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Stockholm Syndrome - Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers


Stockholm Syndrome is a very interesting psychological phenomenon, and it applies directly to daughters of narcissistic mothers.

Stockholm Syndrome is, in essence, the trait of abused people to bond closely with their abusers.

It was first identified in 1973 in Stockholm, Sweden (hence the name) when victims of a bank hostage situation bonded with their hostage-taker to the extent of clinging to them when the police were arresting them and refusing to testify against them in court.

Since then, it has been seen again and again, most recently in the cases of Elisabeth Smart, Natascha Kampusch and Jaycee Lee Duggard who all had the opportunity to escape, but didn't take it.

It's a survival trait, it actually makes sense in many ways.

And interestingly, it seems that victims of abusers as well as kidnappers experience this. And I can see that it applies to daughters of narcissistic mothers. I look back now that I'm free of my mother and father's toxicity and cannot believe that I put up with so much bad treatment.

Several traits have to be present in order for Stockholm Syndrome to happen. They are:

The victim must feel that there is very real danger to their very survival.
The victim must be cut off from all other perspectives other than those of the abuser - i.e. that the abuser is the only source of information the person receives.
The victim must have a real, or perceived, inability to escape from the situation.
The abuser must give occasional kindnesses to the victim.
That last is very important. It's the kindnesses which cause the bonding. Because of the fear and isolation the person experiences, the small kindnesses assume a huge importance in the mind of the victim. He or she becomes incredibly grateful for them. The victim even becomes grateful for things which are their right, such as food, but which they didn't think they'd get and are grateful they did.

One survivor of an aeroplane hijacking said: “They weren’t bad people. They let me eat, they let me sleep, they gave me my life”.

I find that very interesting, that that person was for them giving him his life, when the truth was that the hostage-takers threatened his life. If they 'gave' him his life and spared him, it wasn't a favour they were doing him - it was his right to keep his life!

Now, how do these four elements apply to daughters of narcissistic mothers?

I don't know if we're in danger of our lives. It's the only one of these four points I'm not sure about. But I think that the mother-child relationship is soooooo integral to a baby/child's survival that any cracks in it will, at a very primeval level, make us fear for our survival. And the fact that we do seem to have Stockholm Syndrome makes me think this element must, in fact, apply too.

As for the second trait - this is where gaslighting comes in. Our mothers cannot literally and physically isolate us from other perspectives. But

they can make sure we don't believe any other information except for what the tell us - up to and including our own perceptions/senses!

The third trait is of course self-evident. A child does have a very real inabililty to escape. But even more, the abuse can by very subtle (and they tell us it's our fault etc), so that we don't even realise there's anything to escape from! And then, even as adults, our culture tells us that we must love our mothers! So we struggle to escape even then.

And then the fourth trait. The occasional kindnesses. Since running my forum I've read so, so many Daughters say that their mothers are sometimes kind to them. And that confuses them. It's intended to confuse them, I'd say. But more, these crumbs of kindness or attention or whatever, trigger the Stockholm Syndrome, which keeps the daughter even more trapped.

If you are the Daughter of a Narcissistic Mother, don't be fooled by occasional niceness. Healthy relationships are nice the majority of the time. Indeed, I'll go further, and say that while people who are functional and healthy can sometimes be angry, or grumpy, or selfish, or thoughtless etc (same as we all can), they'll never be sneering or nasty or dismissive or cruel.

But even if they are, it should be the absolute exception. Not the normal state of affairs.

So, consider if you might be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, if you feel you can't leave her.

Source: 404 Resource not found error  Daughters With Narcissistic Mothers


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Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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