Stockholm syndrome

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Stockholm syndrome is the name given to the psychological phenomenon wherein, after enough time in captivity, hostages begin to identify more with their captor (or captors) and less with their life before captivity. The term "Stockholm syndrome" was first used to describe the events of a six-day hostage situation that followed a bungled bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden. By the time they were released, the hostages sympathized with and defended the robbers.[1]

Cult members and others who have been brainwashed also exhibit many of the traits of Stockholm syndrome. Their ability to parrot dogma and talking points combined with their inability to accept any facts that contradict their worldview are telltale signs that one has been indoctrinated while in captivity.


The captives are often isolated from the outside world allowing them to see the viewpoint of their kidnapper. Hostages can also feel their kidnapper is doing them a favor by not killing them. This can make hostages see their captor in a more positive light. In addition, living together for long periods can bring two different people together. The hostage and the kidnapper may start to share their common interests. [2]

See also[edit]


  1. The typical argument goes: "We're going to rob this bank because they caused economic woes! But don't mind us when we do the same to you!"