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"STOCKHOLM" Syndrome:
Souls Held Hostage in Psychiatry, Families and Workplaces

by Patricia Lefave, D.D.(P), B.R.P., "The Mystical Madwoman"

Those we do not feel the need to raise too high in the beginning, we will not feel the need to knock down in the end.

People in dangerous situations from which there is no escape, such as children, psych. patients, prisoners, kidnap victims etc., try to bond with the controller.

Why do they do that?
Survival instinct.

What do they do?
They try to "understand" the controller's problem, thinking and reactions. They adapt their own thinking and reactions as a complement to the controller's. They try to turn adversarial opposites into complementary opposites.

Why?
To reduce the danger to themselves. He's less likely to hurt them, isolate them, or kill them, if they can bond with him. Instinctively, they know that he needs validation at some level, but they don't realize that validating his perverted reasoning (which they are only doing because they are trapped within the relationship) is supporting the distortion and reinforcing the imbalance of power.

Their fear of him, which they dare not allow to show on their faces, takes precedence over logic. This is not about reason for either the group being controlled, or the controller. It's about survival for the group, and about power and control of the group, by the one on top.

This co-dependent thinking is about surviving in relationship with someone who is psychologically twisted, who holds all the power, and who cannot be escaped. It's the relationship of dysfunctional opposites: powerful/powerless, like evil conjoined twins.

Who is the future "schizophrenic" then?
The one who reasons about, and questions everything, and who thinks everyone has the same potential for understanding and communion. And she's right. But, the group is focused on survival, not resolution, nor reaching mutual understanding. Their attitude is more primal than that.

Both sides want to ensure group survival, but the group tries to do it by bonding with the aggressor on his terms, and the "future schizo" wants to do it by disempowering the concepts which generates the top down power structure itself.

She wants no one to have power over others, nor to feel powerless, trapped, or helpless. She tries to reason with what is not reasonable. While she is operating on the level of concepts, the controller is operating on the territorial level, defending his position.

So what happens?
Future Schizo, a born Rescuer if ever there was one, tries to expose the problem itself in order to resolve it. (Always thinking and questioning you see.) She has faith in the positive outcome. The controller and the group don't see what she sees. She is able to see farther ahead, because she is extrapolating from the abstract paradigm from which SHE operates, which lies behind the concrete details, and not from the immediate situation.

She is giving the controller and the group credit for a desire to grow and learn that does not interest him, and often holds little interest for the group. The group sees neither the possibility of changing the controller's thinking, nor the possibility of escape. Since they don't, they want the future schizo to shut up, and like them, pretend not to notice the aggressor's irrationality. They want her to adapt to the aggressor's needs as they have. They have learned to think in dualistic terms as a survival skill. It has become the norm for them. Direct genuine communication is now abnormal in relationship to the controller, and in the current situation.

The future schizo's beliefs are alien to the controller, and to the group mind. The group mind can be a lot like trying to reason with a Beast, or a swarm of angry bees. Sometimes, it seems to future schizo, it's like trying to talk to a species from some other planet! You would think they had never seen what seems to the future schizo, to be perfectly obvious.

The group, fearing the controller's reaction to the overt challenge from the one seeking resolution, tries to stop her attempt to resolve. They try to talk her out of her awareness, her accurate perception, and her appropriate emotional responses to the boundary violating neediness of the controller. But the future schizo can't help but see farther ahead than the group. How does one become unaware, after one has become aware? She sees that if this warped relating is not interrupted, the result, at the point of ultimate reality, is going to be one of mutual loss, rather than mutual survival. It may seem like survival in the short term, but, it will be a long term disaster.

We don't like to look the wild beast in the eye, as we know he will consider it a challenge to his territorial nature, rather than an attitude of equality. A higher mind cannot relate to the primal beast on the same level. Sometimes we err because we fail to see the beast as he really is. Once we do though, we learn to relate to the beast on his own terms.

The danger is in the tendency to adapt too well, and the beast's terms become our terms as well. That's what we are learning to do now; talk to the animals but without losing touch with reality while we do it.

This is the reality the group won't face, deal with, or even hear about. They don't want to even think about it. So, to keep the dysfunction going, as is, motivated by their own survival WITHIN the dysfunctional system, the group treats the future schizo like a "disease" attacking the body, from which they must protect themselves. They close ranks, defend the dysfunctional system, and protect the controller, who holds the power over them all, and who may turn on them also if they don't. They know that as long as they agree, or at least appear to agree with him, their relationship with him will go much easier than if they confront the irrationality head on. They are actually reinforcing their own entrapment in group dysfunction, but they don't see it that way. Especially since most of the focus in now on the dissident member, and that takes the pressure off the other members.

Group dysfunction works in a way, provided everybody inside the system co-operates with it, and with their assigned roles. The dis-ease or sickness is really inherent within the dysfunctional system itself, and the future schizo is actually the "treatment" that could heal the whole group. But because the group has adapted to survive, by pretending not to notice the irrationality of the controller, and/or his system, they also don't notice their adaptation is a now a relic from an earlier stage of development, a regressive tactic from the limbic brain.

This Syndrome is so ingrained that when a real rescuer arrives, they are no longer capable of recognizing the reality of it. In fact, the hostages to the past may even become enraged towards the one who tries to free them for upsetting the one in control.

So, we who have become accustomed to dysfunctional relating as a way of life, spend most of our time being very careful not to upset the controller in any way, for a number of seemingly "good" reasons. Ultimately though, we do it for only one reason: We want to survive our relationship with him, and we fear that if we expose the truth about him, right out in the open, we may not survive doing so. Usually that means psychological survival, but it sometimes can mean physical survival as well, depending upon the specific situation.

If the situation in question is one in which we are physically trapped, without any hope of escape, the adaptation to the controller's thinking and feelings becomes more of a necessity, and much more intense. Controllers become overt aggressors, and subject to rage more often, when their power is challenged.

Instead, we try ever so gently and cautiously, to reason him out of, what was never based on reason in the first place. Unfortunately, as long as we do, and as long as we prevent exposure of the group irrationality, so as to avoid playing the role of the bearer of bad news, the Co-dependent Dance will go on....and on....and on...generation after generation, until it reaches it's ultimate outcome. That outcome is the destruction of every thing and every one still trapped like hostage souls within the Perverted Paradigm of Domination and Submission.

That's the spirit that drives the dysfunctional machine. Protecting, defending, and denying the irrationality of the leader of such systems, for what is originally, the sake of survival, is also the genesis of group madness. Psychospiritual madness. Not pathology. Protecting and enabling are two sides of the same coin.

Training people, who are directed not to think for themselves, works in it's way. It elicits an automatic response like rats trained to ring a bell for food. The more fearful the rat becomes, the better he gets at getting the food the trainer gives him, for doing what the trainer desires him to do.

Real understanding comes from within and is acute awareness rather than a robot like response to stimuli. A lot of "good" training is hypnotic. It is often the people who are willing to give up self control, who are the most well trained. They are best at being "compliant." I think though that we are supposed to be evolving beyond the level of well trained vermin.

I told a psychotherapist in 1996 that psychiatry is preventing the evolution of human beings by defining it as "disease" process and that "schizophrenia" is the exact opposite of what almost everybody "thinks" it is.

The definition of mental health is simple. It's mutual respect for boundaries based on equality of worth. Whatever is outside of that paradigm is the point where our group "sickness" begins. This is not a hardware problem. This is a software problem. We won't get the bugs out of the software by taking apart the hardware. It doesn't compute. This concept is simple. Some think too simple. I think it's getting out of the old relationship of dysfunction, with it's bouncing back and forth between polar opposites that is the really hard work. Especially since we all react automatically to our programming.

We need to let go of the concept of "fixing" others, and letting, or needing others to "fix" us. We need to focus on the concepts that allow us to fix ourselves and aid others to fix themselves, only by our revelation of the paradigm, and by our example. That means if someone wants to hear what I'm saying, that's fine and if they don't, that's fine too, as long as neither of us imposes our will on the other.

We must end the practice of coercion in all it's forms, by recognizing that it's the coercion ITSELF that is causing the problem. Our human interaction can either redeem us or destroy us, depending upon the premise and goal of our reasoning. Power over others doesn't work simply because what everybody really wants the most is SELF control. The controlled "others" always get pissed off or fearful because of the imbalance of power. When we try to take other people's power away from them, the chances are pretty good that if the controlled one can't talk you out of your violation of his space, he may get angry, enough to give you a concrete demonstration of what it's like to be on the receiving end of your control. The attempt is to convince the controller to back off. Perhaps if we stop trying to control anyone other than ourselves, we will stop needing either to teach, or be taught, this painful lesson.

Is biology destiny?
Our bodies didn't make us do this. Our collective fears made us do this. We have thoroughly brainwashed ourselves to accept an alternate version of "reality" so that we won't have to face the awful truth. When the group madness is also denied, and furiously defended, it becomes the construct which is perceived as the new "norm"; a norm reached by group consensus.

After that, anyone who still sees the truth about what is really going on, will be defined as abnormal for seeing something the group no longer sees. The group now defends the paradigm of the alternate reality they have created, the consensus reality, on which it seems their survival now depends. Rather than recognize the group's failure to see what is there, they now focus on invalidating the perception and reactions of the soon-to-be-schizophrenic, by claiming SHE is seeing things that aren't there. Therefore, it is now the one who sees who is defective and not those in the group who don't see. The group now has to "save" it's defective member by getting her the "help" she obviously needs for her "delusional" beliefs. It's for her own good.

Actually, it's for their own good, as they perceive "good". Their survival as a group depends upon keeping the dysfunction intact. Some of the groups who have saved their defectives have even told us so: "We had to sacrifice her for the sake of the (group)."

We humans have grown very adept at sacrificing the truth for the sake of the lie. Unless we see the whole infinite loop of dysfunctional reasoning from start to finish, we will all remain trapped within it. Once seen though, we transcend the distorted paradigm, begin to see it from a position outside of it, and become able to escape it at last.

Now, to get reality back on track, we must travel in the opposite direction. That means blaming the controller for controlling, the aggressor for the aggression, blaming the group for supporting both the aggressor and the aggression, whether willfully or blindly, BUT (and that's my big but) letting go of vengeance. That's how we break the cycle for good, rather than what we've been doing. We've been playing an endless sick game of switch and repeat, going around in circles, in a robot-like stimulus/response pattern.

Paradoxically, it is the perverted attempt to survive a system from which there has been no escape possible, which feeds the perversion and supports the ones who create it. Exposure of this mad game disempowers it and that's what we all need, but unless we go full circle, the Circle we all sense together, inside the symbolic maze of psychosis, we won't see the whole thing. To reach the Omega of our collective madness, we must return to the Alpha. We need to understand that the end of the "Loop of Destruction" as I called it in my own psychotic utterance, is also the starting point. This group madness will last only as long as we adhere, like loyal hostages, in literal "bondage" to Dysfunctional Rule #1.

email: Psychevolution @ yahoo.ca
Patricia's Blog: www.beyondthepsychiatricbox.blogspot.com

© 2003, Patricia Lefave


View our related articles:
"The Minds of Psychiatrists Research Project"

The Psychiatric Tautology: Our Collective Nightmare by Paticia Lefave

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