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Some psychologists suggest Stockholm Syndrome has its roots in childhood identification with a powerful parent. It's also speculated to be a remnant of something that evolved in humanity's tribal past -- women and children captured in raids, if they were able to switch allegiance to that of their captors, survived longer and reproduced. Another theory is that under extreme stress, people interpret even the most basic acts of preservation as a rewarding event, such as the chance to drink water or use the bathroom -- even if it is in irrelevant amounts or it comes from the person who's causing said stress to begin with.
- the situation takes a long time to be resolved and
- the captor must show the captive some form of kindness.
Yet, after looking into cases involving the Stockholm Syndrome, some psychologists have sum up the necessary conditions for triggering the Stockholm Syndrome into four:
- The victim is isolated,and in otherwords has no means to receive messages directed to them from other than the captor(s).
- The captor(s) has full power over the victim's freedom and life in the duration of isolation.
- The isolation lasts for a relatively long period of time(for the victim's sense of time).
- The captor(s) has show the captive some form of kindness to the victim in the duration of isolation.
(note that there are still questions about whether is it necessary for the captor(s) to present him/herself to the victim during condition 2. and 4. in order to trigger the syndrome.)
Another common factor is that, if negotiations seem extremely long and drawn out, the captive will begin to feel frustration and some resentment towards the people trying to rescue them, and the captor often has similar feelings towards the same party. Sharing their frustrations in conversation may become a bonding point between captor and captive, and a feeling of camaraderie may form.
A common misconception is that it is impossible to develop Stockholm Syndrome if you know about it. The logic is that if ignorance is not present, there is a high chance that a captive will be able to resist any affection. The truth is that, while it may help delay the onset, it won't make it impossible. Stockholm Syndrome develops when the captive interprets some of the captor's actions or lack of specific actions as kindness. Those actions and avoided actions can include not killing anyone, not hurting anyone, staying one's hand before an act of violence, telling the captives how negotiations for their freedom are going, actively trying to keep everyone calm, or even a brief conversation (especially one where the captor's side of the story is voiced).
Because the process is entirely subconscious on the captive's part, it is unlikely they will realize they are developing Stockholm Syndrome, so even if they know about it, the captive is not immune. However, if the captive knows how Stockholm Syndrome develops, that person would more capable of actively resisting it through various methods, and perhaps trying to make their captors succumb to Lima Syndrome themselves -- deliberately encouraging their captor to tell their side of the story, or prompting interaction between captor and captive -- although actively trying to make your captor feel sympathetic for you is risky, as you may succumb to Stockholm Syndrome in the process, or alternatively somebody could get shot.
- Although it does vary depending on the situation and the captives' personality (someone submissive vs. someone defiant or female vs. male, for example)
- whether a genuine Pet the Dog moment by the captor, or merely interpreted as such by the captive
- Or if a kidnapping victim feels the police aren't even trying to find them