Forming a Bond with Your Abusers? | Stockholm Syndrome

Have you formed an unhealthy bond with your abuser and don't know how to detach from them? If so, you may have Stockholm syndrome. Here are some ways to recognize it and put a stop to it.


Stockholm syndrome is described as a condition where someone who was abused becomes attached to their abuser. It often applies to abusive relationships, often parent and child, but can also be domestic violence relationships, in addition to hostage and kidnapping cases.

Girl being struck
© VadimGuzhva

You may be wondering how it is even possible to become attached to the abuser, and how the victim will often defend the abuse being done to them, and even want to help the person doing the abuse be set free if they’re ever caught. This is a complex matter since the abuser uses a multitude of psychological tactics to control their victims. Fear, gaslighting, and shaming are among the top tactics the abuser will project onto their victims.

Fear is used to make the victim docile and do anything the abuser wants, bypassing normal cognitive function. Gaslighting is to alter the memories and emotions involved with the abuse. And shame is to make the victim blame themselves for what is happening. All of this leads to the victim being dependent on the abuser. If you combine this with hostage and kidnapping cases, the victim is literally at the mercy of the abuser just to stay alive.

Asian hostage woman Bound with rope at night scene
© reewungjunerr

An unhealthy bond is formed where the victim is now dependent on the abuser for many aspects of their life, which could include food and water. This unhealthy dependency plays tricks on the mind of the victim as they start to sympathize with them and actually form an attachment. Due to the complex, and contradictory, nature of the relationship, the mind of the victim is often dissociated from reality and normal thinking.

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The victim will often be confused as to why they love someone who is harming them. They repress emotions and memories, causing stress, anxiety, and flashbacks that haunt their daily life. These people develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result, and often blame themselves as the ones that caused this and feel like they deserved it. 

The key to takeaway from this is the guilt they feel and the way they blame themselves. These are ideas the abuser has implanted in them since if they were to think anything else, then they’d get into trouble, or lose vital things necessary for survival. The abusers do the gaslighting, are narcissistic, and are the ones that have the low self-worth, so they extract that from their victims to make themselves feel better, but it only hurts both parties.

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Violence
© karichs

To spot this when you’re an adult, think about your own parents. Were they narcissistic, always put themselves before you? Did they gaslight you into thinking everything was your fault, even if you had no involvement in it? Were you victimized and blamed for everything? Yet, do you still hold onto your parents, you abusers, and can’t let them go? If so, then you likely have Stockholm syndrome.

Parents that have these traits and have done this to their children want a level of control over them. When you are an adult, they want every bit of control over you as they can and will entangle themselves into every aspect of your life. It could be simple things such as listing your address as theirs, even if you don’t live there, and being on their car or health insurance, or phone plan, to help them out in some way. They get angry, defensive, and will shame you when you try to do anything on your own or remove your name and change your address. They may say that you’ll have to pay more and shouldn’t do that. Shaming you into helping them lower their costs, and yours since they may be paying for you as well. They want this control, which is why they get mad when you try to escape from it. You may fall for their manipulative tactics and give in. This is because you have an unhealthy attachment towards your abusers.

To break free from their control is to be independent. The abuser wants to control every aspect of your life, and you may let them until you realize the damage they’re doing. Don’t give them the opportunity to control you. Don’t fear their wrath since you must stand tall and proud and say that they no longer have any right to control your life. You are an independent person and must stand up for yourself. Don’t be dependent on someone else, especially those who wronged you. Instead, put your attention into what makes you feel fulfilled in life. Only then you’ll finally detach from your abuser and experience true freedom.

Let me know how this works for you. Have a great day!

Additional Info

I have experienced this first hand from my mother. She is a narcissist who wants to control every aspect of her children’s life. I wasn’t aware of this until my mid-20s where I finally realized what type of person she actually was. Fortunately for me, I put a stop to it by breaking free from her control. She has no right to tell me how to live my life, nor be involved in any decisions I make. The relationship now is not hateful or angry, but just indifference. We get along fine, but have no major dialogue about anything important.

Published:

Mental & Physical HealthAbuseStockholm SyndromeTrauma

About the Author

Autumn Asphodel
Autumn Asphodel helps others live a better life through natural means, hard work, and dedication.

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