What is Stockholm Syndrome Anyway?

Stockholm Syndrome. A baffling thing it is. As this was what had led me to write “Keeping Her in the Light”, I owe a lot to such a concept. This syndrome can clearly be seen in kidnapping situations, when the captive develops a certain sympathy towards his/her captor. This can also be seen in abusive relationships, when the one being abused won’t leave the abuser. Strangely, Stockholm Syndrome acts as a defense mechanism. The captive thinks that if she forms a relationship with her captor, he won’t hurt her. This article I encountered a year ago explained Stockholm Syndrome quite clearly.

I learned two things today that I think might be able to explain how such a syndrome begins. Some criminals (serial killers, kidnappers, rapists, molesters) threaten their victims by threatening to kill their loved ones. It’s amazing how that shuts them up in an instant. It’s amazing how people are willing to sacrifice themselves for others. Victims, on the other hand, tend to have a “fight or flight” reaction. But both reactions reside in the mind. They take place in the mind. One victim may THINK of stabbing, killing, hitting, or hurting the criminal, while another may think of something else, like the victim isn’t IN the scenario (withdrawal). In my opinion, both reactions are flight reactions, because you retreat from what the criminal is doing to you as you lose contact with your physical self to get in touch with your mental one. You retreat…you flee (flight) inside your head, even if you’re thinking of FIGHTING back. Also, it’s when you’re in a state of turmoil, emergency, or danger that you sort of long for human contact, gentleness, or kindness in such a way that even the littlest of things seem big. So if your captor gives you a glass of water, you wrongly label him as kind, almost forgetting all he has done to you. You long and crave for such kindness that you misinterpret the little things as such. That’s possibly how Stockholm Syndrome develops. You long, you hope, you crave, you give in.

Okay, maybe that’s more than two lessons…


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