The Four Horsemen of Domestic Violence: striking – means love?
The terrifying prevalence of this phenomenon suggests that the mechanisms that are triggered in the psyche of the victim are not rare and abnormal phenomena, but quite characteristic of many of us. So, get acquainted: 1. Stockholm syndrome. A strange story happened in Stockholm during the hostage-taking: victims of bandits suddenly began to defend their tormentors. Then a phenomenon called Stockholm syndrome (that is, the victim’s sympathy for the tormentor) was observed in other cases. In particular, domestic Stockholm syndrome often occurs in women exposed to domestic violence: they hide and / or justify the sadistic behavior of the husband. Children behave similarly. At first glance, it may seem that this mechanism is not logical at all. But in fact, everything that happens in our psyche in extreme situations serves one purpose – survival. When a person is convinced that he has no way out, that there is no escape from the tormentor and it is impossible to resist him, then the “hit or run” strategy will not help. So, you need to use another way to survive – to freeze, adapt to the environment. If you try to understand a person, try to please him, then he will be less likely to show anger. It is this logic that guides our psyche in the case of the Stockholm syndrome. Under the influence of this phenomenon, victims of violence “copy” the logic of their tormentor. The victim, as it were, “absorbs” his values, and then there are already two sadists: one outside (who beats), the other inside, in the head (who says “she is to blame”). In fact, the victim also becomes an aggressor. But her anger is directed at herself. 2. Learned helplessness. If we try to do something many times, but it doesn’t work, then we just stop trying. After all, the brain concluded: we are powerless. And in such a situation, our behavior is not controlled by reality, but precisely this conclusion. This is called learned helplessness. It is believed that no one is completely immune to learned helplessness. But there are people in whom it arises faster. These are those who have already had experience of their helplessness, or have observed the powerlessness of others. If a person did not have the opportunity to control his life, then he will transfer this feeling to other situations. Simply put, he ceases to believe in his ability to influence anything at least. And if he also saw the unsuccessful attempts of others, then this feeling becomes even stronger. Therefore, we so often hear from victims of domestic violence something like “everybody lives like that / all men cheat / and my girlfriend’s is even worse”, because their environment often has no other examples. Who tried to change the situation – it was only worse. “Worse” is about loneliness as well. After all, if the victim does not believe in the ability to manage his own life, then loneliness for her is one hundred percent “loss” in the struggle for happiness. She alone does not organize it for herself; she does not believe in the possibility of another life. 3. Dependence. Regarding masochists (and we are talking about this) there are two ideas: some say that masochists love pain, while others say that they are attracted to getting rid of pain. In my opinion, one does not interfere with the other, but even contributes. Any addiction – love, drugs, alcohol, games – works according to the same scheme. The key role in it is played by strong emotions, or rather, the quick change of polar emotions. The buzz is changing for breaking, happiness next to a loved one – for melancholy from his absence. So a strong attachment arises. In the case of domestic violence, the victim does not fall in love with the tormentor, but with his suffering, with strong feelings. Just as they often fall in love not with a partner, but with his inaccessibility. And as soon as the object becomes available – then either the interest disappears, or a third one arises. 4. Change of roles. There is an axiom in psychology: the share of sadism in a person is equal to the share of his masochism. The victims of domestic violence are most directly affected. After all, after the tormentor beat / cheated / offended, he so sincerely apologizes, so tries to fix everything, that … temporarily changes roles with the masochist. Now power (temporarily) belongs to the victim. She again begins to believe that the sadist is really good, that you can agree with him, that he loves and is ready for anything, if only to improve. For such couples, love resembles a dismemberment. She loves him not entirely, but only that half of him who apologizes. And he loves in her not her herself, but her masochism. That is, they both love those parts of each other that … give power, a sense of need and a feeling that they love you. And, of course, the contrast they need between helplessness and omnipotence.