Posted in Alienated children, Alienation, Nick Child, Parental Alienation PA, Stockholm Syndrome

Nick Child, B.Sc., MBChB, MRCPsych, M.Phil.

Nick passionately believes that the best way for the world to become aware, to educate children, adults and professionals, and to prevent and stop all kinds of undue influence, in and outside of families, is to team up together against them all.  He has also found plenty of rich learning to transfer across from one kind of undue influence (eg cults) to another form (eg in families, in parental alienation). And so that’s how you find Nick here in the engine-room of the Open Minds Foundation.

Cults, hostages and the Stockholm syndrome

Through her book Adult Children of PA, we know of Amy Baker’s powerful use of the ‘cult’ metaphor for an Alienated child’s loyalty to the aligned parent. She focused on the cult ideas more in an earlier paper, which is a really good summary of how similar the coercive patterns are in cults and in Child Alienation. Continue reading “Nick Child, B.Sc., MBChB, MRCPsych, M.Phil.”

Posted in Alienation, Stockholm Syndrome

Does grooming facilitate the development of Stockholm syndrome? The social work practice implications

This article focuses on the problem of risk instrumentalism in social work and the way it can erode the relationship-based nature of practice and with it, the kinds of critical reflexivity required for remedial interventions to keep children safe.

METHOD: By exploring the relationship between the process of grooming and the condition known as Stockholm syndrome, the article seeks to address this problem by offering some concepts to inform a critical understanding of case dynamics in the sexual abuse of children which can explain the reluctance of victim-survivors to disclose.

FINDINGS: Beginning with an overview of the development of actuarial risk assessment (ARA) tools the article examines the grooming process in child sexual abuse contexts raising the question: “Is grooming a facilitator of Stockholm syndrome?” and seeks to answer it by examining the precursors and psychological responses that constitute both grooming and Stockholm syndrome.

CONCLUSION: The article identifies the underlying concepts that enable an understanding of the dynamics of child sexual abuse, but also identifies the propensity of practitioners to be exposed to some of the features of Stockholm syndrome. Continue reading “Does grooming facilitate the development of Stockholm syndrome? The social work practice implications”

Posted in Alienation, Stockholm Syndrome

Stockholm syndrome and CSA

This article, based on an analysis of unstructured interviews, identifies that the emotional bond between survivors of child sexual abuse and the people who perpetrated the abuse against them is similar to that of the powerful bi-directional relationship central to Stockholm Syndrome as described by Graham (1994). Aspects of Stockholm Syndrome could be identified in the responses of adult survivors of child sexual abuse, which appeared to impact on their ability to criminally report offenders. An emotional bond, which has enabled the sexual abuse of children, has served to protect the offender long after the abuse has ceased. The implications of Stockholm Syndrome could offer valuable insights to those working in the field of child sexual abuse. Continue reading “Stockholm syndrome and CSA”

Posted in Alienation, Stockholm Syndrome

Stockholm Syndrome and Trauma Bonds

They say that when you get burned by fire you don’t put your hand in the hot oven again. But that’s not necessarily the case. Sometimes, it’s the fact of being burned that emotionally bonds you to an abuser. In fact, studies show that emotional abuse intermixed with small acts of kindness can bond some victims to their abusers even more than consistent good treatment can. So far I’ve used the word “victim” to describe the women (or men) who suffer at the hands of psychopaths. Yet I don’t really like this word for several reasons. It tends to imply a certain passivity, as if the woman herself had nothing to do with the decision to get involved with the psychopath or, worse yet, to stay with him even once his mask of sanity started to slip. It’s rare that a psychopath physically coerces a woman to get involved with him or to stay with him. Although he intimidates and brainwashes her, generally the victim cooperates.

This isn’t to imply, at the opposite end of the spectrum, that the women who get involved with psychopaths are “guilty” or deserve the mistreatment. In fact, that’s the other main reason why I don’t like the term “victim.” It evokes certain notions of moral purity that put the victim on trial. There used to be a conventional prejudice, for example, that if a victim of rape dressed in a provocative manner or walked around alone at night, then she wasn’t really “innocent” and somehow “asked for it.”

We realize now that this perception is false and prejudicial. Women can be targeted and abused without being perfect angels themselves. Analogously, one shouldn’t have to have to prove one’s perfection in the court of public opinion to gain sympathy for being used and abused by a psychopathic partner. Nobody capable of empathy and love deserves the kind of brainwashing, intimidation, lying, cheating, manipulation and distortion of reality to which a psychopath routinely subjects his partner. Despite the fact that I don’t like some of the connotations of the word “victim,” however, I use it because I believe that the women who become involved with and stay with psychopaths of their own free will are, in some respects, being victimized. To illustrate how you can be victimized while colluding in your own victimization, I’ll rely upon Dr. Joseph Carver’s explanation of Stockholm Syndrome in his article “Love and Stockholm Syndrome: The Mystery of Loving an Abuser.” (drjoecarver.com)

Carver states that he commonly runs in his practice into women involved with psychopathic partners who say something to the effect of, “I know it’s hard for others to understand, but despite everything he’s done, I still love him.” While cultivating feelings of love for a partner who repeatedly mistreats you may seem irrational, it’s unfortunately quite common. Psychological studies show that molested children, battered women, prisoners of war, cult members and hostages often bond with their abusers. Sometimes they even go so far as to defend them to their families and friends, to the media, to the police and in court when their crimes are brought to justice.

This psychological phenomenon is so common that it acquired its own label: “Stockholm Syndrome,” named after an incident that occurred in Stockholm, Sweden. On August 23rd, 1974, two men carrying machine guns entered a bank. They held three women and one man hostage for several days. By the end of this ordeal, surprisingly, the victims took the side of their captors. They also defended them to the media and to the police. One woman even became engaged to one of the bank robbers. Another spent a lot of money for the legal defense of one of the criminals. Those who suffer from Stockholm Syndrome develop an unhealthy positive attachment to their abusers. They come to accept the abuser’s lies and rationalizations for his bad behavior. They sometimes also assist the abuser in harming others. This psychological condition makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the victims to engage in behaviors that facilitate detachment from the abuser, such as turning him in, exposing his misconduct or leaving him.

This unhealthy bonding solidifies when the abuser alternates between the carrot and the stick conditioning, as we’ve seen in the case of Drew and Stacy Peterson. He interlaces the abuse–the lying, the cheating, the implicit or explicit threats and insults, and even physical assault–with acts of “small kindness,” such as gifts, romantic cards, taking her out on a date to a nice restaurant, apologies and occasional compliments. Needless to say, in any rational person’s mind, a cute card or a nice compliment couldn’t erase years of abusive behavior. Yet for a woman whose independent judgment and autonomy have been severely impaired by extended intimate contact with a psychopath, it can and often does. Such a woman takes each gift, hollow promise and act of kindness as a positive sign. She mistakenly believes that her abusive partner is committed to changing his ways. She hopes that he has learned to love and appreciate her as she deserves. She wants to believe him even when the pattern of abuse is repeated over and over again, no matter how many times she forgives him. This is what trauma bonding is all about. Continue reading “Stockholm Syndrome and Trauma Bonds”

Posted in Alienation, Stockholm Syndrome

trauma bonding and stockholm syndrome — and those who are caught in it.

© The Medical Intuitive Blog by Healing Elaine®: Bridging the Gap Between Medical & Spiritual™ trauma bonding and stockholm syndrome — and those who are caught in it.

Source: trauma bonding and stockholm syndrome — and those who are caught in it.

Posted in Alienation, Experts, Stockholm Syndrome

The comparison of parental alienation to the “Stockholm syndrome”

Ludwig.F. Lowenstein Ph.D

Southern England Psychological Services

2006

What follows is in great part fact and what is not fact is based on supposition and psychological assessment of how the Stockholm Syndrome develops and how it has worked in the case of Natascha Kampusch recently reported in the press. She was abducted and kept in a prison in an underground cell without natural light and air being pumped into her enclosure. The Stockholm Syndrome was coined in 1973 by Nils Bejerot, a psychiatrist, while working for the police. It occurred that there was a bank robbery and four bank clerks were taken hostage by an armed robber who threatened to kill them. To the surprise of the police, the hostages stated that they had no wish to be rescued indicating that they felt sympathy for their captor.

It was assumed that the feeling of stress and helplessness and possibly a desire to survive led to this unlikely scenario. All the captives were eventually released without harm. The hostage taker himself must have been influenced by the behaviour of his victims as they were influenced by him. One can only wonder how this phenomenon occurred after such a short captivity. In the case of Natascha Kampusch her period of captivity of eight years probably brought about deeper psychological changes and more enduring ones.

As a specialist in the area of parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome where I have acted as a psychological expert in the courts, there appears to be a considerable similarity between parental alienation and the Stockholm Syndrome. The alienator in the case of the Stockholm Syndrome also needs to extinguish any desire in the victim’s past, seeking to demonstrate any allegiance to anyone other than the powerful captor of that individual.

Here too is demonstrated the power of the alienator and the insignificance of the power of the alienated party/parties. It is almost certain that Natascha Kampusch had opportunity in the past to escape from her captor, yet chose not to do so. This was despite her initial closeness to her family. A combination of fear, indoctrination and “learned helplessness”, promoted the total loyalty and obedience of the child to her captor. This captor was no longer viewed, as was the case initially, as evil but as necessary to the child’s well-being and her survival. A similar scenario occurs in the case of children who are alienated against an absent parent.

My forthcoming book about to be published and my website http://www.parental-alienation.info provides information as to why Natascha may have remained so slavishly with her captor for eight years of her young life. Why she decided finally to escape her enslavement will in due course be established. I will attempt to explain what might have occurred to finally induce her to escape.

A child who has had a good relationship with the now shunned parent will state: “I don’t need my father/mother; I only need my mother/father. Such a statement is based on the brainwashing received and the power of the alienator who is indoctrinating the child to sideline the previously loving parent.

In the case of the Stockholm Syndrome, we have in some ways a similar scenario. Here the two natural loving parents have been sidelined by the work of subtle or direct alienation by the perpetrator of the abduction of the young girl. At age 10, the child is helpless to resist the power of her abductor.

To the question: “How does the abductor eventually become her benefactor?”, we may note the process is not so dissimilar to the brainwashing carried by the custodial parent. This is done for the double reason of: 1) Gaining the total control over the child and consequently its dependence upon them. 2) To sideline the other parent and to do all possible to prevent and/or curtail contact between the child and the absent parent/parents.

The primary reason for such behaviour is the intractable hostility of the custodial parents towards one another. This reason does not exist in the case of the abductor of a child such as occurred in the case of Natascha Kambusch. Nevertheless the captor wished to totally alienate or eliminate the child’s loyalty or any feeling towards her natural parents. Due to the long period away from her parents and a total dependence for survival on her captor, Natascha’s closeness to her family gradually faded. She may even have felt that her own parents were making little or no effort to find her and rescue her. This view may also have been inculcated by her captor.

Her captor’s total mastery and control over her, eventually gave her a feeling of security. She could depend on the man to look after her with food, shelter, warmth, protection and hence led to her survival. Such behaviour on the part of the captor led over time not only to “learned helplessness” and dependence, but in a sense to gratefulness. As he was the only human being in her life this was likely to happen. She therefore became a ready victim of what is commonly termed the “Stockholm Syndrome” or the victim of “Parental Alienation.”

This led even to her beginning to love her captor. This view has been substantiated by the fact that Natascha found it difficult to live and feel any real closeness to her natural parents once she was rescued or once she ran away from her captor. She even pined for the loss of the captor who had since committed suicide. Even her speech had been altered from the native Austrian or Viennese dialect to the North German speech due to the fact that she only had access to the outside world via radio and television. This again, however, was carefully monitored by her captor. He controlled what she could see on television and listen to on the radio from outside her underground cell. There was little in Natascha’s present life to remind her of her past except for the dress that she wore when she was captured.

While she developed physically from 10-18 years, her weight changed but little. Why did she decide eventually to leave her captor? This is a question that requires an answer. It is the view of the current author that the answer lies in the fact that she may have had a quarrel with her captor, possibly over a very minor issue. The result was her leaving her captor and then regretting doing so, especially after she heard of his death. By the time her captor, undoubtedly fearing the retribution by the law, had ended his life, she had pined for him.

After eight years or living in close proximity to his victim, some form of intimacy undoubtedly occurred including a sexual one. This led to a mutual need and even dependence. It is likely that the “learned helplessness” of the victim succumbed eventually a caring, perhaps even loving relationship developing. It is also likely that the psychological explanation is that attribution, helplessness and depression in the victim for the loss of her parents quickly gave way to seeking to make the best of her situation while under the total domination of her captor.

Again the same scenario occurs in the case of parental alienation where the power of the dominant custodial parent programmes the child/children to eschew or marginalise the absent parent. That absent parent no longer appears to be important and is even likely to be viewed as damaging to the child’s survival. Continue reading “The comparison of parental alienation to the “Stockholm syndrome””

Posted in Alienation, Stockholm Syndrome

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF STOCKHOLM SYNDROME

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF STOCKHOLM SYNDROME

It may be easier to understand Stockholm syndrome as an actual survival strategy for victims. This is because it seems to increase victims’ chances of survival and is believed to be a necessary tactic for defending psychologically and physically against experiencing an abusive, toxic, and controlling relationship. Stockholm syndrome is often found in toxic relationships where a power differential exists, such as between a parent and child or spiritual leader and congregant. Some signs of Stockholm syndrome include:

  • Positive regard towards perpetrators of abuse or captors.
  • Failure to cooperate with police and other government authorities when it comes to holding perpetrators of abuse or kidnapping accountable.
  • Little or not effort to escape.
  • Belief in the goodness of the perpetrators or kidnappers.
  • Appeasement of captors. This is a manipulative strategy for maintaining one’s safety. As victims get rewarded—perhaps with less abuse or even with life itself—their appeasing behaviors are reinforced.
  • Learned helplessness. This can be akin to “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” As the victims fail to escape the abuse or captivity, they may start giving up and soon realize it’s just easier for everyone if they acquiesce all their power to their captors.
  • Feelings of pity toward the abusers, believing they are actually victims themselves. Because of this, victims may go on a crusade or mission to “save” their abuser.
  • Unwillingness to learn to detach from their perpetrators and heal. In essence, victims may tend to be less loyal to themselves than to their abuser.

Anyone can be susceptible to Stockholm syndrome. Yes, there are certain people with abusive backgrounds that may be more likely to be affected, such as people with abusive childhoods; but any person can become a victim if the right conditions exist. Continue reading “THE CHARACTERISTICS OF STOCKHOLM SYNDROME”

Posted in Alienation, Stockholm Syndrome

The term ‘Trauma Bond’ is also known as Stockholm Syndrome

Conditions necessary for trauma bonding to occur include:

  • To be threatened with, and to believe, that there is real danger
  • Harsh treatment interspersed with very small kindnesses
  • Isolation from other people’s perspectives
  • A belief that there is no escape

The symptoms of trauma bonding can manifest:

  • Negative feelings for potential rescuers
  • Support of abusers reasons and behaviours
  • Inability to engage in behaviours that will assist release/detachment from abusers

Continue reading “The term ‘Trauma Bond’ is also known as Stockholm Syndrome”

Posted in Alienation, Stockholm Syndrome

Stockholm Syndrome and Regular Old Abuse – Abuse

This sort of “Stockholm Syndrome” is certainly not limited to 8-year captives. Instead, clinicians see it every day when treating abuse victims. When a person’s one shot at belonging (whether actual or perceived, it makes no difference) is to identify with an abusive family or spouse (or captor as the case may be), that is exactly what people tend to do. People get used to abuse, rationalize it away until it seems normal to them … something expected, even deserved. For this reason, it often doesn’t even occur to many people that what they’ve experienced was abuse. Or, if there is recognition that abuse has occurred, there is an urge to minimize the extent to which the abuse is recognized. Not a pretty picture of how people’s psychological insides work, but it does seem to be the case that this is how identity tends to work.

Posted in Alienation, Stockholm Syndrome

Difference Between Parent Alienation and Stockholm Syndrome

How does one make a clear distinction between ‘Parental Alienation Syndrome’, ‘Stockhom Syndrome’, and just a result of (emotional) domestic violence??? (Although I believe this is not isolated to only ’emotional’…as I have found going over my marriage of ‘social, financial and sexual’ abuse…although it seems subtle). Those that I speak to that understand domestic violence see all of his actions, words and traits as ‘completely typical’ of the ‘type’ (domestic violence). But when it comes to being in court, emotional abuse is ‘hearsay’: prove it! Show me it! He is clever and charming and a grand story-teller. And I…I have such self doubt and self blame.

Continue reading “Difference Between Parent Alienation and Stockholm Syndrome”