Stockholm's syndrome is a psychological condition that happens when a victim of abuse identifies and attaches, or bonds, positively to their villain. This syndrome was first observed when the kidnapped hostages were not only committed to their abductors but also fell in love with them.
Professionals have extended the definition of Stockholm syndrome to include any relationship in which the victims of abuse develop a strong, loyal attachment to the perpetrators of abuse. Some of the populations affected by this situation include prisoners, soldiers, abused children, blood surfers, victims of domestic violence, devotional members, and people in toxic or ecclesiastical environments.
The characteristics of the Stockholm syndrome
It may be easier to understand Stockholm's syndrome as a real survival strategy for the victims. This is because it seems to increase the chances of survival of the victims and it is believed to be a necessary tactic for psychologically and physically defending ourselves from experiencing an abusive, toxic and controlling relationship. Stockholm syndrome is often found in toxic relationships where there is a difference in power, such as between a parent and a child or a spiritual leader and a clergyman. Some signs of Stockholm syndrome include:
- Positive attitude towards abusers or conquerors.
- The inability to cooperate with the police and other government authorities regarding the detention of responsible abusers or abductors.
- Little or no effort to get away.
- Belief in the goodness of perpetrators or abductors.
- Upgrading the prisoners. This is a manipulation strategy for maintaining a person's safety. As victims are rewarded – perhaps with less abuse or even life itself – their soothing behaviors are strengthened.
- Learning weakness. This may be similar to "if you can not beat them, join them". As victims fail to escape abuse or captivity, they may begin to quit and soon realize that it is simply easier for all if they accept all their power to their conquerors.
- Feelings of sadness to the villains, believing they are in fact the victims themselves. Because of this, the victims can proceed to a crusade or mission to "save" their villain.
- Ignorance to learn to be disconnected from the perpetrators and to heal. In fact, victims may tend to be less faithful to themselves than to their villain.
Anyone can be prone to brainwashing with Stockholm syndrome. Yes, there are some people with abusive backgrounds that may be more welcome, such as those with poor childhood. but any person may become a victim if appropriate conditions exist.
Born partner or spouse is a prime example of Stockholm's syndrome. Many times they are reluctant to put pressure on or to initiate a retention order and some have tried to stop the police from capturing their villains even after a violent attack. After the relationship ends, victims of domestic violence can often make statements like "I still love them," even after they hit wild.
Born partner or spouse is a prime example of Stockholm's syndrome. Many times they are reluctant to put pressure on or to initiate a retention order and some have tried to stop the police from capturing their villains even after a violent attack.
How does the Stockholm syndrome work?
Stockholm syndrome occurs when there is some momentum. It is a form of brainwashing that occurs in specific circumstances. Below is a list of ingredients that can help develop the syndrome in individuals:
- The situation can develop when victims of abuse believe there is a threat to their physical or psychological survival and they also believe that the perpetrators will make this threat.
- When the victims of the abduction are treated man-made or just allowed to live, they often feel grateful and attribute positive qualities to their conquerors, believing they are really good people.
- Dashed good / bad behavior can create trauma. Stockholm's syndrome is a form of traumatic ties where the victims "wait for" bad behaviors for the "crumbs" of the good behaviors they are offered.
- Victims are isolated from others. When people are in abusive systems, such as an abduction state, access to external input and communication is limited or even non-existent. In this way only the perpetrators of the perpetrators are allowed. It's like "uber propaganda".
How to Help People Who Can Have Stockholm Symptoms
Understanding the underlying psychology surrounding Stockholm's syndrome can help you learn how to help someone who has it. Stockholm's syndrome is the victim's response to brainwashing and involves many social dynamics. Some of these social dynamics include compliance, team thinking, posting, romantic love and the basic performance error, among others.
- Try psycho education. Psycho-education includes the teaching of the victims of the Stockholm syndrome. Remember the saying: "Knowledge is power"? Knowing what you are dealing with is the best offense to win the battle for the freedom of your loved one.
- Avoid polarization. Do not try to convince the victim of the offending characteristics of the perpetrator. this may cause the victim to polarize and defend the perpetrator.
- Use the Socratic method. Ask the victim questions about how they see the situation, how they feel and think and what they think should happen next.
- Listen without judgment. As the victim analyzes everything that has happened and processes his experience with the perpetrator, he hears and uses reflection to show concern and validation.
- Do not advise. Victims of abuse must have the power to make their own decisions. If you come together and tell them what to do because "you obviously know better" then you do not help the victim to build the muscle of personal power. Remember that the path to healing from abuse is often to empower the victim to make his or her own decisions, to know it and to acquire it.
- Treat the cognitive mismatch. The existence of a manipulation relationship may cause cognitive mismatches. This means that the victim's intuition has been destroyed and can be confused about reality. Help them by validating their truth and encouraging them to trust themselves
- Identify the "hook"."The victims of the Stockholm syndrome can become devoted to a cause or an unsuspecting desire. They can be over-recognized with the offender in a dysfunctional way to fulfill a personal need. This is the "hook". Help the victim to determine what the underlying need is fulfilled by the abusive relationship. Once the victim realizes why they are so committed to the relationship, they can begin to make positive changes.
Examples of hooks include a variety of feelings, such as beliefs. They can be found in statements like "I'll be there no matter what" or "You and I are against the world". These needs tend to be unconscious and may have developed at an earlier stage in a person's life.
Being aware of the psychological conditions of Stockholm's syndrome can help you understand how to better help someone with the illness. Treatment has not been investigated. While there is much debate about the legal consequences of the disorder, very little has been written about how to help an infected person. The bottom line, regardless of the intervention you are using to help someone who has this condition, is to remember to always offer sympathy and coercion ever.
If you think that you or a loved one are experiencing Stockholm's syndrome, a therapist can help you or work with some of the steps to heal more. Start your search for the therapist that suits you best today.
- Alexander, D.A. & Klein, S. (2009, January 1). Abduction and hostage: A review of the results, the treatment and the resilience. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 1(102), 16-21. doi: 10.1258 / jrsm.2008.080347
- Carver, J. M. (2014, December 20). Stockholm's Love and Syndrome: The Mystery of a Thief's Love, page 1. Retrieved from https://counsellingresource.com/therapy/self-help/stockholm
- Dittman, M. (2002). Hate hatreds. American Psychological Society, 10(33), 30. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/nov02/cults.aspx
- Gray, MD (2017, January 16). How to Cure Stockholm Syndrome Retrieved from https://health.onehowto.com/article/how-to-treat-stockholm-syndrome-7546.html
- Kerkar, P. (2017, August 28). What is Stockholm's syndrome and how is it treated? Retrieved from https://www.epainassist.com/mental-health/stockholm-syndrome
- Social Psychology. (2010). Retrieved from https://www1.psych.purdue.edu/~willia55/120/LectureSocialF10.pdf
© Copyright 2018 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Publishing permission is granted by Sharie Stines, PsyD, a therapist at La Mirada, California
The previous article was written only by the author defined above. Any views and opinions are not necessarily expressed by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the previous article may be directed to the author or published as a comment below.
Fill in all required fields to submit your message.
Confirm that you are a human.