Being in love with the enemy

February 2022 edition

Being in love with the enemy

Article summary

Stockholm syndrome is a psychological phenomenon that can happen in people who are living a situation of intense stress and danger, such as an abduction, a home arrest, or abuse. In these situations, the victim tends to develop a relationship with the aggressors. This is an unconscious response due to a dangerous situation, which leads the victim to establish an emotional bond with the aggressors, in order to feel safe and calm. Let’s see whether we are also victims or not.

Recently, someone has shared an article with me, which they have compared this situation into political interest etc.  When I read it, as usual Dhamma thoughts came into my mind & as usual here am I, sharing a bit of those with you.

Even though Stockholm syndrome is not an official mental health diagnosis, there are some characteristics that can be noticed when a person is going through this condition.  Development of positive feelings for the aggressor, Development of negative feelings about the police, authorities or others who are helping the victim to move away from the aggressor, Development of emotional identification and friendship with the aggressor, The belief that the aggressor has the same values ​​and goals in life.  So, let’s find some Dhamma on this. 

The Aggressor can be compared to the “SELF”. The feeling of “I” and "Mine" and the agitated mind which is always in charge of us.  We are the victims who tend to develop a relationship with this aggressor.  From the moment we were born till the moment of our death, we are developing positive feelings for the aggressor.  This aggressor always in demand of form to eyes, sounds to ears, fragrances to nose, tastes to tongue, contacts to body & feelings, thoughts to mind.  This aggressor abuses us all the time.  The pain - bodily or mentally… The demand… The controlling nature… Every single nature of “SELF” can be compared to an aggressor.    But we already developed a positive feeling for this aggressor.  WE ARE BASICALLY IN LOVE WITH THE “SELF”.  Like it says, this is not directly identified as a psychiatric disease, but just a psychological condition caused due to some situations.  Perfectly matching to the situation, we are stuck.    

So, as victims of this syndrome, we don’t like Dhamma which explains how dangerous the aggressor named “SELF” is.  We refuse Samma SamBuddha who tries to help us to overcome this abuser.  We don’t like those who explain Dhamma to us, who are trying to help move away from the “SELF”.  Coz we strongly believe that the aggressor has the same values & goals, and we call it “LIFE”.  We believe in “LIFE” and without “SELF” how can we spend a better life?

Stockholm syndrome characteristics are triggered by feelings of insecurity, isolation and or threat mostly.  It says, it is a way for the subconscious to maintain life. Same way, we don’t like the feeling of losing “SELF”. So, we fear for the Nibbana… The liberation.  We feel so insecure about Dhamma and its outcome because we are obsessed with the “SELF”.  We fear for the liberation… we are afraid of losing & letting go of what we value.     

A small act of kindness by the offender named “SELF” tend to be amplified by victims who are developing this syndrome, which makes us feel more secure and calm about the situation, disregarding the real threat we are living.   What causes this syndrome?  What can be the reasons? It says this is usually developing in situations that are life-threatening and where there are hostages. Some factors that have been identified to influence the development of this type of syndrome include, personality type and personal history of the person being held hostage, need for approval by authority figures such as boss or parents, Time the victim spent with the kidnapper.

So, imagine we are spending all the time from birth to death with the aggressor call “SELF”. And have all the identified reasons with the “SELF”.  It’s obvious that we don’t want to be liberated and develop affection towards “SELF”.

So, my dear Dhamma friends, as long as we are not AWARE of the true nature of this aggressor call “SELF” we all are victim of this Stockholm Syndrome.  You can compare this to many worldly topics, and identify few victims accordingly, but in real everybody who are not aware about the true aggressor named “SELF” is a victim of this syndrome.

So, in worldly ways, there are no specific treatment for Stockholm syndrome.  But in True Dhamma of the blessed one, you find the cure.  Because you can find out about the true nature of the aggressor and how you are in danger through Samma SamBuddha’s Teachings.  Then, that awareness, that realization becomes the key to your true liberation!  Have a blessed time with the treatments!

Rajitha Viduransi | Kelaniya, Sri Lanka