What is STOCKHOLM SYNDROME? Abusive Relationships, psychology & mental health help with Kati Morton


Today, we’re talking about Stockholm Syndrom What is it, and how does it apply in therapy? *Music* This is one of the most fascinating topics I’ve gotten to research thus far so thank you to all of you who’ve requested it. And in all honesty I knew what Stockholm Syndrome was, but I didn’t really know the applications or ramifications of it within my clinical therapy practice, so this was so interesting. Stockholm Syndrome is named after a bank robbery that happened in 1973 in Stockholm, Sweden. There were bank employees that were kept for six days. They were first wrapped in dynamite and thrown into the bank vault. And the thing that happened that shocked everybody, is that throughout those six days, those captive people wrapped in dynamite, for some reason, became eerily attached to their captors. They felt bad for them. They even turned away police and assistance to get them out of there. They were not helpful at all and even once released, some of them still kept in touch with their captors and wouldn’t testify against them in court. So everybody thought, “What the hell is going on?” “Why won’t they tell us anything?” “Why are they acting like they were caring and nice and they cared about what happened to them?” “What gives?” What they learned is that, psychologically, in order to get through terrifying situations, we often attach to our captors as a way to almost survive it. Thinking ‘Well, I care about them” “I understand what’s going on with them” “See, they’re keeping me alive” “They’re really nice”. And in a way, by being nice to our captors we’re increasing the chances that we will live through it. So, oddly enough, it’s like our brain’s way of helping us get through an abusive or scary and traumatic situation. This applies in a clinical therapy practice, more along the lines of people who are in controlling or abusive relationships. For example, we find a lot of battered men or women will refuse to press charges against their spouse or loved one who abused them. Many even bail them out of jail after the police have taken them in because they’ve abused them. Now let’s get into the fascinating part, and the reason Stockholm Syndrome takes hold. There are four factors that need to be in place, and need to happen, so let’s talk about them. The first, and the kind of obvious one, is that we must feel threatened- either physically or psychologically, and we have to believe that the abuser or captor will actually act out on that threat. The way that we find this happens most commonly, is indirectly. Maybe it’s breaking things, throwing things around, they may even indirectly talk about harming someone or something that you really care about- like threatening to get rid of a prized possession, or to harm an animal that you love and care for. The abuser’s goal is actually to get you to believe that the harm that they could do is possible, and may be imminent. The second condition- and this is where it starts to, you can see how it can psychologically shift for the person being abused, is if the abuser will then show some small kindness. In the instance in Stockholm, Sweden, in that actual event, the captors said “Well, they fed us and gave us water, and they talked about how hard their life had been as a child”. They will do something to show you a little kindness to take care of you a little bit, so that you believe that they’re not all bad. What this does, is it gives the abused person hope that the situation could change. This could be a small token like a birthday card, or remembering to bring dinner home- any small thing. A lot of abused spouses will say “Well, they didn’t abuse me when they normally would.” So even the absence of abuse with no positive thing added in can feel like a small token of kindness. And you know how I talked about that event in Stockholm, Sweden, how they shared some events about themselves, that’s another part of it- and that goes into this number two, that they’ll share some hard times they’ve been through, or times they’ve been abused, by a mother, or father or caretaker. And so that gives them, kind of, it humanizes them a little bit, and makes us feel kind of bad for them. The third condition that needs to take place is being isolated from other perspectives. The way that this can play out in abusive relationships, there are a lot of examples that were given, one of which is “I don’t like your friends because they talk bad about me. I don’t want you hanging out with them anymore.” And if we do, we get abused when we get home, and so in a way, we’re slowly being conditioned against seeing our friends. There was an example of a woman who was speaking in one of the forums I was reading- where her mother would call just to talk to her, and tell her that she was worried about her and the kids, and so because of that, then the husband would find out and would abuse her more for talking with the mother, so she slowly started telling her mom, “Please stop calling, you’re just causing us trouble.” “You’re ruining our relationship.” And so, since we’re so isolated from any positive person in our life or any person who actually has any insight and is loving and supportive, all we can see is that abuse cycle, and that abuse life. Another way that this is described is “walking on eggshells”. We will do everything in our control to make sure that we keep the abuse at bay. That may mean seeing things, and our whole life and perspective from the abuser’s perspective to make sure that everything is just the way they like it, because if it’s not, we don’t know what’s gonna happen, and we may fear that they will hurt us. The fourth and final condition that must take place, is that we actually feel that we are not able to escape. This can be in a lot of fashions, but one of the most common, is actually through money. Many abusers will over extend them, as a family, or as a couple so that if the person that’s being abused tries to leave, they actually can’t afford anything, and they may feel like they’ll be out on the street. Another way this can happen, is kind of through the emotional abuse avenue, where they will know intimate or embarrassing things about you, or even threaten to shame you publically. There was a woman who was speaking in one of the forums that I’ve read, saying that her ex boyfriend made her do some sexual acts that she wasn’t comfortable with, and then when she threatened to leave, he said that he’d videotaped it and was going to release it on Facebook to all of her family and friends, and so that fear, and that embarrassment and shame, held her captive for another two years. This can also play out in a threat of suicide. A lot of the abusers will say to the abused, that they will kill themselves if they leave. Or, they’ll threaten homicide. They’ll threaten to kill a child, or an animal, or a parent, or someone else that we love, if you leave. And so, the person who’s being abused feels like they really can’t, because they don’t want anything bad to happen to the person because they actually love and care about them, or the other people in their lives. I’m sure if you’ve learned anything about the abuse cycle, you can kind of see how this plays into it, and how it’s so eerily similar. And the abuse cycle, I’m looking down at my notes just to make sure I get them in order, is tension building, incident, reconciliation, and calm. And we go around and around. And so you can see how these certain conditions, as they play into it, can be so similar to the abuse cycle, and that’s why people get stuck in it. If you know someone who’s in an abusive or controlling relationship, the best thing that we can do, is just listen, and try to be supportive. Don’t talk bad about the relationship, don’t get them to leave, and try to force them to leave, because that can only build on the shame and embarrassment that they may already feel due to that relationship. And just being there to listen, and support them, is honestly, at times, what they need. And encouraging them to get some professional support. You can talk about how, maybe, you’re in therapy, and it’s really helped to manage some of the things you’re going through, and you wondered if it might be helpful to them as well. And doing things kind of passively is honestly the best way to continue to have that relationship, so they don’t cut you out, and also be there to support them when they are ready and strong enough to make healthy decisions for them and their family. And like I said, there is so much more information on this topic. I find it so fascinating. I’ll be doing a whole other video on cognitive dissonance, and how that plays into it, but let me know. Give it a thumbs up if you want more videos about this, I can talk about the abuse cycle more, and as always, share in the comments, what are ways that you’ve gotten out of these relationships? What are things that you did? How did you get support? How did you see out of that psychologically trapping environment? And if you’re a friend of someone, how were you there, and how were you able to support? Even if something didn’t work, let us know what didn’t so that we can, as a community, come together and figure out what may help out, because it can feel so isolating and so difficult in situations like that, and we’re just here to help one another. Am I right? So let me know Give it a thumbs up! And I will see you next time!

100 thoughts on “What is STOCKHOLM SYNDROME? Abusive Relationships, psychology & mental health help with Kati Morton

  1. I'm so grateful for you making this video, it's been over a year now and I'm still trembling. Got into a relationship with a Russian girl who abused me. I couldn't lay my finger on it, she seemed so nice but and caring but in fact I was terrified of her. Every time we met up I could feel her energy grabbing a hold of me tightening it's grip. I had lost all control, my sanity, my friends, but my mom she knew and didn't give up on me. Now I'm terrified of people I can't seem to trust anyone or even myself. I was searching everyday what this terrible feeling was I couldn't shake off. I heard about the syndrome on a series I'm watching (money heist) now i know that I really need treatment for this traumatic experience. Thank you so much for helping me understand.

  2. I JUST FOUND YOUR VIDEO! I NOW BELIEVE THE REASON SHAN'ANN WATTS CONSTANTLY MADE LIVE VIDEOS WAS TO PROTECT AND ESCAPE FROM HER HUSBAND CHRIS WATTS! I ALSO BELIEVE HE HELD HIS TEMPER INSIDE UNTIL THAT MORNING SHE RETURNED HOME FROM HER TRIP AND MAYBE TOLD HIM SHE WAS LEAVING HIM? THEN HE SNAPPED? I MAY BE WRONG………..

  3. When i was in 8th grade, my best friend would come to school with bruises and marks. She was in 7th grade. I knew her family was abusive, but one day it went too far. She came to school with a hurt ankle and too much makeup on her face. She had pride her window open and jumped out of her second story window to get to school after her abusive grandfather nailed her window shut and locked her in her room. He had come into her room in the middle of the night to beat her because she hadnt finished a chore correctly. I had had enough of seeing her in so much pain, so i went and told a counselor about it. My friend freaked out and became very upset. She said that her grandfather told her he would become ill and die if she ever left. Then she began defending him and said that he wasnt that bad, that he did kind things sometimes and really did love her, and began to blame herself, saying that she should have done a better job on her chores, and been quieter, and so on. She was so upset that i went to the counselor and told them that i made it all up, and asked them not to contact her family or CPS.
    It honestly sounds like she has this but idk. I just wish i had done more then. We are adults now and she still lives with him. She has a baby growing up in that house as well. We arent friends anymore, we grew apart

  4. i feel like a stokholm empath .. i had a narc boyfriend and now i had to leave soscialpath, i want to choose a healthy relationship with my self also for my kid.. im done with my codepency 😳 finally understand the dynamic , i never experience being healthy because off how my mom treated me in the past. im sad verry sad and i fear to fall on my ass again , but i believe in god and stopping isnt a option , thank you for your video's i like to watch video's like this and from Ralph smart it helps me a lot

  5. yes this is the bullshit and more of what my parents do. theyre nasty narcs (although I feel sorry for them and yeah this thing of what you're talking about happens thank God and your video I know it's normal now. but its so annoying, anyway I know it's not my fault. I NEED to leave and have my own house but Im studying (trying to cause well living with this kind of people is so hard, and everything it's much difficult so it gets slower I guess) im being patient with myself, I need to get a job and keep studying and I will finally.., I hope, I will build what I need and finally Leave and be truly free, as I deserve.(sometimes that's a bit hard to believe, and its horrible) Thank you so much Kati for your videos♥

  6. I know I have this with my mother. She died 3 years ago. I feel like crying now.
    Among a lifetime of shit, she always hurt and took away our animals.
    Edit. She did all of these things

  7. Pretty sure law enforcement has this when it comes to their protecting of terrorist organizations such as the NBPP and BLM.

  8. This goes back to a recent Dr. Phil episode with the young girl who's in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend. From the segments I've watched I can see the parents are scared for their daughter because she's refusing to leave him in fear of what he will do to her.

  9. Now i understand why I’m still attached to my abusive ex husband. You literally just described my marriage spot on.

  10. Am I the only one that found this vid because I looked up Stockholm syndrome intending to find the song by 1D?

    Just me m’kay

  11. Basically, "Everyone" has had this, or is still suffering from this. Alot of people that work, can identify with this. Children with abusive parents. A kid being bullied at school. Hell, the world has Stockholm syndrome!

  12. This video would have been really helpful for me seven years ago. Luckily I had a long distance relationship with my abuser so he couldn´t isolate me that much. I still stayed for three years. Even after I had a break from him because I had someone else, in the end I got back to him because I felt guilty. I cut ties with him completely and he still tries to reconnect with me once a year, every year. This is seven years ago and I just recentely realized that I have been abused and my "love" was Stockholm Syndrome. I´m very thankfull for these videos! Even just by watching them it helps.

  13. I’m sorry to say, but you, the therapist has dissociate eyes !! Look it up and watch yourself Katie Morton I know !!!! Thank you for explaining this so well

  14. Stockholm syndrome could probably be used to brainwash cult members too. As in previously abused persons eventually come to see their "vault overseers" as a kind of hero.

  15. Please tell me the difference between this and Mancherian vie proxy?My mom was abused into my half sisters hands now she acts like she wants to be with the family abuser.

  16. My half sister placed me on Elder abuse to take all my rights from me and lied to al my family.My half sister wanted mom for her finances. I have been seeking assistance to clear my name ,my half sister places 2 pain packs a week on mom bought over the counter moms 91.My half sister tells mom she will never live back home in Iowa again.I have No support.

  17. My mom is like this with me, I always was opinionated, optimistic and full of life but over time including years she made me believe if I ever walk out her life and home I be homeless and alone also starved plus being bullied at schooled didn't help now I am on the brink of divorce from my wife because I fear the same fear of having nothing or being home less , I feel like it's my fault

  18. you can see this largely in sri lankan universities
    freshers are heavily abused by their seniors for about 3 to 6 months and all of a sudden seniors become extremely kind and supportive and in return the freshers become so loyal to them and most of the time be use by them

  19. Currently being held captive indirectly. I get calls at regulated intervals to show that I’ve been hacked and that I’m being followed. Even during the course of watching this video, I received a scam phone call.

  20. fuck i did not know my mother was doing this to me as well, on top of her physical and emotional abuse. she disallowed me to have friends that she doesn't like(she doesn't like anyone so basically she banned me from having friends). disallowed me to hang out with my friends/classmates, even when she did allow me to(which happened for like only 1-2 times in my entire life until i was 16-17), she would freak whenever she couldn't locate me: say i went to a class during the weekend (a few days/weeks after i hung out with some friends) and took a little bit longer to get home. she'd call every single number she know of my friends whom i previously hanged out with asking them where tf i was, when i actually alone and on the way home lmao. she wanted me to be completely separated from the outside world and the nice/normal people. and she succeeded, i now developed severe social phobia.

    when i was younger(i'm talking about maybe 5-6 yo until i was 10-12 ish), she beat me up whenever i talk to her coworkers. whenever we met her coworker outside of work, they would start talking casually, and the coworkers would talk to me, and i'd join the conversation. i was having fun talking to them, and there was no tension i could sense in our convos, they're laughing, my mother's smiling. but whenever we arrived home she'd put on a different face, as soon as she closed the front door she'd started to slap me, kick me and hit me. i didn't know why, it happened many times, the only reason i could think of previously was that she somehow felt embarrassed by me or thought i wasn't pleasing her coworkers enough(she's a massive people pleaser on the outside). now after watching this video i think maybe she was also terrified of me bounding with other people so i'd recognize how abusive she was or i won't be that easy to manipulate.

    when i was maybe 11-13 i learned to fight back at her or scream at her whenever she was being physically abusive. even now as an adult i was still a lot smaller than her and i had only grown taller than her this year, there was no way for me to win or harm her in any way, she has the strength to pick me up and throw me on the ground and she seemed to enjoy doing it a lot. when i started defending myself or acting out my misery, she somehow act like she's surprised and told me i've got some nerves for defending myself. she believes and made me believe that i deserved to be beaten and i shouldn't fight back bc i deserved it. sometimes i'd cry or scream when she was being physically abusive(yelling at me, throwing things at me, throwing dishes or chopsticks in my face on the dinner table, or pushing me, slapping me, kicking me), she told me if i don't calm down or "keep being a brat" she'd record it and send it to my school so everyone would know "what i truly am", sometimes she would really record it or have her phone out. i used to blame myself for my anger and thought I WAS the one being mean to her, now i know she's just afraid that i will leave or will realize she's in the wrong, or i will finally end the abuse then she has no where else to realse her anger to.

    another example is when i was 11-12, i went to my neighbors' house to watch my favorite show with my friend(my neighbors' daughter), her parents were both sitting in the living room watching the show with us. my mother came and ask me to go home, i asked her calmly(no tantrums, beggings or anything) if i could watch another episode before i went home, she said yes calmly(which is rare, she usually doesn't allow me to have any type of entertainment, and her being calm is extremely rare). she even went as far as to sat by me and hugged me while watching, which is something she never does (thinking back it's just a show to my neighbors). when we went home she suddenly put on a different face, hit me, slapped me until my nose bled and didn't stop. physical abuse occurred on a daily basis but only occasionally i would bleed. before i watched this video i thought it's bc she actually wanted to say no but couldn't due to her people-pleasing nature, she had to act like a good and understanding parent in front of our neighbor. she was mad at me for making her say things she didn't want to. now i think there's more reasons to it, she's afraid of me leaving her when i found better and more caring people, she's afraid that she can't have control over me anymore now that i was having a good and none abusive time outside of her.

  21. What if a spouse asked his partner to cut her relationship with a friend and threatened to leave her if she don't do it . Then if she did what he wants in order to stop him from leaving her and break up with her . Would that be considered as an abuse and a Stockholm syndrome ??

  22. Pllllz don't take long to upload the next part I'm Damon excited that I can't wait
    By the way that was an art piece goood jooob

  23. This right here just made me want to be a better man im 23 and im guilty… I aint shit but This lady say i can't change but im going to

  24. after watching this video, it made me think about this whole RKelly situation. have you seen that Gayle + Rkelly interview? would love to hear your reaction to it, from a therapist POV

  25. i kno someone goin through this currently. IDK what to do. i want to help them but it seems like their is nothing i can do

  26. Anyone here a Muse fan? I first learned about Stockholm Syndrome through my man Matthew Bellamy 🙂

  27. After 5 years of being married to my mentally unstable abusive wife i finally left with my kids after she cheated on me the 2nd time and i dont understand why she doesn't want me back but i could miss her so much….. lets just say i needed to watch this video

  28. Escape can also seem impossible when you've been in the abusive relationship long enough that the emotional distress has worn you down. After the abuser isolates you from outside perspectives (friends and family), they could make you feel responsible for that. They make you feel like nobody is there for you because you are not a good person, because you are not worth their time. They tell you that you are lucky they [your partner] puts up with you and stays with you as long as they have. What happens is you begin to believe it, your feeling of self-worth is jeopardized and it makes escape seem impossible…because even if you manage to leave the relationship, who's to say anyone else outside of the relationship will want you, or morally support you in any way?

  29. I was in a long term toxic relationship where my boyfriend was mostly rude and mean to me, and very demanding, but he was also sweet and supportive at times. I was too attached to leave him earlier even though he caused me excruciating emotional pain on daily basis.
    Now when we broke up, 4 months later I am still struggling to overcome my affection for him. It really feel as I am going through drug addiction withdrawal.

  30. This video just helped me so much. THANK YOU. I just filed a restraining order on my ex-boyfriend and I've dealt with all these things.

  31. Reminds me of the Stanford Prison Expirement if the prisoners went the exact opposite way.

  32. You are toking about mistyfied mental ilnes. This is not wrong, this is how society works. Evrybody is in abusive relation, in work, in home, in country. Evrybody demand from us to see world their eys and shere their ideals. If we have a problem, if we do not shere ideals with wife, she refiuse to have sex, if we do not akcept ideals of ouer chif we got fierd, if we do not akcept ideals of rooling party we suffer all kind of conseqences (inpizonment, biting by police, social ostracizm). So there is no stokholm syndrom or abusive relation. If we do not whant to be abiused we heave to abiuse someone else. There is no other way in relations with other pepole. There is always an abiuser and abiusiv, sometimes abiuser just do it all real sfouftly.

  33. I search what is stockholm syndrome is because a case that happened in South Korea where a child got kidnapped twice, on first case, she kidnapped in front of her school and after she found alive the kidnapped kid says "don't hurt him, please. He is such a kind person" (the fact that the kidnappers really bought the kid a new clothes and fed her)
    In second case, with the same victim, later 7 months after 1st kidnapping, she's once kidnapped again BY DIFFERENT PERSON. and the first kidnapper said to the second kidnapper to release the kid, and finally the kid got saved again for second attempted. CMIIW
    If you want to know the stories more you can watch THE CLASSIFIED FILES (2013) – a movie based on true story

  34. Soooooo glad I found this. I ABSOLUTELY know my father is a victim from my brother. May I talk to you about it?

  35. Would you agree black people have Stockholm syndrome due to slavery Jim crow welfare and many other tools of oppression we felt in America? May I use this video to explain my point

  36. I knew my situation must be called something. Now I know. In other words, I had, over many years, worked out what was happening to me, but, as you said, could not do anything about it. In my case, I left the abusive person three times, but then returned. Ir does seems that this behaviour is so ingrained in us in our childhood that no one can truly escape. I am seventy years old and am in a constant state of anxiety. I have sought help but the helpers were never successful. I am a truly emotional man. For example, I sought music to listen to as a child. It gave me the beautiful feelings of love that I never felt from my parents. It was a feeling that I was helpless and trapped in my situation – as children are. But the fortunate ones feel happy. Only music made me feel happy. I became a musician. Then I met a narcissist and felt that she was suitable for me to live with. I did not fall in love. I had already vowed never to marry because of the obvious failure of my parents' relationship. This person then proceeded to totally dominate my life. I was attracted by her strong character and believed she could look after me. She did, but as time went by, I realised that this security came at a price – my freedom. I did things that made me feel even more useless and guilty and that clinched the pattern of my life from then on. I still think I want to leave every day, but even when my partner tells me to go, I stay.

  37. My parents abused me emotionally, physically, sexually… I know I don't want to interact with them but mommy texted me and now I feel like my brain is wired totally different than it was before then, I don't feel any bad feelings towards them I love mommy I want mommy idk why we were so scared of her it wasn't that bad… But logically I know she tried to kill me, I… This isn't me, I don't know how to think like myself again, I feel so floaty and just wanna make them happy I wanna take care of them

    Idk how to find my true feelings again, I feel like brainwashed robot like my brain wiring totally shifted, she's got my brother I wanna see him I love them

    I so confused tho

  38. Its what u females fell for in the early 1920s. When italians came here n turned u into federal infornants n then u turned your kid into a corpse / federal informant presumed / federal child n not a man or woman… maternity act of 1921 ring a bell ???

  39. N u want me to trust u w paperwork ? Maybe u should lay off alcohol first .. n stop cheating cuz clearly thats whats occurred around 1917 to 1929.

  40. Cheating on your foriegn soldier, baseball player or just an average joe, by an italian while they gone. Basically u got an arab under sharia doing it now or some other idiot practicing it

  41. N maybe u didnt cheat , maybe your simple simon husband was even there. N u two just accepted the paperwork n thought it was "The United States of America"

  42. This makes me think it also has to do with authority, all of a sudden you feel completely forced to obey this faux authority figure out of fear for what might happen- and what are we tought in society? Listen to our superiors / authority figures and in general the PERSON in charge. Once they've been stripped away from standing on equal ground I think it very quickly becomes… oh, I'm on the bottom now, there's nothing I deserve anymore or can ask for or do. So when the abuser then offers them aid, it's like they're being treated special / well for no reason what-so-ever.

  43. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for 2 years and I didn’t leave until I saw texts of him talking about cheating on me. I was heart broken at the time but now I just wish I had‘ve caught him sooner

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