“I LOVE YOUR TEACHER.” WHAT IS STOCKHOLM SYNDROME?
Stockholm Syndrome is a psychological condition that occurs when a victim of abuse becomes attached, feels sympathy and begins to identify with her abuser. This syndrome was discovered when observing abducted people and hostages, who not only felt a certain connection with their captors, but even fell in love with them. Subsequently, experts expanded the definition of Stockholm syndrome to include any relationship in which victims of abuse develop a strong attachment to the aggressor. People affected by this condition include prisoners of concentration camps, prisoners of war, children who have been abused, survived incest, victims of domestic violence, adherents of sects, people in dangerous jobs, or members of religious cults. Finding out what the Stockholm Syndrome actually is can be easier if you realize that this condition is a real strategy for surviving victims. To protect the psychological and physical health that can be affected in a toxic and controlling relationship, it’s natural to do anything that increases your chances of survival. Stockholm syndrome often occurs in an unhealthy relationship where there is a difference in strength, for example, between a parent and a child or a spiritual leader and a parishioner. SIGNS OF THE STOCKHOLM SYNDROME: Positive attitude towards the perpetrators of violence or captured. Refusal to cooperate with the police and other government bodies to bring those responsible to justice. Absence or very few attempts to free oneself. Belief in the kindness of criminals or kidnappers. Attempts to appease the kidnappers. This is a manipulative strategy of the victim to ensure their own safety. The victim receives a reward from the abuser for “correct” behavior, such as facilitating punishment or delaying death. This is precisely how the victims are encouraged by the manifestations encouraged by the criminal. Learned helplessness. “You can’t win, join us.” Having been defeated in an attempt to avoid ill-treatment or captivity, the victim may give up and admit that it is easier to give up power over his life to his captors. Sympathy for the offenders, the belief that the criminals themselves are victims. Victims can try to “save” their abuser, perceiving it as their mission, calling. Resistance to the healing process from painful attachment, unwillingness to lose touch with your offender. In fact, victims may be more loyal to the offender than to themselves. Any person who has fallen into circumstances contributing to its formation can acquire Stockholm syndrome. Some people who have experienced violence in the past, especially in childhood, are exposed to it faster and easier, however, no one is immune from the manifestation of this condition. A striking example of the Stockholm syndrome is spouses suffering from assault in the family. They are often reluctant to bring charges against their offenders; some are trying to stop the police from being detained. Even after the relationship has ended, victims of domestic violence may claim that they still love their partner, despite the fact that he practiced severe beatings. HOW IT WORKS Stockholm Syndrome arises in the presence of characteristic dynamics and only in certain circumstances in which a person is completely transformed – his thinking, beliefs and behavior change. Circumstances contributing to the development of the syndrome: When victims of violence are convinced that there is a real threat to their physical or psychological survival, and they truly believe that their abusers will fulfill this threat. When victims of abduction are treated humanely or simply left alive, they feel grateful. Victims attribute positive qualities to their captors, considering them to be really good people. Constantly switching the abuser from good to bad attitude and vice versa creates a particularly traumatic relationship. Victims experience periods of abuse for the sake of rare grains of good. Victims are in isolation. When people find themselves in a situation of prolonged violence, such as captivity, access to external sources of information and communication is limited or even absent. Thus, the only source of information is the criminal. WHAT TO DO? If you deeply understand the psychological processes underlying the Stockholm syndrome, the victims can be helped. This condition is the victim’s reaction to brainwashing and is directly related to the victim’s different social behaviors – conformism, a tendency to group thinking, deindividuation, or romantic love. In addition, victims often commit what is called a fundamental attribution error. Try psychological education. The victim of the Stockholm syndrome needs to be provided with as much information as possible about what is happening.