Understanding Today's Narcissist
Understanding Today's Narcissist

Episode 33 · 4 years ago

Stockholm Syndrome

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

What is Stockholm Syndrome? Usually the term is reserved for hostage situations referencing a bank robbery that occurred in 1973 in Stockholm Sweden. After spending 6 days in a bank vault, the four hostages refused to testify against their captors and instead raised money for their defense. The term refers to the trauma bond developed between the captor and the hostages in which the hostages feel positive feelings such as empathy for the person that is causing them harm. This allows the captor to not feel remorse for their actions as the hostages don’t hold them responsible.

What are some other examples? One of the most famous cases of Stockholm Syndrome is the kidnapping of Patty Hearst in 1974 who denounced her family name and sided with her kidnappers in assisting them to rob banks. She was given a prison sentence that was later pardoned by President Bill Clinton.  Another example is Jaycee Dugard who was kidnapped at age 11 in 1991 and held hostage for 18 years bearing 2 children by her abuser. In her book, she explains the syndrome and how she formed a bond with both of her captors over the years.

Are there fewer extreme examples? Absolutely. A person currently living in an abusive situation often has this condition. This is the reason why many people don’t leave their abuser but instead, continue to hold onto the relationship. In the case of Bailey, she wanted to believe that her father was telling the truth so much that she accepted his assessment of her mental well-being as being crazy when she was not. Her desire to have a relationship with her father meant that she was ignorant of the different types of abuse, justified his abuse in therapy as the result of his childhood abuse and minimized any impact. The result was she honestly believed that she was the problem and not him.

How do you recover? The recovery process requires identification and awareness. This is one of the few times when googling a disorder is helpful. Hearing and seeing examples of other victims brings awareness at another level. It is often easier to see the problem in someone else’s story before identifying it in yours. Once an understanding has been established, rewriting the abuse needs to occur. This is time-consuming and should be done under the guidance of a therapist. A person with Stockholm Syndrome already has a hard time perceiving things correctly and needs professional assistance until a new, more accurate perception is developed.

How do you help someone with this? It is essential to develop a bond of trust that is based on empathy and not judgment. Those looking at the scenario from the outside in are often highly judgmental and critical of the victim’s behavior. The victim is already overloaded with feelings of inadequacy, shame, and guilt that are disproportionately attributed to their actions and not the abusers. To overcome this, they need unconditional love and acceptance and a ton of patience.

After addressing the Stockholm syndrome, Bailey finally began to do better. She no longer allowed her father’s abuse to impact her. Moving out of the house helped and in a short period she was thriving. Without getting the proper help, she might have never been able to achieve this. Be sure that if you or anyone else is experiencing this syndrome or something like it they seek out professional assistance.

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...to grow with Christine calm, forward slash narcissism. That's grow with Christine Dot Com. Forward Slash Narcissism. This master class will change your life again. That's grow with Christine Dot com forward slash narcissism. This is understanding today's narcissist, brought to you in part by Psych Centralcom and now here's your host, Christine Hammond. Today I would like to do something a little bit different than maybe what we've done before. In the past we've talked mostly about narcissism and this time I want to focus on the people who were in relationships with those...

...who are narcissistic, and there's something that I've come across and working with this population that I really would like to address today and bring some clarity to the issue. It's called Stockholm Syndrome and you may have heard the title before, you may be familiar with it, but I want to go into an example that happened in session with me and then also discuss the particular aspects of what it is and how it applies in a narcissistic relationship. So let's start off from the beginning. I'm going to talk to you about my client, Bailey. She convinced herself when she came in to see me, that she was great, that she was crazy. She was in her early s, she still lived at home with her with her brother and her mother and her father. She failed her first semester of college. She had regular panic attacks, she associated herself with unhealthy people and she was barely holding on to her waitressing...

...job. She kept losing jobs and then having to start over again. Her father also repeatedly told her that she was the cause of all of the drama in the House. This was a regular a regular script. So he blamed her irresponsible behavior and he kept saying things like you have a mental illness. So she came into therapy as insecure, scared, hesitant and very withdrawn. After several sessions, of different side of her started to emerge. The more she felt and felt believed and accepted by me, the better. She started to communicate not only with me but with her family as well. She started to act more confidently at work. She actually opened up the possibility for a promotion there. She removed the unhealthy friendships that she had engaged with, and New People that she started to develop friendships with were now encouraging her to do...

...more with her life. So, instead of shutting down at home, she started speaking her mind in standing up for herself. Well, however, just as our home life seemed to be improving. That's when things started to escalate. Of course, her dad picked up a fight. Dad picked a fight with her in verbally belittled her, threatening to throw her out of the House if she didn't do exactly as he requested. Mind you, she's in her s. He even cited her past suicide attempt from three years ago as evidence that she was the crazy person in the family. He just threw it back at her face and said you're crazy because you made a suicide attempt. It was terrible thing to say the the old person, the Old Bailey from several sessions ago, started to reappear in therapy as if absolutely no progress had been made at all. His abusive treatment was at this time was insignificant compared to...

...previous abuse that she had actually experienced, which was even, far worse than that. So that's when we decided that we were going to do a thorough evaluation of the different types of abuse after reviewing an extensive list. And if you're interested in that list, just go ahead and shoot me an email at grow with Christine at gmailcom. It's G ro O W W I T C HRIS TNE AT GMAILCOM and I'll send you the list just tell me that you're looking for the abuse checklist. So, after she started to review that list, Bailey realized that she suffered from physical, verbal, mental, emotional, financial and spiritual abuse from her father. The only thing she didn't suffer from was sexual abuse. Eager to confront him and desperately wanting a healthy relationship with her father, she agreed to do a family session with everyone, but instead...

...of this session sparking healing, another issue actually emerged, which is what we're talking about today, Stockholm Syndrome. So what is Stockholm Si Syndrome? Let's do a little quick history lesson and then we'll come back to everything. Usually, this is a term that's reserved for hostage situations and it references at bank robbery that occurred in one thousand nine hundred and seventy three in Stockholm, Sweden. After spending six days in a bank vault, the four hostages actually refused to testify against their captors and instead raised money for their defense. So the term refers to the trauma bond that's developed between the captor and the hostages, in which the hostages feel positive feelings, such as empathy, for the person that is actually causing them harm. This allows the captor to not feel remorse...

...for their actions, as the hostages don't even hold them responsible for their own actions. That's the technical definition of Stockholm Syndrome. So what are some other examples? Well, probably, if you're as old as I am, you're going to remember the Patty Hirst case that happened in one thousand hundred and seventy four, where she actually denounced her family name incided with her kidnappers in assisting them to rob banks. She was given a prison sentence. She was caught, given a prison sentence, try to use Stockholm Syndrome as a defense, but was convicted and then she was later pardoned by President Bill Clinton. Another example of Stockholm Syndrome is JC DU guard. She was kidnapped at age eleven in one thousand nine hundred and ninety one and held hostage for eighteen years, bearing two children by her abuser. She writes a wonderful book which I highly recommend, and she thoroughly explains the syndrome literally from the inside out and from...

...somebody who's experienced it, and how she formed a bond with both of her captors, both the it was the male and female captors who were married over the years. So those are a couple other examples. So, but not everybody has that level of extreme example. So are there are fewer extreme examples? Yes, a person currently living in an abusive situation often has a form of this condition, as did Bailey. This is the reason why many people don't leave their abuser but instead continue to hold on to that relationship. I just want to pause here for a second and just help you to understand that the reason why people don't leave an abuse of narcissist is usually because they have a form of Stockholm Syndrome. In the case of Bailey, she wanted to...

...believe that her narcissistic father was telling the truth so much that she accept his assessment of her mental wellbeing as being crazy, when she was not crazy. I'm the one with a degree, not him, and she was not crazy. Her desire to have a relationship with her narcissistic father meant that she was ignorant of the different types of abuse. She often justified his abuse and therapy as a result of his childhood abuse and minimized any impact that it actually had on her. The result was she honestly believed that she was the problem. And not him. She actually had this dialog going that it was because her dad had experienced so much abuse that that he was doing it to her, but she was stronger than him and she could handle it, and so somehow she was going to make things better by handling his abuse instead of recognizing his...

...behavior as being abusive. So how do you recover from something like this? Well, when I first when I saw it an action, that's the very first step. So it requires identification and awareness. So once it was a parent that it was there, we talked about it in session and this is one of those very rare few times that I say please Google the disorder because it gives you so many examples and it gives you other people that you can relate to so that you can see that there's actually this is a real thing. It isn't something that's false. It is a trauma bond that is formed between an abuser and the victim. So just hearing and seeing examples of other victims brings like this awareness to whole other level. It's often easier to see the problem in someone else's story long before you can identify it in yours. That's why I want you to Google this because it's much, much easier to...

...see that this through the lives of other people. Once an understanding has been established, rewriting the abuse then needs to occur. This is the most time consuming part of the process, because you're rewriting the abuse for what it is. You're calling out the abuse, you're saying verbal abuse is not okay and that's what he did, and and not justifying why somebody would call you names. I would highly recommend that, if you're going to rewrite abuse, that you do this with a therapist, because this is not something that you can easily see on your own. It is something that you really do need to be walked through. So a person with Stockholm Syndrome already has a hard time perceiving things correctly, and that's why they usually need professional assistance until a new, more accurate perception is developed along the way. So, now that you've heard all of this, how can you help somebody who might actually have this?...

Well, it's essential to develop a bond of trust that is based on empathy and not judgment. Those looking at the scenario from the outside are often highly judgmental and critical of the victim's behavior. The victim is already overloaded with feelings of inadequacy, shame and guilt that are disproportionately attributed to their actions as the victims and not the abusers. To overcome this, they need unconditional love and acceptance. In a ton of patients, this is where it just takes time to get better. This is not I'm going to do this in three sessions and everything's going to be okay. This is going through everything, listening to somebody, helping them to understand and see where that they have gone wrong, showing them unconditional love throughout the entire part of the process, acceptance and...

...just being patient with the progress. So, after addressing this particular aspect of Stockholm Syndrome, Bailey finally began to do better and it was more consistent over a long period of time. She no longer allowed her father's abuse to impact her. She wound up moving out of the House and in a short period of time she was really thriving. Without getting the proper help, she might have never been able to achieve this. Be sure that if you or anyone else are experiencing this syndrome or something like it, please seek out professional assistance, because that does make all the difference in the world, so I hope this was helpful. This is for the people who are in a relationship with a narcissist. Just beyond guard and look out for variations of the Stockholm Syndrome so that you are not caught up in that and, if you are, that you are able to look at it from a different perspective. Thanks for...

...listening to understanding today's narcissist with Christine hand brought to you in part by Psych Centralcom. For more information, visits grow with christinecom.

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