They don’t apologize for driving the abuser to hit them.

There is a very unhealthy bond between the abuser and the victim which causes the victim to defend, return to, and continue to believe the abuser has a “good side”.


2 thoughts on “Stockholm syndrome


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  2. Pingback: Links to Old Posts About No Contact | Ladywithatruck's Blog

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