Stockholm Syndrome

Stockholm Syndrome


If you or a loved one is currently in an abusive relationship you might familiarize with some of the characteristics associated with Stockholm syndrome. This describes how a relationship can form between a victim and their abuser. Although it is a complex psychological response, it's most dangerous as a hostage can become sympathetic toward a kidnapper or predator and allow abusive activity to continue.

Diagnosing Stockholm syndrome can cause an emotional paralysis within the victim. The bonding that occurs between the abuser and the captive may start out as a survival mechanism. This condition, also known as Survival Identification Syndrome, is believed to occur when the victim begins to sympathize with the captor. Out of fear the emotions that they feel can grow into attachments. The beliefs can occur when there are life-death scenarios and extensive periods of time spent with the kidnapper. It can even cause symptoms to develop in the captive when they are not being verbally or physically abused.

How Stockholm Syndrome Can Harm Us

It is a developed condition that can arise in more than one scenario. It's often found in children who have been abused, battered women, cult members, victims of incest and those involved in controlling relationships. Although this is recognized as a strategy for survival for victims it can cause them to form an emotional bond with the abuser and allow the dangerous activity to continue. If there is an attempt to rescue the hostage, they may not be cooperative or fail to press charges against someone although a violent assault has occurred. It's important to understand what Stockholm syndrome does to the victim when they remain in the relationship. In an attempt to survive they might defend or even love the controller. It's dangerous as they can feel positive emotions toward them, support their reasons and avoid doing anything that might detach them from being controlled. In order for the person to release or eliminate this thought process it requires extensive help and therapy.

How Stockholm Syndrome Affects Other Relationships

It can be most difficult for people on the outside to reverse the beliefs of someone who does have the opportunity to escape from the relationship. The controlling nature of a partner or family member can eliminate any relationship that the victim has outside of the abusive one. The controller might have increased obligations so that the other partner would not be able to survive on their own. If there is anyone willing to help in this situation it can be most difficult to interfere when the victim is unaware of the dangerous bondage. They might remain in the relationship because of a severe guilt that the controller emits. When children are present it can have a traumatic effect on their ability to develop and understand the nature of the environment. At times the controller might even threaten children and people close to the victim, which makes it more difficult to leave and get professional help. In this relationship the victim has likely lost their self-esteem, confidence and they may feel disassociated from their body in an attempt to survive. Because of this loss they might cut out external relationships, avoid listening to other people and resist getting help from outside sources.

How Therapy Can Help

Stockholm syndrome is a psychological condition that requires extensive therapy. When a victim is showing admiration toward their abuser or refuses to escape the relationship due to the emotional bond that they have formed with them, it is essential to help this person. The amount of time that it takes to become aware of the danger and violence will vary with each person. Often times they have been exposed to abuse in a mental, emotional and physical manner. Due to this pain it might be years before the patient understands what cure counseling is providing for them. It is common that victims become conditioned due to the intensity of the emotions. They might feel important or profound because of this intensity. It can make them feel emotional and become connected to someone who is initiating the hurtful expression. The product of these emotions can create a dangerous connection, causing them to 'love the chains that bind them.' If you are a family member your loved one has probably been given a choice in this relationship although they may have been brainwashed into believing that there will be adverse consequences if they choose their family over the controller. Getting professional help for them is essential to their health as they are unaware of the dangerous cycle they are permitting. This is a condition that has essentially developed from the person's stress and fear. Whether or not they have already left this relationship it is necessary that they receive immediate help, guidance and a lot of loving support from families and friends.

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