The Stockholm syndrome refers to someone held hostage coming to sympathize with and even take the side of the hostage holder.
That can happen with us when we get caught up in an issue. The issue holds us hostage. We are at its mercy. And we may not only sympathize with it but come to take its side. We perceive through the issue. We act on it. And we defend it and find reasons why its right.
This is also an example of how the wider world mirror ourselves in different ways. Our perception of the whole world is filtered through an overlay from our mental field (labels, stories). And the dynamics we see in the wider world mirror dynamics in us as human beings. It can be an interesting exploration to take anything we see in the world, and especially that which draws our attention for whatever reason, and find a similar dynamic in ourselves.
In this case, the Stockholm syndrome reflects when we are held hostage by emotional issues (wounds, trauma, beliefs) and then go one step further and side with the issue.
I have written other articles about healing from emotional issues so I’ll just say a few things about it here.
The healing process tend to go through three general phases. First, we are held hostage and in the Stockholm syndrome. Then we are still held hostage but not in the Stockholm syndrome. And then we are freed from being held hostage.
The healing itself has two sides: healing our relationship with the issue and the Stockholm syndrome, and inviting in healing for the issue itself. These go hand-in-hand and either one tends to make the other easier.
Notes and drafts….
How do we find healing for our relationship to the issue and the Stockholm syndrome?
The first step is to recognize the issue and how we relate to it, including the Stockholm syndrome.
And how do we find healing for the issue itself?
The other is inviting healing for the issue itself. These two go hand in hand and either one tends to make the other easier.
Here it is in more detail:
First, we are not only held hostage but we are also in the Stockholm syndrome. We are blind to it and don’t even recognize it as an issue.
The first step of the healing process is to recognize the issue and the Stockholm syndrome dynamic after the the storm has passed and we feel more sane. After a while, we may recognize it as it happens without being able to do much about it.
The first actual step out of the Stockholm syndrome is to find that the issue is triggered but we don’t act on it or defend it in the same way. We may be able to admit openly to ourselves and the other person (if another person is involved) what’s going on.
After a while, we may find that the issue is not holding us hostage in the same way. We notice that the issue is triggered and we don’t get very much caught in it. And the issue itself may wear out over time so it doesn’t come up or only comes up as a memory of how it used to be.
How do we go about finding this healing? The first step is to recognize the issue and how we relate to it, including the Stockholm syndrome. We can get to know the issue and the dynamic better, for instance through dialog and hearing what it has to say. We can change our relationship to the issue, for instance through dialog and heart-centered practices (ho’o, tonglen). We can invite in healing for the issue in whatever ways work for us (dialog, inquiry, somatic work, energy healing etc.). And we can even invite in awakening for the issue. We can help it align with the reality of oneness.