Stockholm Syndrome and Our Perception of Love

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Stockholm Syndrome keeps people thinking that their abuse was normal. Unless the native wakes up, they will continue the cycle of abuse be it on their own spouses, friends, children, pets or anybody they meet and… maybe even on themselves.

Stockholm Syndrome is how victims of verbal, physical, psychological, energetic and sexual abuse survive. Some of us, as a coping mechanism, normalize whatever environment we grew up in. If your parents were tyrannical, controlling and cold, then that will be your normal. It’s all you know. Parents are God.

Those who are still apologizing for their own violators might be likely to normalize pathologies. This continues the cycle of abuse since we don’t know the difference between what is healthy and what is pathological. This is why it’s so important for us to face our own pasts as when we do, we then begin to realize what real love is versus the illusion of it. Sometimes we confuse the two and think we might be “helping” when we are really only thinking about what needs we are getting met for ourselves.

I’ve been studying child abuse for over thirty years now and it is more common than not for trauma survivors to cling to the offending parent (or abuser). Sometimes the worse the trauma, the tighter the bond. It’s not weird at all.. nor unusual. It is one of the most popular ways for children and adults to function in the world in spite of the abuse.

Love is difficult to receive if you were brought up without it. Receiving love is foreign and therefore rejected or judged as a pathology and abusive mannerisms deemed as healthy. To be able to receive love, one would automatically be reminded of what they never got and this can cause retraumatization and emotion-based flashbacks. While some abuse survivors will actively seek the love they never got, others will run from it. Those who weren’t loved may be inclined to unconsciously attract hate in their lives and while hate hurts, it’s so much easier to handle than love. Love in this context is the enemy and must be avoided at all costs until the wound is healed.

Own your stuff and feel it to heal in order to create a new normal to replace the old. This can take years since the hardest thing for anyone to ever do is face uncomfortable feelings and memories, but that is what growing up is all about.

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