So it seems appropriate on Valentine’s Day to talk about capture-bonding or Stockholm syndrome.
Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with the captors. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness.
Stockholm syndrome can be seen as a form of traumatic bonding which describes “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.” One commonly used hypothesis to explain the effect of Stockholm syndrome is based on Freudian theory. It suggests that the bonding is the individual’s response to trauma in becoming a victim. Identifying with the aggressor is one way that the ego defends itself. When a victim believes the same values as the aggressor, they cease to be perceived as a threat (from wiki)
So why am I discussing this psychological phenomena today of all days? It’s because many of us use the analogy of booze being like an initially loving, but turned bad, boyfriend or abusive partner. When I was in the depths of my drinking I saw booze as my best friend, someone that I could not possibly live without despite all the trouble I ended up getting myself into because of this substance. When we are active in our drinking we defend it, can’t see that it might be a threat to us and that we are a victim to our addiction. We are alcohol’s captive.
How many times did I say to myself the morning after nights out that because nothing bad had happened we were okay. It was okay for me to carry on drinking. A lack of abuse as an act of kindness.
Our thinking becomes so warped and our loyalty so strong that we ignore the signs right in front of us as to the real danger posed by our own behaviour when under the influence of booze. We can only see this with the benefit of distance and sober hindsight (thanks Mrs D).
So I say to you today, if you are reading this and booze is dictating your life, if you are prioritising drinking over other elements of your life (which I was) you can break free. You do not need to continue the destructive dance with booze and there are many of us out here online who are only too happy to help if you reach out.
Love yourself today and in the ultimate act of self-care set yourself free <3