How to Help a Family Even if They Don’t Ask For Help

By: Leah Talley (Wesolowski)

I’m still of the opinion that many parents alienate their children from their ex-spouses at first by accident. I still believe a person never stops loving another person simply because they broke up. Deep down it is pain that drives them to hurt and denigrate their former love. Pain that turns into anger. Anger that is sometimes beyond control.

The best way to help someone you know is to gently remind them that the ex-spouse they are trash talking and making hateful comments about both in the presence of children who are 50% their ex’ DNA was also a person with whom they once deeply loved and that you don’t believe they were such bad judges of character.
Remind them that the children are absorbing their every word and if they believe they are made up of 50% shit it’s going to take a toll on their self esteem.

PTSD may Mimic Other Mental Health Issues… PTSD can WORSEN In Times of Stress. True Story

The Custody Battle V Sanity

I didn’t see/have my son, Drew, for two Halloweens in a row….  Although I have regular access to my son and our relationship is tight, that wasn’t always the case.  I was given the task of buying costume materials and making his costume by hand, but not ‘allowed’ to see him over Halloween, which is not my holiday.  It’s still a trigger for me, and from what I have learned about C-PTSD, these triggers are something I have to learn to live with.  The hyper vigilance, feeling unsafe… all of it…. it isn’t something that goes away at all… I can honestly say I am doing much better now that I was 60 days ago.  About 4 or 5 months ago I was diagnosed with PTSD, it was horrifying and embarrassing.  It also explained so much of my behavior that had never made sense to me.  Holidays without my son are triggering, but knowing this, I am able to make plans to distract myself over the holidays or any special day/event in which the little guy in my life isn’t with me.  How do I survive them? I let go of the every toxic thought in my mind. It’s easier said than done.  I have had to learn to dial my stress factor down before I reach my anxiety threshold.  As I have mentioned before, I got very sick just over a year ago….  I was worn out…  I had nothing left in me….  I was so worried about the son I never had access to, that I landed in the ER and stayed for a while. My iron, potassium etc were depleted.  Transfusions etc were necessary for an extended hospital stay.

 

I was so worried when baby daddy began making trouble for me and my 3 month old.  A disgusting excuse for a human being he was, and still is.  My son had a speech delay.  I forced through a court order I wrote for weekly speech therapy, that’s how I parented in those days, by pushing my orders through the court system till they tired of it.  With my handy fee waiver, I found I could get the court’s attention by costing them an arm and a leg.  Don’t knock the method, it works, I’m living proof and so is Drew.  I was constantly so worried that he was hurting and couldn’t express it.  I almost worried myself to death with toxic thoughts.  I imagined the worst… A life full of all kinds of abuse at the hands of a man who didn’t think twice about abusing me in several ways, repeatedly.  It was killing me.  My son was subjected to maternal deprivation and attempts at parental alienation. I wrote a court order for co-parenting therapy and despite his sickening attempts to pussy out of it with a fake CPO, the court no longer caters to him.  Title 9 pays out only once moms, never fear.  I got my co-parenting therapy orders upheld, and have been in co-parenting therapy for a couple of months now.  My son’s interactions with me changed significantly.  I bring my son’s behaviors to the attention of the counselor who exposes every email baby daddy sends her in our sessions.  We have a no secrets policy.  Everyone knows everything.  This was not obtained easily.  The sessions are annoying and I’d rather be anywhere else, but this is what is best for Drew, and for me, that is all that matters.

Toxic thoughts are caused by extreme stress.  Stress comes at you in the form of predetermined custody evaluations, judgements and thoughts of your child feeling abandoned or alone.  Without communication with your children, a parent often feels guilty for smiling and resents things and people that cause them to smile, as if being happy without your child is a crime.  It isn’t.  In fact, it will be the only thing to get you through it. If you’re case is anything like mine (and I’ll bet you a million bucks it is), the non custodial parent gets a report that describes the life of a rockstar.  Sex, drugs and rock and roll.  I was accused of dating someone weird while I hadn’t dated up to that point since my son was born.  I was accused of everything under the sun, why?  I had zero affection or feelings ever for this man.  I was about to leave the country for work, he decided he couldn’t stand me being with anyone else or being happy.  So he took the son he had blackmailed me to abort.  It’s punishment, he once told the court, for the way she treats me.  She doesn’t deserve to see her son.  Yes, baby daddy is a total loser and no, he hasn’t had a single date since I walked out the door.  I have no had quite a few, and even a relationship.  Despite my custody trauma, I have a life.  Creating that other life is the only thing that saved me.  The ability to let go a little has given me much in return: my sanity.  Toxic thoughts are ANY thoughts that rob you of positive feelings, thoughts that leave you feeling negative.  In order to win your battle, you need to survive it first, don’t you? This isn’t an essay on how to be happy, it’s about why you NEED to be happy to survive.  Like Mario Brothers (yeah, I’m THAT old), it takes a lot time, determination and perseverance to save the princess.  You need friends, pets, games and laughs to get to the last level…. and even when you get to the final level (court trial) you may need a few more tries before completing your mission.

 

Repression or suppression of toxic thoughts is how we temporarily deal with the emotions that are generated by anger, loss, sadness or trauma.  This gives your mind a chance to catch up with loss or trauma by experiencing a temporary amnesia.  However, the toxic emotions that are repressed don’t go away.  You can bury your emotions, but you need to know you are burying something that remains alive, and that is a horrible prospect.  It’s not surprising that your mind perceives suppressed emotions as fear.  That fear remains unless you deal with it. You can consciously decide to deny or reject an emotion that is uncomfortable, but once you have done so, it goes into your non-conscious mind in a process called automatization: you first do it consciously and then train yourself to continue until it becomes an automatic reaction.  This is not the way your brain deal best with toxic emotions.  Repressing them destabilizes your brain’s natural chemistry and disrupts the multiplicity of feedback loops that usually expels toxic waste.  In fact, unprocessed emotions impede that flow of they naturally generate, often referred to as the ‘molecules of emotion’.  When stress prevent molecules of emotion from flowing freely, the automatic processes (digestion, breathing, immunity and blood flow) that are regulated by the flow of peptide will collapse into a few simple feedback loops.  This causes the suppressed toxic emotion to become an emotional stronghold, the magic trees of the mind, that changes cellular memory within the cells of the body.  It won’t allow you to function well on any level, physical, mental or spiritual.

So how do you keep these toxic thoughts at bay?  DILUTE THEM.  If you’re like me, and chances are you are, your life revolves around your child.  And when your child isn’t with you?  It becomes about politics and policy, media and communication or like myself and a few others I know, it becomes about the laws governing our family courts and getting yourself an entirely new career. Who were you before you became a parent?  What personal hobbies, interests and career goals did you have?  Do you have a social support system?  Not an emotional one, but a sociaone? This is going to be your most valuable asset in the war for your sanity.  You need reality checks, confidence and loyalty; friends are the perfect people to give than to you.  Friendships are give and take, as females, we know that our job is to listen and agree when needed.  If he or she pours their heart out for an hour, you know you get that same hour in return.  and unlike therapy, your friends will tell you what you need to hear to get moving in the direction you need to head in.  In the last week, I have gone out 4 times.  Dinner and a comedy show on 2 different evenings.  Dinner with a friend on Halloween and a wine tasting and tour a few days ago.  I knew Halloween would be difficult, I anticipated this and planned accordingly.  Having these friends to be weepy with made me comfortable, and that lead me to hours of laughter during days that would have been spent feeling sad, miserable and angry.  Thanksgiving is coming up.  I don’t know who will have Drew for that holiday, but I have a small trip to San Diego coming up the week before, so if I have to wait till Christmas, I think I’ll survive.  It may be smoke, mirrors and window dressing, but I’ll survive.  I have to, you have to, we all have to in order to keep going and changing the status quo, I first have to be happy to be alive, that wasn’t always the case.

 

 Read More

TIME TO CHECK YOUR RIGHTS

   Money Money Money

The times are changing for family court issues. No longer are “Mommies” automatically the preferred custodial parent. Now “Daddies” have about an equal chance at primary custody IF, yes IF, they have the cash.I have watched and read so many divorce cases, and appeals and come away sure in my belief that s/he who has the biggest bankroll will win.

 

KNOW PROTECT and ASSERT your RIGHTS

There are no “Public Attorney’s” for family court. However I strongly believe THERE SHOULD BE!! In family courts there are no juries for the most part, only a judge, often biased in belief, and I often wonder if influenced by, well I’ll say it, bribery and/or extortion. I say this after reading so many cases where a judge has ignored the best interest of the parties to favor the best financial bottom line. Maybe some of you believe financial strength SHOULD take precedence over a parent who is destitute.

Did we bring this on ourselves by using children/child support to punish ex spouses in contemptuous accusations? In family court it is so often the non-payers who wind up in jail for their failure to pay. The court seemingly indifferent to the non-payers life circumstance such as loss of job, disability, or the fact that the children the court demands support for LOATHES the parent (usually due to PAS and rarely by fault of their own)

Who would want to put out half their income, often living in squalor, so a child taught to hate them could have a new car, braces to make them beautiful, music lessons for their pleasure, or worse, money for the alcohol which their custodial parent consumes far too much of?

5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Amendments SHOULD Apply

I contend that any legal process that could result in the loss of your freedom should be covered by the Bill of Rights as equally as it is applied in Criminal Court; and go a step farther to state that some actions in divorce cases should be criminalized, ESPECIALLY Parental Alienation.

Parental Alienation charges should be available OUTSIDE family court such that not strictly former spouse, but anyone caught or proven to have harmed a parent child relation should be open for civil liability and in some cases, criminal charges.

Want to discuss this? please click discuss criminalizing PAS

Concerned Citizens for Family Law Reform — World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum.

Originally posted on Children’s Rights: We the people of the Great State of Florida do hereby request that our current #GovernorScott issue the following executive orders. It is within his power to do so. 1. An immediate executive order inacting the alimony language as part of the now VETOED #SB668 since #GovernorScott has expressed…

via Concerned Citizens for Family Law Reform — World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum.

Divorce, kids, and what they need to know … — Kimela Kluthe, LMFT

Don’t drown your kids in your memories

So you’re going through a divorce and one of you really is the victim – or so you think. You were cheated on. You were abused. I get it. You were wronged in some way. And you have children with this person … We all know that we’re not supposed to tell our kids the […]

via Divorce, kids, and what they need to know … — Kimela Kluthe, LMFT

Finally A Chance To Be Heard

MainStreamMedia Wants to Hear about Your Case!

CALLING All Women Whose Kids Were Taken Away & Given to Fathers: MainStreamMedia (MSM) Is Listening!

Many National Mainstream Media Investigative Journalists, both TV and print, have recently contacted Cindy Dumas, Director of The Women’s Coalition, about the epidemic of children taken from women and given to fathers, many of whom are physically or sexually abusive.

MSM wants to know the extent of the crisis so this social media event has been set up for all women to get their voices heard. Editors, reporters and producers will be reading the posts and comments so please let them know how this has negatively impacted your life!

There are three ways you can participate:
1. Join the event and post about your case.
2. Comment, Like and SHARE posts
3. Send an email to

email: TheWomensCoalitionPAC@gmail.com

 with a one page or less summary of your case. Put MSM in the subject line. [TWC will keep name confidential if it is requested.]

NOTE: It can be very brief if you’re short on time, something like:
“I am my children’s primary bond, but they were taken away from me when they were 8 and 10 and sole custody was given to the father who was abusive to them. I have been restricted to supervised visits and have been bankrupted fighting for them. We have been destroyed by the system.”
If you sent one for the UN Complaint, you can use that summary.
If you want anonymity TWC will post it for you.
Use a photo for more impact.

WHO should participate: Any woman who was the primary nurturer of her child(ren) and lost primary custody to a father (whether he was abusive or not)–even if joint custody was awarded–without a fair hearing.

NOTE: One journalist is especially interested in Massachusetts cases and two are especially interested in cases where the mothers went into hiding.

ONE PAGE SUMMARY (optional):
• You were/are the primary nurturing parent
• How many children were taken
• What false accusations were used
• What kind of visitation you got, if any
• How long you went without seeing your kids
• What kind of abuse was involved, if any
• Whether your evidence was covered up or disregarded
• Whether you were coerced into silence; by whom
• Which officials involved: DA’s, law enforcement, social services, family court officials, psychologists, therapists, etc. (names optional);
• Whether you/your kids suffered trauma symptoms
• Whether you were financially devastated
• Whether your career was damaged or destroyed
• How you feel about what was done to you and your children

Please SHARE this event so MSM is deluged with cases!!

(bloggers opinion, this should be an issue of injustice regardless of sex)

Changing Gears; PAS as a TORT

Man painting in blood "I want to die" on a wall

This man is bleeding out from his Parental Alienation experience

Dear Readers,

First I want to say that being separated and BLOCKED from your children (FOR NO REASON other than retaliation by the child’s other parent) is one hell of a problem that people simply DON’T understand, and is very difficult to get help for. Parental Alienation is a problem which makes those who are dealing with it feel like a deserted island; alone and isolated from seemingly everyone, a societal pariah, JUDGED unworthy of parenting their very own children. You hear the talk, “You know his kids won’t even call him.” Or, “I wonder if he molested them, they never visit.

As an analogy, you may feel like a smoker taking a smoke break, outside and out of any thoroughfare, consideration having been given by you to nonsmokers, and you isolated yourself. There you are, outside, alone, and every now and then someone passes you by and makes a face, pinches their nose, dramatically coughs to express how disgusting your habit is to them.  The do this not because your smoke is bothering them as you are nowhere near enough to have them smell the cigarette; they simply treat you as an OUTCAST they shun you and hurt your feelings because they don’t want to be near a smoker, having been told that even outdoors you could kill them.  Yet these same people do much worse they sit around fires built with questionable things, treated woods, particle board, even garbage containing gosh knows what/

DON’T LOSE HOPE

Every once and awhile another smoker may join you on the bench and for that 10 minutes of camaraderie, you feel a little glimmer of acceptance and understanding.  That 10 minutes is meaningful to you in a healing way.

Being harmed by being ousted from your children’s lives affects EVERY aspect of your life, from health, to self-esteem, job performance, and mental wellbeing etc…
The problem is that enough of us are NOT suing outside of family court  for Personal injury / Slander / Defamation / and asking for punitive damages as a result of this alienation.

I further believe that in some cases, this could be brought to a Federal Judge as a violation of a person’s Civil Rights due to discrimination (as in my case).  I FIRMLY believe my ADA (American’s with Disabilities Act) rights were trampled by the Judge(s), and the opposing lawyer. I wonder how many of us were suffering an emotional breakdown, or a physical handicap that pressured the marriage into divorce?

As most of us know, when breadwinners lose income it stresses a marriage a lot.  If the breadwinner was out of work due to disability this also makes it an ADA case (IMHO).

It is my NON-LAWYER opinion that issues such as these are WELL addressed in CIVIL or FEDERAL court with the time honored rules in place that help JUSTICE prevail. Civil Courts and/or Federal Courts should be able to hear issues within Family Court cases especially when there are Damages, or Constitutional Rights violations. Instead of FAMILY COURT, which is not obligated to prove anything to the standards of other courts and is very open to abuse based upon its lack of standards of evidence, weak requirements of actual proof, bias by officials, unfairness based upon indigence, lack of jury, and possibly payola of caseworkers, and maybe even Judges, especially those who are not elected.

Once the Civil Court or Federal Court has heard and decided the merits of a case related Family Court actions, especially when they awarded damages, that judgement SHOULD qualify to be presented in Family Court as evidence of Contempt of the divorce decree (almost every State has language prohibiting custodial parents from making derogatory remarks about non-custodial parents).  Once your case is proven the Family Court should give much weight to all findings, decisions, judgements, or mandates passed down by these other courts.

I ALSO believe in that in cases where another court finds punitive damages in favor of the alienated parent, that this could be a game changer in the custodial parent’s behavior; they don’t want to have a judgement against them that could become very public and costly, and possibly custody changing.
————————
I am very interested in locating lawyers who are willing to bring these claims outside of family court.  Proving damages is EASY, it is similar to a Workman’s Comp claim, and a good litigation attorney should prevail.  I would like my case heard in Federal Court as a discrimination and violation of my civil rights under the ADA.

I spent 30 years as a private investigator and I know how to research law, write pleadings, and even testify as to what I observed as an investigator.
————————
To the father who posted this, please see a counsellor, and phone a friend who will support you emotionally.  Don’t be a deserted Island, be an isthmus, there are people going through the same thing and you are not alone, even though you may feel that way.

Change is up to you, me, and everyone facing Parental Alienation.

God Bless you all,
God Bless America,
God Bless the Children!
Leah Talley
Nov, 9th 2015.

Betrayal Trauma & Stockholm Syndrome Defined

When I read this article it so closely resembled PA I had to link it
:

What is a Betrayal Trauma?
What is Betrayal Trauma Theory?

Jennifer J. Freyd, University of Oregon

Short Definitions | History of Terminology | Theory and Research | Some FAQs | References

Short Definitions

Betrayal Trauma: The phrase “betrayal trauma” can be used to refer to a kind of trauma independent of the reaction to the trauma. From Freyd (2008): Betrayal trauma occurs when the people or institutions on which a person depends for survival signifi cantly violate that person ’ s trust or well – being: Childhood physical, emotional, or sexual abuse perpetrated by a caregiver are examples of betrayal trauma.

Betrayal Trauma Theory: From Sivers, Schooler, & Freyd (2002): A theory that predicts that the degree to which a negative event represents a betrayal by a trusted needed other will influence the way in which that events is processed and remembered.

Betrayal Blindness and Institutional Betrayal: Betrayal blindness is the unawareness, not-knowing, and forgetting exhibited by people towards betrayal. The term “betrayal blindness” was introduced by Freyd (1996), and expanded in Freyd (1999) and Freyd and Birrell (2013) in the context of Betrayal Trauma Theory. This blindness may extend to betrayals that are not traditionally considered “traumas,” such as adultery, inequities in the workplace and society, etc. Victims, perpetrators, and witnesses may display betrayal blindness in order to preserve relationships, institutions, and social systems upon which they depend. (Also, see Eileen Zurbriggen’s essay on Betrayal Trauma in the 2004 Election.) The term “Institutional Betrayal” refers to wrongdoings perpetrated by an institution upon individuals dependent on that institution, including failure to prevent or respond supportively to wrongdoings by individuals (e.g. sexual assault) committed within the context of the institution. The term “Institutional Betrayal” as connected with Betrayal Trauma Theory is discussed in more detail in various publications, including in a section starting on page 201 of Platt, Barton, & Freyd (2009) and in recent conference posters by Smith & Freyd (2011a; 2011b) and by Medrano, Martin, and Freyd (2011). Institutional betrayal is a core focus of the book Blind to Betrayal, by Freyd and Birrell, 2013.

Also see:
•Freyd, J.J. (2008) Betrayal trauma. In G. Reyes, J.D. Elhai, & J.D.Ford (Eds) Encyclopedia of Psychological Trauma. (p. 76). New York: John Wiley & Sons.
•Freyd, J.J.& Birrell, P.J. (2013). Blind to Betrayal. John Wiley & Sons.

Early History of Terminology

Jennifer Freyd introduced the terms “betrayal trauma” and “betrayal trauma theory” in 1991 at a presentation at Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute:

Freyd, J.J. Memory repression, dissociative states, and other cognitive control processes involved in adult sequelae of childhood trauma. Invited paper given at the Second Annual Conference on A Psychodynamics – Cognitive Science Interface, Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute, University of California, San Francisco, August 21-22, 1991.

From that talk: “I propose that the core issue is betrayal — a betrayal of trust that produces conflict between external reality and a necessary system of social dependence. Of course, a particular event may be simultaneously a betrayal trauma and life threatening. Rape is such an event. Perhaps most childhood traumas are such events.” Betrayal trauma theory was introduced: “The psychic pain involved in detecting betrayal, as in detecting a cheater, is an evolved, adaptive, motivator for changing social alliances. In general it is not to our survival or reproductive advantage to go back for further interaction to those who have betrayed us. However, if the person who has betrayed us is someone we need to continue interacting with despite the betrayal, then it is not to our advantage to respond to the betrayal in the normal way. Instead we essentially need to ignore the betrayal….If the betrayed person is a child and the betrayer is a parent, it is especially essential the child does not stop behaving in such a way that will inspire attachment. For the child to withdraw from a caregiver he is dependent on would further threaten his life, both physically and mentally. Thus the trauma of child abuse by the very nature of it requires that information about the abuse be blocked from mental mechanisms that control attachment and attachment behavior. One does not need to posit any particular avoidance of psychic pain per se here — instead what is of functional significance is the control of social behavior. ”

These ideas were further developed in talks presented in the early 1990s and then in an article published in 1994. A more definitive statement was presented in Freyd’s 1996 book. More recent updates on the theory and research have been presented by Freyd, DePrince, and Gleaves(2007) and DePrince et al (2012). The ideas are further developed in this new book published in 2013.

Betrayal Trauma Theory Summary

Betrayal trauma theory posits that there is a social utility in remaining unaware of abuse when the perpetrator is a caregiver (Freyd, 1994, 1996). The theory draws on studies of social contracts (e.g., Cosmides, 1989) to explain why and how humans are excellent at detecting betrayals; however, Freyd argues that under some circumstances detecting betrayals may be counter-productive to survival. Specifically, in cases where a victim is dependent on a caregiver, survival may require that she/he remain unaware of the betrayal. In the case of childhood sexual abuse, a child who is aware that her/his parent is being abusive may withdraw from the relationship (e.g., emotionally or in terms of proximity). For a child who depends on a caregiver for basic survival, withdrawing may actually be at odds with ultimate survival goals, particularly when the caregiver responds to withdrawal by further reducing caregiving or increasing violence. In such cases, the child’s survival would be better ensured by being blind to the betrayal and isolating the knowledge of the event, thus remaining engaged with the caregiver.

The traditional assumption in trauma research has been that fear is at the core of responses to trauma. Freyd (2001) notes that traumatic events differ orthogonally in degree of fear and betrayal, depending on the context and characteristics of the event. (see Figure 1). Research suggests that the distinction between fear and betrayal may be important to posttraumatic outcomes. For example, DePrince (2001) found that self-reported betrayal predicted PTSD and dissociative symptoms above and beyond self-reported fear in a community sample of individuals who reported a history of childhood sexual abuse. Numerous additional studies have found indication that betrayal is a psychologically toxic dimension of events — see also Kelley, Weathers, Mason, & Pruneau (2012).

Figure 1: Freyd’s Two-Dimensional Model for Traumatic Events

Research

Please see
•DePrince, A.P, Brown, L.S., Cheit, R.E., Freyd, J.J., Gold, S.N., Pezdek, K. & Quina, K (2012). Motivated forgetting and misremembering: Perspectives from Betrayal Trauma Theory. In Belli, R. F. (Ed.), True and False Recovered Memories: Toward a Reconciliation of the Debate (Nebraska Symposium on Motivation 58) (pp 193-243). New York: Springer.
•Kelley, L.P, Weathers, F.W., Mason, E.A., & Pruneau, G.M. (2012) Association of Life Threat and Betrayal With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Severity. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 25, 408–415.
•Freyd, J.J.& Birrell, P.J. (2013). Blind to Betrayal. John Wiley & Sons.
•Freyd Lab Articles

Some FAQs

Is it necessary for the victim to be conscious of the betrayal in order to call it “betrayal trauma”?

The short answer is “no.” The following text is from DePrince and Freyd (2002a), page 74-75:

“The role of betrayal in betrayal trauma theory was initially considered an implicit but central aspect of some situations. If a child is being mistreated by a caregiver he or she is dependent upon, this is by definition betrayal, whether the child recognizes the betrayal explicitly or not. Indeed, the memory impairment and gaps in awareness that betrayal trauma theory predicted were assumed to serve in part to ward off conscious awareness of mistreatment in order to promote the dependent child’s survival goals……While conscious appraisals of betrayal may be inhibited at the time of trauma and for as long as the trauma victim is dependent upon the perpetrator, eventually the trauma survivor may become conscious of strong feelings of betrayal.”

An important issue for future research is investigating the role the emotional perception of betrayal has in distress and recovery (see Brown & Freyd, 2008).

Is gender a factor?

It appears that men experience more non-betrayal traumas than do women, while women experience more betrayal traumas than do men. These effects may be substantial (Goldberg & Freyd, 2006; Freyd & Goldberg, 2004) and of significant impact on the lives of men and women (DePrince & Freyd, 2002b). To the extent that betrayal traumas are potent for some sorts of psychological impact and non-betrayals potent for other impacts (e.g. Freyd, 1999), these gender difference would imply some very non-subtle socialization factors operating as a function of gender. A 2009 summary of BT gender findings can be found here.

Is betrayal trauma related to Stockholm syndrome?

Stockholm syndrome (named for a 1973 bank hostage situation in Sweden) refers to what seems at first a paradoxical reaction to being held hostage. This reaction involves positive feelings toward the captors. Stockholm syndrome is a term applied to the special case of those feelings developing after a hostage take-over, as when an individual or group is kidnapped and held for a ransom. From a theoretical perspective the Stockholm Syndrome reaction may possibly be understood as a special kind of betrayal trauma. The unusual aspect of Stockholm syndrome compared with most betrayal trauma situations is that the strong emotional attachment occurs after the abduction and without the pre-existing context of an enduring caretaker or trusting relationship. It is usually considered that for Stockholm Syndrome to occur the captors must show a certain amount of kindness (or at least lack of cruelty) toward the hostages. From a betrayal trauma perspective the most important elements of predicting Stockholm syndrome would not be kindness per se, but rather caretaking behavior on the part of the captors and an implicit or explicit belief on the part of the victims that survival depends upon the captors. Thus the victims would have to experience the captors as a source of caretaking and as necessary for survival in order to develop the emotional attachment necessary to create a betrayal trauma. Once the captors are experienced as necessary caretakers, a process much like that in infancy could occur, such that the victims have a good reason for attaching to the captors and thus eliciting caretaking behaviors. At that point a certain amount of reality distortion might be beneficial to the victims such that seeing the captors in a positive light might support an adaptive response to their predicament. This theoretical possibility leads to an empirical prediction that remains to be tested. Anecdotal support for the premise that features of dependence and survival are at the heart of the development of Stockholm Syndrome can be found in an FBI on-line article about Stockholm Syndrome:

“In cases where Stockholm syndrome has occurred, the captive is in a situation where the captor has stripped nearly all forms of independence and gained control of the victim’s life, as well as basic needs for survival. Some experts say that the hostage regresses to, perhaps, a state of infancy; the captive must cry for food, remain silent, and exist in an extreme state of dependence. In contrast, the perpetrator serves as a mother figure protecting her child from a threatening outside world, including law enforcement’s deadly weapons. The victim then begins a struggle for survival, both relying on and identifying with the captor.” (Fabrique, Romano, Vecchi, & Van Hasselt, 2007)

It is important to note that Stockholm syndrome is rare, whereas betrayal trauma events and reactions are, unfortunately, fairly common. Nonetheless, Stockholm syndrome might prove to be a useful extreme boundary condition for investigation of betrayal trauma theory, while at the same time betrayal trauma theory might provide useful insight into behavior of hostages that is otherwise considered paradoxical.

What is betrayal blindness? What is institutional betrayal?

Betrayal blindness is the unawareness, not-knowing, and forgetting exhibited by people towards betrayal (Freyd, 1996, 1999). This blindness may extend to betrayals that are not traditionally considered “traumas,” such as adultery, inequities in the workplace and society, etc. Victims, perpetrators, and witnesses may display betrayal blindness in order to preserve relationships, institutions, and social systems upon which they depend. (Also, see this page about betrayal blindness and institutional betrayal and Eileen Zurbriggen’s essay on Betrayal Trauma in the 2004 Election.) This topic is further developed in our new book in press.

Are demands for silence a factor in not-knowing about betrayal?

In addition to implicit motivations for not-knowing that the betrayed person may have in order to maintain a relationship, the victim may have other reasons for not-knowing and silence. At least one such reason is demands for silence from the perpetrator and others (family, society). Demands for silence (see Veldhuis & Freyd, 1999 cited at What is DARVO?) may lead to a complete failure to even discuss an experience. Experiences that have never been shared with anyone else may a different internal structure than shared experiences (see What is Shareability?).

How do I cite this page?

Freyd, J.J. (2014). What is a Betrayal Trauma? What is Betrayal Trauma Theory? Retrieved [today’s date] from http://pages.uoregon.edu/dynamic/jjf/defineBT.html.

What are some local pages related to this one?

•Betrayal Trauma: Books, Articles, Presentations
•Measure: The Brief Betrayal Trauma Survey (BBTS)
•What is DARVO?
•What is shareability?
•What about Recovered Memories?

What do I do if I need support for myself or a loved one?

I am not a therapist myself and I am not able to answer most of the email I get, so writing to me is not likely to help. I am sorry about that. What I do recommend is that you visit David Baldwin’s Trauma Information Pages, and select the “Supportive Information” section there. The web sites listed earlier on this page are also full of useful links that may help you find the support you are looking for. There are also very useful resources and links provided at the sites of Stop It Now, the Sidran Institute and The Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence.

For ordering information and additional books, articles, and presentations on betrayal trauma theory see: http://pages.uoregon.edu/dynamic/jjf/trauma.html.

Jennifer Freyd Return to
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Last update 12-May-2014 , jjf@uoregon.edu
Please note: Due to the large volume of correspondence I receive, I cannot answer most messages.
Copyright © 1995-2011 Jennifer J. Freyd.
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