Falling in love with your killer: Is it Stockholm Syndrome?

Falling in love with your killer: Is it Stockholm Syndrome?

What is the ‘Stockholm Syndrome’, which first got its name from a bank robbery in 1973, what are the symptoms?

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Stockholm Syndrome, which can also be defined as accepting and defending the conditions that put oneself in trouble and distressing, not seeing the causes of the conditions that put them in trouble, standing next to the oppressor despite being oppressed, and even being grateful to the oppressor; It is defined as the situation in which the hostages come to understand the feelings of their captors and then try to help the criminals and finally identify with them. Stockholm syndrome is a term that describes the psychological state that can be summarized as the emotional sympathy and empathy that occurs in the process of possible dialogue with the hostage person.

According to the Stockholm Syndrome, the victim/oppressed community may adopt the perspective of those who put themselves under intense stress through threats, violence, and restriction of their freedom. In this case, they are no longer a “victim/oppressed” according to their point of view. The situation they are in suddenly turns into a legitimate and correct situation, and the person who oppresses them turns into a misunderstood person, even a kind of hero.

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The syndrome, first described by Psychiatrist Nils Bejerot, takes its name from an event that took place in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1973.

In the incident that took place in Stockholm on August 23, 1973, robbers broke into a bank to rob a bank and kept 4 bank officials hostage in the bank for 131 hours for 6 days. The robbers treat the hostages well, creating good relations between them. Realizing that the police will launch an operation on the bank, the hostages warn the robbers. So much so that the hostages not only avoid testifying against the hostages caught after the incident, but also collect money among themselves to cover the lawyers and defense expenses of the robbers. The newspapers of the day made headlines on this event that ‘the robbers could not steal money from the bank, but they stole some people’s hearts’. An officer caught with Stockholm Syndrome from the hostages leaves his fiancee after he is released, waits for the robber he was interested in at the bank to get out of prison and marries her.

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A year after this event, Patty Hearst, the daughter of a wealthy family in the USA, was kidnapped by a group calling themselves the Symbiosis Freedom Army. Members of the group kept her locked in a lightproof, small cupboard, repeatedly threatening her with death and raping her. Only a few days, under the name of “reward”, the door of the closet was left slightly open, allowing the woman to breathe. Patty Hearst lived like this for two months in that closet. About a year later, Patty Hearst was caught trying to rob a bank in San Francisco with a rifle in hand. The former hostage had taken the pseudonym Tania and had become an armed militant of the organization that kidnapped her. Although his lawyer presented the Stockholm Syndrome to the court in defense, the court did not find this defense sufficient and he was sentenced to prison.

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In Stockholm Syndrome, one of the biggest symptoms of which is to be grateful to the other person even for a small favor; denial of exposure to violence and denial of anger at abuse are among the symptoms. The oppressed person blames himself for the situation he is in.

– Intense feelings of gratitude for even a small favor

– Denying violence and threats of violence

– Rationalization

– Belief that it has the power to prevent abuse

– Needs a tendency to blame self for the situation and abuse

– Efforts to please him to reduce abusive violent behavior

– Seeing the world from the perspective of the exploiter, losing your own perspective

– Evaluate yourself from the perspective of the abuser

– Considering the abuser as a good person or seeing them as a victim

– Feeling grateful to the abuser for surviving and not being killed


Lima Syndrome, unlike Stockholm syndrome, is the name given to the emotional bond with the hostage that occurs when the hostage develops sympathy for the hostage. It can be said that Stockholm syndrome is the opposite. Paradoxically, the hostage taker begins to empathize with their victims, and at some point, even begins to worry about their victims’ needs and health.

Lima Syndrome emerged as a result of 14 guerrillas raiding a reception held at the Japanese Embassy in the Peruvian capital city of Lima in December 1996 and taking many diplomats, business people and soldiers hostage for 4 months. During this 4-month crisis, the militants were kind to the hostages and met their needs, and even released most of the hostages. This event is considered to be the birth of Lima Syndrome.

Source: https://consequence.net/ & https://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr&https://giphy.com


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