Law & Legal & Attorney Family Law

Domestic Abuse, Are You A Hostage In Your Own Home?

Would anyone admit to a statement such as that? Why would anyone choose to stay in an abusive relationship? How could one be a hostage in their own home? Most would not look at their situation as one of hostage, but then sometimes it may feel as if they are "trapped.
" True, some admit to feeling like a prisoner in their own home, but a hostage? There could be an answer as to why some abused individuals stay in that type of environment.
An expert speaks about the "Stockholm Syndrome" Clint Van Zandt is an MSNBC analyst.
During his 25-year career in the FBI, he was a supervisor in the FBI's internationally renowned Behavioral Science Unit at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA.
He was also the FBI's Chief Hostage Negotiator and has been chief investigator in the search for Osama Bin Laden; was a leader of the analytical team tasked with identifying the "Unabomber," and many other high profile investigations.
In his article WHY WE LOVE THE ONES WHO HURT US, he tells of hostages who sometimes become sympathetic to the hostage takers.
As unbelievable as that sounds, there is an actual syndrome that explains the reactions of some, after being taken hostage and abused and yet sympathizing with the perpetrator.
It is called "The Stockholm Syndrome.
" The name arose from a heavily armed bank robber named Olafson, who took three women and a man hostage in a Stockholm Sweden bank.
He strapped dynamite to their bodies and forced them into the bank vault.
The man refused to negotiate with the police and held them hostage for 6 days.
The shocking part of the situation was that one or more of the female captives were sympathetic with their captor and even admitted to consensual physical intimacy with him.
Later, one of the women broke her engagement to her intended and became engaged to Olafson.
Another woman started a defense fund for the robber's legal defense.
Eventually "the Stockholm Syndrome" was used as the explanation for a type of emotional bonding, that is in reality, a survival strategy for victims of emotional and physical abuse-including not only hostages, but also battered spouses and partners, abused children and even POW's.
Van Zandt suggests in his article: "If the victim of the abusive relationship is your child or a friend, you need to remain supportive and not put even more stress, pressure, and guilt on the abused individual.
An abuser can change, but he/she must want to change, and the longer he is allowed to abuse, the less likely he is to alter his behavior.
If emotional or physical abuse is present in a dating relationship, know that the abuser is a loser; the abuse will become worse as time goes by, so turn on your heels and move quickly away from the influence of this person.
Period!" So, what should one do if they are trapped in an abusive relationship? Not everyone in an abusive relationship can be diagnosed with Stockholm Syndrome.
However, it is especially important for anyone leaving an abusive relationship, to seek counseling, to spend a few years rebuilding self-esteem and finding a lifestyle that teaches him or her that they should not allow abuse, in any form, in their relationships.
The attitude and example that adults in their family, set for their children could stop the abuse factor in its tracks.
Be there for a friend who is a victim of abuse If you know of someone who is involved in an abusive relationship, be there for them, encourage them, and suggest they seek outside intervention, such as counseling in self-esteem, and ultimately self-protection.
Could they be a victim of the Stockholm Syndrome? Let them knowthat, "No one is born to be abused by another person!"

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