Stockholm syndrome is commonly linked to high-profile kidnappings and hostage scenarios.
Aside from famous crime cases, general people may also develop this emotional illness (psychological condition) in response to various kinds of trauma.
In this article, we will take a look at what exactly the Stockholm syndrome is, how it got its name, the types of situations that may lead to someone getting or developing this syndrome, and what we can do to take care of it.
What is Stockholm-syndrome?
Stockholm syndrome is a psychological reaction. It occurs if hostages or abuse victims bond with their captors or abusers.
This emotional connection develops over the course of the days, weeks, months, or even years of captivity or misuse or abuse.
With this syndrome, hostages or abuse victims may come to plead with their captives.
This is the reverse of the fear, terror, and disdain which may be expected from the victims in such situations.
Over the course of time, some victims do come to develop positive feelings toward their captors.
They may even start to feel as though they share common objectives and causes.
The victim may begin to create negative feelings toward the police or government.
They may resent anyone who may be trying to help them escape from the dangerous situation they are in.
This paradox doesn’t occur with each hostage or sufferer, and it is unclear why it happens as it does.
Lots of psychologists and healthcare professionals consider Stockholm syndrome a working mechanism, or a means to assist victims to handle the trauma of a frightening situation.
Really, the history of the syndrome may help clarify why this is.
What is the history of Stockholm syndrome?
Episodes of what’s called Stockholm syndrome have likely occurred for decades, even centuries.
But it wasn’t until 1973 that this response to entrapment or abuse came to be named.
That’s when two men held four people, hostage, for 6 weeks after a bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden.
After the hostages were released, they refused to testify against their captors and even began raising money for their defense.
Then, psychologists and mental health experts assigned the term “Stockholm syndrome” to the condition that occurs when hostages create a psychological or emotional connection to those who held them.
What are the symptoms of Stockholm syndrome?
Stockholm syndrome is recognized by 3 different symptoms or “events”
Symptoms of Stockholm syndrome:
- The sufferer develops positive feelings regarding the person holding them captive or abusing them.
- The sufferer develops negative emotions toward police, authority figures, or anybody who may be attempting to help them get away from their captor. They might even refuse to cooperate against their captor.
- The victim starts to comprehend their captor’s humanity and believes they have the very same goals and values.
These feelings normally occur because of the emotional and highly charged situation that happens during a hostage situation or misuse cycle.
If the kidnapper or abuser shows them any kindness, they may begin to feel positive feelings toward their captor for this “compassion.”
Over time, that perception begins to reshape and skew how they see the person keeping them hostage or abusing them.
Examples of Stockholm-syndrome:
Several renowned kidnappings have led to high-profile episodes of Stockholm syndrome for example those listed below.
Patty Hearst. Perhaps most famously, the granddaughter of businessman and newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst was kidnapped in 1974 from the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA).
During her captivity, she renounced her loved ones, embraced a new name, and also joined the SLA in robbing banks.
Afterward, Hearst was arrested, and she utilized Stockholm syndrome as a shield in her trial. That defense did not work, and she was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Natascha Kampusch. In 1998, subsequently, 10-year-old Natascha was kidnapped and kept underground in a dark, insulated room. Her kidnapper, Wolfgang Přiklopil, held her captive for more than 8 years.
Throughout that time, he showed her kindness, but he also beat her and threatened to kill her.
Natascha was able to escape, and Přiklopil committed suicide. News accounts at the time report Natascha “cried inconsolably.”
Mary McElroy. In 1933, four men held 25-year-old Mary at gunpoint, chained her to walls in an abandoned farmhouse, and demanded ransom from her loved ones.
When she was released, she struggled to mention her captors in their subsequent trial. She also publicly expressed sympathy for them.
Stockholm-syndrome in today’s society:
While Stockholm syndrome is often associated with a hostage or kidnapping scenario, it may actually use in other conditions and relationships.
Stockholm syndrome may also appear in such scenarios:
Abusive relationships: Research has shown that abused individuals may develop emotional attachments to their own husbands.
Sexual, physical, and psychological abuse, in addition to incest, can last for several years.
During this time, a person could develop positive feelings or sympathy for the individual abusing them.
Child abuse: Victims may try to avoid bothering their sanity by being compliant. Abusers may also show kindness that may be viewed as a real feeling.
This may further confuse the child and lead to them not understanding the adverse nature of the connection.
Gender trafficking trade: Individuals that are trafficked often rely upon their abusers for essentials, such as food and water.
When the abusers provide that, the sufferer may start to create favorable feelings toward their abuser.
They may also resist cooperating with authorities for fear of retaliation or believing they need to protect their abusers to protect themselves.
Sports coaching: Being engaged in sports is an excellent way for people to build relationships and skills.
Unfortunately, a few of those relationships can eventually be negative. Harsh training techniques can even become abusive.
The athlete can inform themselves their coach’s behavior is for their good, and this, in accordance with a 2018 study, can ultimately become a form of Stockholm syndrome.
Treatment of Stockholm syndrome:
If you think that you or someone you know has developed Stockholm-syndrome, you can find help.
In the brief term, counseling or psychological treatment for post-traumatic anxiety disorder can help alleviate the immediate issues associated with recoveries, such as anxiety and depression.
Long-term psychotherapy can likewise help you or a loved one with healing.
Psychologists and psychotherapists will teach you healthy working mechanisms and response tools that will help you comprehend what happened, why it occurred, and how you’re able to proceed.
Reassigning positive feelings can help you understand what happened wasn’t your fault.
Stockholm syndrome is a working strategy.
Stress or anxiety could be common in these scenarios, but some people start to create positive feelings toward their captor or abuser.
They might not want to utilize or contact the police. They may even be hesitant to turn on their husbands or kidnapper.
Stockholm syndrome isn’t a formal mental health diagnosis. Good treatment can go a very long way to helping recovery.
Ask your friends and loved ones for support.
If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, consider joining a support group or seeking counseling. Believe in your ability to take control of the pain…
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