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Ng Anh Tun - ICT

Causes and effects of the Stockholm syndrome

On August 23rd, 1973 two machine-gun carrying criminals entered a bank in Stockholm,
Sweden and intended to rob it. Four bank employees were held hostage until they were finally
rescued on August 28th. After the rescue, the hostages said that they had begun to feel the captors
were actually protecting them from the police. Clearly, the victims had formed some kind of positive
relationship with their captors. This is called Stockholm syndrome. There are two main reasons
which can cause Stockholm syndrome when one is kidnapped: perceived threat to the victims
physical or psychological survival and small kindness from the captor.
First of all, Stockholm syndrome can be caused when the victims feel a huge threat to their
physical or psychological survival. In abusive and controlling relationships, the victims seem to be
always fearful of saying or doing anything that might prompt a violent. Therefore, they begin to see
the world through the abusers perspective for their survival. They begin to fix things that might
prompt an outburst, act in the ways that make the abuser happy, or avoid aspects of their own life
that may prompt a problem. As a result, when the abuser is angry and resentful toward anyone who
tends to provide the victim with support, the victim also develops anger toward those trying to help
Besides, in some cases, the victims look for evidence of hope, a small sign that may improve
the situation. When an abuser shows the victim some small kindness, even though it is to the
abusers benefit, the victims interprets that small kindness as a positive trait of the captor. For
example, allowing a bathroom visit or providing food and water, are enough to strengthen the
Stockholm Syndrome in criminal hostage events. Moreover, in relationships with abusers, after a
period of abuse, a birthday card, a gift or a special treat are interpreted as not only positive, but
evidence that the abuser is not all bad and may correct his behavior at some time.
Its obvious that Stockholm syndrome cause certain effects on the victims and their families
or friends. Abusive relationships produce a great amount on unhealthy investment such as emotional
investment, family investments, financial investment and so on. In addition, this situation make the
victims believe that the relationship is not only acceptable, but also desperately needed for their
survival, so the expression of the syndrome becomes extreme, and this make it very hard to rescue
In conclusion, threat to the victims survival and the abusers small kindness can cause the
Stockholm syndrome, and this syndrome can also lead to some dangerous consequences. Therefore,
if you are in such situations, be calm and conscious to avoid the Sockholm syndrome.