Life · Love · Psychology

The Stockholm Syndrome

“You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot–it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.”
– Maya Angelou-

We all know about the Stockholm syndrome, right? Or maybe I am being too presumptuous? Anywho, the Stockholm syndrome is where the kidnapped person after some time begins to develop feelings of empathy and sympathy towards the kidnapper. Downright crazy, right? Maybe not. The human psyche is nothing short of amazing. The things human beings do! *rolls eyes*

So anyway, this phenomenon came to mind the other day when I was talking to a friend of mine. I have been recently going through a break up from a long term relationship and I was going crazy trying to come to terms with it. So we analysed the relationship and looking at the negatives, she suggested that every time I found myself crying over him, I should think -Stockholm Syndrome! I found this hilarious. At the same time I thought about how many times we are wronged, yet we keep sympathizing and empathising with our so called captor. I say captor because, aren’t you a captive? A captive of your own feelings? Your soul is sold. No matter what this person does to you, you still make excuses for them.

A long time ago, I was married to an abusive man. Physical,verbal and emotional abuse. I have never spoken out about it in depth for the trauma and horror of it all. It changes people’s perception of you as they know you. I digress…story for another day. The point is, I made excuses for this man for a long time. he made me believe I was nothing. It was always MY fault.  I stayed, why? Stockholm Syndrome. I would sympathise and believe that I actually made him mad. I made him hit me. I was young.  I didn’t realise that he was wholly in charge of his actions, until the day I realised I was a captive. I had developed the Stockholm Syndrome and it was about time I took charge of my life. The problem was, I had so long been used to being treated this way that I took it to my next relationships. I was a sum total of all I had ever experienced.

In this recent case, I allowed myself to be manipulated emotionally. I was making excuses for being treated badly..oh maybe he is going through issues, oh maybe..maybe…maybe… There will always be a reason why people do things, but it should be none of my concern to a point.  I have no business allowing someone to treat me like a second option. I am work in progress. We are always evolving, learning to become better versions of ourselves.

“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.”

So whenever you start identifying with your ‘captor’ and making excuses for lousy behaviour, STOP! Think Stockholm Syndrome and Run! Identifying only means you keep getting the short end of the stick. It is not easy to break habits that are set. You need to realise you are worthy. You deserve better.

“The past has no power over the present moment.”
– Eckhart Tolle