What Is Stockholm Syndrome?

Stockholm syndrome is a psychological phenomenon where hostages or prisoners develop a close emotional attachment to their captors or abusers. The syndrome was first documented in 1973 when a woman who had been held hostage for eight months by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September developed a strong fondness for her captors.

The phenomenon has been widely studied and is now considered a form of Stockholm syndrome, also known as hostage syndrome, hostage cult syndrome, or captor syndrome. The term is derived from Stockholm, Sweden, where the first known syndrome case occurred.

The phenomenon has been observed in many cases, from political hostages taken by terrorists to people held hostage in bars or restaurants. The phenomenon is often seen as a sign of weakness or susceptibility to abuse, but it can also lead to hostages feeling indebted to their captors or even identifying with them.

The syndrome typically develops after a person is held hostage or imprisoned. The hostages or prisoners may feel a sense of loyalty and comradeship toward their captors or abusers. They may also develop a sense of hope that the situation will eventually change and view their captors or abusers as friends.

The syndrome can have a devastating impact on the hostages or prisoners. They may become withdrawn and may experience a decrease in self-esteem. They may also become emotionally dependent on their captors or abusers.

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