Domestic Violence and Stockholm Syndrome: Is There a Connection?

Domestic Violence and Stockholm Syndrome: Is There a Connection?

WodBottom's mission has always been to support the survivors of domestic violence and their families. We do this in part by donating a portion of our profits to Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS), but also by sharing blogs dedicated to talking about domestic violence and the issues surrounding it. 

We discuss domestic abuse to empower victims and survivors, break the stigma surrounding the issue, promote healthy relationships, and in an attempt to create a safer, more compassionate society. 

Domestic Violence and Stockholm Syndrome 

Domestic violence and Stockholm syndrome are two related but distinct concepts.

Domestic violence refers to the physical, psychological, or sexual abuse of a partner or family member in an intimate relationship.

Stockholm syndrome, on the other hand, is a psychological condition where a captive begins to sympathize with and even defend their captor.

Despite these differences, there is a connection between domestic violence and Stockholm syndrome, which can make it difficult for victims of domestic violence to leave their abusive relationships.

What is the Connection?

In a domestic violence situation, the victim is essentially being held captive in their own home, constantly subjected to abuse and control by their partner. Over time, the victim may begin to feel a sense of fear and dependence on their abuser, leading to the development of Stockholm syndrome. The victim may feel that their abuser is the only person who can help them, or that they cannot survive without them.

This kind of psychological manipulation can make it extremely difficult for a victim of domestic violence to leave their relationship, even in the face of ongoing abuse. The victim may feel like they are being loyal to their partner, or that they do not deserve to be treated any better. They may also feel like they cannot trust anyone else, or that they will not be believed if they try to seek help.

It is important to understand that victims of domestic violence are not at fault for developing Stockholm syndrome. This condition is a result of the intense psychological manipulation and control that they are subjected to by their abuser. It is also a condition that can be difficult to break and may require professional help to overcome.

The Warning Signs

There are several warning signs that someone may be experiencing Stockholm Syndrome in the context of domestic violence.

These can include:

  • Justifying the abuser's behavior and making excuses for them
  • Believing that they are the cause of the abuse and that they deserve it
  • Fearing retribution or violence if they attempt to leave the relationship
  • Refusing to acknowledge or report the abuse
  • Developing feelings of affection or love for the abuser

How to Get Help

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and may have developed Stockholm Syndrome, it is important to seek help. This can include reaching out to a domestic violence hotline, contacting a local shelter, or seeking support from friends and family members.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a confidential resource designed to educate survivors and connect them with the resources they need to thrive. Visit, call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or text “START” to 88788 to connect with a trusted advocate.

Click here to learn more about reporting domestic abuse safely.
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