Stockholm Syndrome in a Romantic Relationship

Written by Joseph M. Carver, PhD

Joseph M. Carver, PhD is a private practice practitioner in Portsmouth, Ohio who wrote an editorial in 2007 suggesting that Stockholm Syndrome occurs in abusive romantic relationships.

During the relationship, the abuser/controller may share information about their past – how they were mistreated, abused, neglected, or wronged. The victim begins to feel the abuser/controller may be capable of fixing their behavior or worse yet, that they (abuser) may also be a "victim". Sympathy may develop toward the abuser and we often hear the victim of Stockholm Syndrome defending their abuser with "I know he fractured my jaw and ribs…but he's troubled. He had a rough childhood!" Losers and abusers may admit they need psychiatric help or acknowledge they are mentally disturbed, however, it's almost always after they have already abused or intimidated the victim.

In his article, Carver attempts to explain the complex feelings and attitudes that are as puzzling to the victim as they are to family and friends. I've outlined recommendations for detaching from a Loser or controlling/abusive individual but clearly, there are more victims in this situation. It is hoped this article is helpful to family and friends who worry, cry, and have difficulty understanding the situation of their loved one. It has been said that knowledge is power. Hopefully this knowledge will prove helpful and powerful to victims and their loved ones.

Based on discussions with experts in this field, BPDFamily no longer features this article. Stockholm Syndrome was originally identified as a stranger on stranger dynamic and has little application in the type or family relationships discussed here. We still maintain links to the article to help members understand how this idea come about. It is an interesting read and a copy of the original is located here.

Archived Articles Not On Main Website:
Sexual Addiction: When the Sex is Too Important Boundaries Tools of Respect. Leaving A Partner with Borderline Personality How to Forgive an Abusive Parent The Perceptions of the Loved-one and the BPD are Very Different. Is Your Partner Serious About BPD Therapy. Now That You Are Separated. Becoming Dependent on an Abusive Partner. Stockholm Syndrome in a Romantic Relationship

Updated: 06/03/14