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Stockholm Syndrome Definition: Why A Battered Wife Bailed Out Her Abusive Husband From Jail

Stockholm Syndrome Definition: Why A Battered Wife Bailed Out Her Abusive Husband From Jail

Complex Case of Stockholm Syndrome


Disclaimer: The story is a fictional construction of true life events. The names have been changed for privacy purposes. The content is strictly aimed at spreading awareness about Stockholm syndrome and helping people take the right help at the right time. 


Stockholm syndrome is a rare occurrence where a victim of abuse develops compassion and empathy for their captor or abuser.


A classic example of Stockholm syndrome would be The Beauty and The Beast. A young lady falling in love with her kidnapper, never taking the chance to escape, and even going to lengths to save her captor is an illustrative example of Stockholm syndrome.


Picture this. It is August 23rd, 1973.  A woman residing in Sweden goes to a bank to deposit some money. Suddenly a robber breaks in and holds her and 3 other people as hostages. The siege continues for six long days. Finally, when the nightmare ends, the woman refuses to testify against the captors. Not just that, she even shows compassion and a sense of connection with them.


The world was left in shock, and that is when the ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ was born. Although it is not a clinically diagnosed condition, the concept has been discussed and studied within the field of psychology to understand the complex dynamics that can occur in situations of captivity, abuse, or coercive control.


Let’s take another perplexing case of Stockholm Syndrome.


Firdaus is a woman in her late 30s. She resides in the quiet lanes of Bandra, Mumbai. Firdaus may appear as a timid and introverted woman, but within her is a history she will never forget.


She was 25 when she tied the knot with Bhairav. It was a closed ceremony since none of her family members approved of the marriage. After marriage, she continued to pursue her education and build a good career. Life was good and happy contrary to what her parents had believed.


After a year, Firdaus discovered the true nature of Bhairav. It started with emotional abuse and soon escalated to physical assault. He prohibited Firdaus from going out or visiting any family members. He held her at home all day and had even installed cameras to ensure that she did not escape.


Firdaus’s parents became weary about her sudden disappearance. They had not talked to Firdaus for almost 4 months now. They tried reaching out to Bhairav but he would dismiss them by saying that she was upset and hurt.


After all their attempts to contact her, Firdaus’s father decided to pay them an unannounced visit. When he reached the house he was disappointed to see a huge lock on the front door. However, he could hear noises from inside. Confused and concerned about what was happening, he peeped into the house from the back window.


He saw Firdaus. Pale and thin. There were impressions of tight rope on her wrists and burns on her neck. He shouted her name and urged her to open the door. At first, Firdaus ignored him but when he heard police threats she rushed to the door and let her father in.


She begged his father not to call the police. She defended Bhairav and told her father that he has nothing to do with this. She forced him to leave the house and never come back.


He assured Firdaus that she will be safe and nothing will happen to her if she files a complaint against Bhairav. On hearing that Firdaus became aggressive and pushed her father out of the house. She immediately locked herself in the room and called Bhairav.


After a few hours, the police rushed into the house and took Firdaus under custody. It was obvious that she was facing abuse but they could do nothing until she filed a complaint against him. However, on the basis of her father’s complaint and physical wounds on Firdaus’s neck and wrists, they decided to arrest Bhairav and file a case against him.


Her father knew that something was not right with her state of mind. She had all the rights and legal safety to escape the monster but she denied the abuse. Instead, she took all the blame on her and told the police that she had inflicted these wounds on herself.


Due to a lack of evidence and Firdaus’s confession, the police had to release Bhairav.


The shocking case of Firdaus makes us wonder if she had the chance to escape the abuse then why didn’t she?


The answer may lie in a perplexing phenomenon of Stockholm Syndrome.


The victim of hostage-taking, kidnapping, or abusive relationships may develop Stockholm syndrome due to the following reasons:


Survival Instinct: The person may develop a bond with their captor as a means of self-preservation. They believe that by aligning themselves with the captor and complying with their demands, they increase their chances of survival.


Perceived Kindness: In some cases, captors may show occasional acts of kindness or compassion towards their victims. These small gestures can create confusion and ambiguity, leading the victim to question the captor’s true intentions and develop a sense of gratitude or attachment.


Trauma Bonding: Long periods of isolation, fear, and manipulation can lead to a complex psychological phenomenon known as trauma bonding. The victim becomes emotionally attached to the captor as a result of the intense shared experience, which can be difficult to break free from.


Cognitive Dissonance: When faced with a threatening or abusive situation, individuals may experience cognitive dissonance, a state of mental conflict between their beliefs, feelings, and behaviors. In an attempt to reduce this discomfort, they may rationalize or justify the captor’s actions, leading to a sympathetic response.


Dependency and Control: In some cases of Stockholm Syndrome, captors deliberately create dependency by controlling the victim’s access to basic needs, such as food, water, or social interaction. This power dynamic can further influence the victim’s perception and emotional attachment to the captor.


In conclusion, Stockholm Syndrome is a complex psychological phenomenon that requires further research and understanding.


However, if you or someone you know is stuck in abusive relationships, or traumatic situations then we strongly recommend seeking the help of a certified therapist now. Becoming passive could be a damaging consequence of trauma, making it impossible for the victim to escape the abuse.


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