Stockholm Syndrome

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Stockholm Syndrome

Stockholm Syndrome, This disorder can be expressed as an emotional attachment of an individual held hostage to a person hostage.

Stockholm syndrome is when the hostages try to help these people because of their understanding of the hostages’ emotions and the time they spend with them, and therefore they want to identify with them.


This syndrome was first described by psychiatrist Bejerot.

It was named after an event that took place in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, in 1973.

The case is the following. It emerged when a woman working in a bank, who was held hostage for 6 days during a bank robbery, became emotionally attached to the person who carried out the robbery.

When She was released, she separated from her fiancé and waited for the person who took her hostage to get out of prison and marry that person.

Another incident related to this syndrome is the following:

Thieves who tried to rob a bank in Stockholm took 4 bank officials hostage for 6 days.

But the thieves treated the bank officials well and the relationship progressed positively.

The hostages, realizing that the police would raid the bank, warned the thieves.


They didn’t even testify against the thieves. They collected money from each other and paid the defense costs.

The incident resulted in a headline saying that thieves couldn’t steal money from the bank, but they stole some people’s hearts.

Once again, a wealthy woman named Patty Hearst was arrested two months after being kidnapped by a group of female terrorists while committing a robbery with the same group.

Development Mechanism

People who have been injured as a result of long-term violence may begin to identify with the abuser and take action to survive.

The fact that the will of the injured person depends on the individual who carried out the attack is not a decision taken voluntarily, but the result of the attempted violence.

This traumatic attachment process has been described as follows:

(Appelt, Kaselitz, Logar 2004) “The first objective of the abuser is to enslave the victim, and he achieves this objective by establishing despotic control over all aspects of the victim’s life.

But simple submission seldom satisfies him; he has a psychological need to justify his crimes, and for that he needs the approval of the victim.

This is why he constantly demands that his victim show respect, gratitude and even love. The perpetrator’s ultimate goal seems to be to create a willing victim ”. (Herman, 1992)

Development Process

It can be said that the main reason for the manifestation of this syndrome is the survival instinct of the individual.

The individual, completely isolated from the external environment, thinks that he is dependent on the individual who exerts violence and pressure to provide for his needs.

The perpetrator of the attack grows meaningless in the eyes of the one he took prisoner with the little favors he gave him.

Indeed, after a certain time, the captive individual puts himself in the place of the perpetrator of the attack and begins to assess the events and to justify his actions.


Due to the complete ignorance of the violent tendency of the person who is persecuted by the captive individual, dangerous situations that have been or will be experienced are also rejected.

The individual who is exposed to violence thinks that his only positive relationship is the experience between himself and the abuser and does not want to sacrifice this relationship.

That’s why it’s getting harder and harder to separate from the perpetrator.

The conditions that predispose to Stockholm syndrome, that is, to identify with the aggressive individual, can be listed as follows:

  • The existence of a mortal danger,
  • The state of being isolated from the outside environment,
  • Not being able to get out of the environment they are in or believing that they cannot escape from the environment they are in,
  • The captive individual sometimes exhibits close and benevolent attitudes.
  • This is usually more common in women. In other words, the woman is very afraid of provoking and angering the aggressor at the time of violence.
  • She even tries to win her love and acts as if she is giving it her due. In wars, pathological loyalty to the other side is seen in prisoners of war.
  • In some cases where the abuser identifies with the hostage, certain feelings are developed by the hostage person. So much so that even a change in personality is observed in the individual.

Certain Groups with Stockholm Syndrome

  • Likewise, in cases of hostage-taking or kidnapping that create pressure,
  • Childhood persons at risk of rape, incest or sexual harassment,
  • In child abuse,
  • To be at war,
  • Be a prisoner of war
  • Having to continue to live in prison camps called concentration camps,
  • In prostitutes sold for money,
  • Being exposed to domestic violence, which is the biggest problem of our age,
  • Belonging to oppressive sects,
  • Exposure to political pressure
  • Being subject to long years of imprisonment,
  • It’s like being under house arrest.

Treatment of Stockholm Syndrome

  • The first method is psychotherapy.
  • It is to create awareness.
  • The person with the bad attitude should be informed about the reason for his actions and the idea he serves.
  • A safe environment should be created.
  • Reminders should be provided. You have to give time to re-establish good contact with life.

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