Stockholm syndrome

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Paradox dependency reaction to severe psychological stress

Part of the Stockholm syndrome is a description of a historical event, a hostage taking, with paradox outcomes: some hostages seem to "fall in love" with their tormentors. Similar accounts are known from inquisition trials in medieval times.

The explanation lies in an inborn mechanism: under conditions of stress, gradually a regression to infantile levels takes place, then a care-seeking behavior is triggered, a search for a parental protective figure.

Nature has implemented no solution for the case when the next available humans are simultaneously the source of the distress which triggered the mechanism in the first place. In this regressed state - which is known by manipulative people - the attachment seeking behavior may turn toward the tormentors.


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