While many relationship advisers may support certain qualities from a partner in order for the relationship to be termed as healthy, behaviors of threat and abuse is depicted and observed in some relationships. This has been some of the core reasons for conduction of studies and research on why some partners keep ‘entertaining’ incidences of abuse yet in most cases their lives is always at stake. The ‘victim’ in this case tends to defend their offenders and protect them from the authorities responsible for dealing with them according to the law. Stockholm syndrome is the name given to such relationships dubbed after an incidence that occurred in the early 70s. As illustrated by Margi Laird McCue (2008), in the book ‘Domestic Violence: A Reference Handbook,’ four hostages who included three women and one man, protected their captors from being arrested by the authorities and hence prevented the policemen from saving them from the menacing situation. These came as a surprise to the rest of the world since society has developed a perspective of punishing anyone who subjects any individual to pain and a threatening state of their lives. Ironically, the hostage victims developed friendship with their captors and created enmity with the policemen who came to ‘rescue’ them. Furthermore, one of the female hostages later got engaged for marriage to their captors. Apparently in relation to most of the renowned psychologists, the victims of Stockholm syndrome empathizes with their offenders and are in most cases enticed by the little kindness they are often shown after being subjected to pain that may include both or either physical and psychological pain.
Basically, the victims of the syndrome end up loving, supporting, and defending their abusers since in many cases, the offenders are people who have a given authority over the victims. Hence they are able to manipulate, intimidate and control their victims who are always loyal and heed to their offenders’ instructions and needs. In this case, a bigger percentage of the Stockholm syndrome is observed in families, interpersonal and romantic relationships (Lohnes, 2016) .
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Genesis of Stockholm syndrome
In relation to the bank robbery in Stockholm, the hostages stated that their captors were concerned about their well-being and in most instances showed gestures of kindness to them. This, in turn, depicted a sense of humane in the captors which resulted to the hostages demanding to be released together with their captors. For instance, while in captivity, they were tied with ropes on their hands and feet, and at one time, one of the female hostages complained of discomfort and was untied and allowed to walk around. This gesture came as a surprise to the captive since despite being held hostage she felt free to move around. Generally, the victim of Stockholm syndrome become emotionally attached to their offenders a bond that is termed as ‘traumatic bonding’ or ‘terror bonding.’ This relationship is depicted to be a survival technique where the victim is always on the verge of trying so hard to please their abusive partner. Therefore, the relationship is based on the fact that the victim takes in and tolerates any kind and measure of abuse from their partner and defends them from people who may think they (the offenders) are nothing but psychopaths. Furthermore, the offenders are always controlling and intimidate their victims which contribute to the act of being defended by their victims who in most cases fear being hurt yet ironically are never ready to let go the relationship. In addition as stated by de Fabrique et al (2007), the victims tend to submerge their feeling of outrage towards their perpetrators after being shown kindness which in most cases is a tactic to prevent further harm.
Symptoms of Stockholm syndrome
Psychologists affirm that the state at which victims of abusive relationships defend their offenders has been in existent for a long time way before it was highlighted during the Stockholm bank robbery. In most cases, this psychological issue is identified in abused children, members of a given cult, battered wives or abused women, victims of incest, prisoners of war, criminal hostages among others who silently deny their plight and reject any form of assistance from friends and family.
In reference to Graham et al (1995), victims of this psychological phenomenon depict similar characteristics. This may include low self-esteem, lack of self-love, fear for being left or neglected by their abusive partner whom they feel they cannot do without in their lives, and dependence on the love and approval of their partners. Consequently, it leads to the outward maintenance and grooming of the victims who always feel they will attract their partners and probably change their abusive nature and habits. Contrary to their thoughts, the abusers are never in a position to be pleased and hence keep repeating hurting their victims with series of apologies and gestures of kindness that is repeated over and over.
Treatment for Stockholm syndrome
As viewed earlier, Stockholm syndrome is a psychological condition whose treatment requires therapy and extensive Counseling of the victims since they develop a notion that their offenders are doing nothing wrong but instead blame themselves for being at ‘wrong’ which is the reason for them to be hurt by their offenders. Depending on the depth of the syndrome in different individuals, the period of the therapy may vary from one individual to another. This condition is harmful to the victim and the people around them since their abusers may end up killing them.
Stockholm syndrome is a psychological condition that has not been understood by many especially family members and friends of the victims. While the abusers have a goal of being controlling over their victims, their victims in return are always submissive in order to hinder being hurt more and is a survival strategy. The abusers tend to intimidate their victims and at the same time show them kindness and love which contributes to the victims focusing on the good side of their offenders and defending them from the authorities.
de Fabrique, N., Romano, S. J., Vecchi, G. M., & Van Hasselt, V.,B. (2007). Understanding stockholm syndrome. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 76 (7), 10-15. Retrieved from https://login.proxy078.nclive.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/204187586?accountid=11099
Graham, D. L. R., Rawlings, E. I., Ihms, K., Latimer, D., Foliano, J., Thompson, A., . . . Hacker, R. (1995). A scale for identifying "stockholm syndrome" reactions in young dating women: Factor structure, reliability, and validity. Violence and Victims, 10 (1), 3-22. Retrieved from https://login.proxy078.nclive.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/208554145?accountid=11099
Lohnes, K. K. (2016). Stockholm Syndrome 17. Lulu.com.
McCue, M. L. (2008). Domestic Violence: A Reference Handbook. ABC-CLIO.