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


11 thoughts on “The Stockholm Syndrome

  1. I’m really sorry about what you went through… I can’t imagine that a broken marriage is a simple thing to deal with… Nor is a broken relationship for that matter.

    But thank God you can see yourself in truth and be bold enough to accept when you’re a victim and when you need to run with your life.

    Interesting read.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am really proud of you, and the strides you’re making towards wholeness. Shall I add that, as cliche as it sounds, everything happens for a reason? The reasons aren’t immediately easy to identify, but as we go, it starts getting clearer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You got this! How do I know this? You are able to step back and look at it from a vantage position and to look at the whole situation objectively. That’s the most difficult thing to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My therapist actually told me that’s I have Stockholm Syndrome for a reason very similar to yours (in this case my dad). So yes the mental gymnastics one goes through in an abusive relationships is one in the same with Stockholm Syndrome.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Stockholm syndrome.Interesting concept.I recall reading about it in some thriller novel but has never come across its application in a relationship.

    Thanks Carol for this illuminating piece.And keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

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