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BlindMessiah

Stockholm Syndrome and Religion

46 posts in this topic

For those unfamiliar with the syndrome, I present you with the "most reliable source" in internet information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome

I had been reading about Stockholm Syndrome and it reminded me so much of how religious people, specifically Christian, feel about god. The desire for bondage with a being that is so sadistic, egotistical and abusive in nature, that it's shocking how people come to love and appreciate the feeling of bondage under a cruel and merciless deity. I'm curious if anyone believes that this syndrome could apply to religious feelings toward god.

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For those unfamiliar with the syndrome, I present you with the "most reliable source" in internet information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome

I had been reading about Stockholm Syndrome and it reminded me so much of how religious people, specifically Christian, feel about god. The desire for bondage with a being that is so sadistic, egotistical and abusive in nature, that it's shocking how people come to love and appreciate the feeling of bondage under a cruel and merciless deity. I'm curious if anyone believes that this syndrome could apply to religious feelings toward god.

no reason why it couldn't.

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For those unfamiliar with the syndrome, I present you with the "most reliable source" in internet information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome

I had been reading about Stockholm Syndrome and it reminded me so much of how religious people, specifically Christian, feel about god. The desire for bondage with a being that is so sadistic, egotistical and abusive in nature, that it's shocking how people come to love and appreciate the feeling of bondage under a cruel and merciless deity. I'm curious if anyone believes that this syndrome could apply to religious feelings toward god.

I suspect you are on the right track. Xians have been making forced conversions to their so-called religion, since it was conjured up in the fourth century from a gobbletygook of fragments, a little of Mithra and Osiris, etc. The outcome has been, repeatedly, that "converts" eventually fall under the spell, perpuating the tragedy that has been the xian religion for 1700 years. Why blame God? I suspect that it is power that is the drug involved here. Gos didn't tell people to shove Jesus down the throats of the non-compliant. An interesting parallel would be the "janissaries". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janissary

the islamic forces would abduct xian boys, and force them to embrace Islam. They were fierce soldiers. So, it is not just the xians, not that this excuses them.

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Except one of the criteria for Stockholms Syndrome includes being taken against your will, being unhappy for a long period of time, then submitting and sympathizing with the captor or abductor. That doesn't jibe with religion. The vast majority come to it willingly, and are free to leave the life or philosophy at any time. Not so in the case of a person who suffers Stockholms.

LOL, I still think it's super weird that you give these "personality traits" or "characteristics" to a god you don't believe in. You do it like you really think god exists. That's so bizarre.

Edited by MissMelsWell

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Except one of the criteria for Stockholms Syndrome includes being taken against your will, being unhappy for a long period of time, then submitting and sympathizing with the captor or abductor. That doesn't jibe with religion. The vast majority come to it willingly, and are free to leave the life or philosophy at any time. Not so in the case of a person who suffers Stockholms.

LOL, I still think it's super weird that you give these "personality traits" or "characteristics" to a god you don't believe in. You do it like you really think god exists. That's so bizarre.

hmm, a common feature of religious cults is looking to the leader as a parental figure, a guru etc.... I'd say that suffices as bonding with the captor....there are over 5OOO cults in America (millions of followers) most in them don't even know ...We are known as the mecca of cults...

LOL, I still think it's super weird that you give these "personality traits" or "characteristics" to a god you don't believe in. You do it like you really think god exists. That's so bizarre.

its actually bizarre and misleading to misrepresent his OP MW..

When the The OP says:" I had been reading about Stockholm Syndrome and it reminded me so much of how religious people, specifically Christian, feel about god. The desire for bondage with a being that is so sadistic, egotistical and abusive in nature, that it's shocking how people come to love and appreciate the feeling of bondage under a cruel and merciless deity.I'm curious if anyone believes that this syndrome could apply to religious feelings toward god."

Edited by S♥ ♥ ♥

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LOL, I still think it's super weird that you give these "personality traits" or "characteristics" to a god you don't believe in. You do it like you really think god exists. That's so bizarre.

When she said that I think it was in reference to this...

a being that is so sadistic, egotistical and abusive in nature, that it's shocking how people come to love and appreciate the feeling of bondage under a cruel and merciless deity.

Either way most Christians do not view God in this light at all. Stockholm syndrome does not apply towards Christianity.

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correct Roswin.

Stockholms really does require that someone is taken against their will and is initially supremely unhappy, frightened, and abused and then their brain psychologically starts to sympathize with their abusers as a coping mechanism.

I think I might be able to give an example of someone who could have possibly suffered Stockholms when abducted, raped, tortured and finally submitted to their captor who had a twisted view of religion... the Elizabeth Smart abuduction case might be a great example of that. But that was one sicko, who didn't represent any one religion but had their own personal messed up beliefs.

I have no idea if she actually did technically have Stockholms, but she would be a good example of a case where the syndrome could have developed easily.

Edited by MissMelsWell

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When she said that I think it was in reference to this...

Either way most Christians do not view God in this light at all. Stockholm syndrome does not apply towards Christianity.

Hmmm I kind of found this funny as of course most Christians don't view god in this light it's called Stockholm syndrome LOL

Besides one doesn't have to believe in god to understand god or the bible ;)

Edited by The Silver Thong

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When she said that I think it was in reference to this...

Either way most Christians do not view God in this light at all. Stockholm syndrome does not apply towards Christianity.

I would suggest that it can.....The reason I do is this: whether its the bible or the word or a preacher or a religious idea, a g-d character, jesus etc .... there is an attachment /bonding/identification to the idea ......

so much so that one will defend and downplay and worship the perpetrator..

also there are those that can't see themselves ever being like this (e.g. susceptible) so they deny its possible at all....

I'd further add that this g-d character is portrayed/seen in this manner, perhaps not by you or MW but for those that do .......

its also fair to say that many identify/interpret this above ( described) behavior as loving.... I think that is what BM is wondering and addressing..

quite frankly its a very good question...:tu:....

Edited by S♥ ♥ ♥

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Hmmm I kind of found this funny as of course most Christians don't view god in this light it's called Stockholm syndrome LOL

Besides one doesn't have to believe in god to understand god or the bible ;)

lol I can see why you found it funny. In either case the 'understanding' you might assume is universal is actually merely one view among many. Really some of the people posting here would have you believe God does not exist, but somehow God still is responsible for so much harm against non-believers, but that is not all, order now and God will also harm believers too!

Edited by Rosewin

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Except, Sheri, you're missing what specfic criteria the victim must meet to be considered a sufferer of Stockholms. The criteria is very specific.

I don't see that from a medical/psychological standard that the two are even related (and I think most good psychologists would agree with me). Unless it's in the case of someone like Ms. Smart who was abducted, tortured and raped, then forced to live the religious lifestye of her captor. But that doesn't even have much to do with religion, that had more to do with a dude that was a criminal, a paedofile and, a psychopath.

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lol I can see why you found it funny. In either case the 'understanding' you might assume is universal is actually merely one view among many. Really some of the people posting here would have you believe God does not exist, but somehow God still is responsible for so much harm against non-believers, but that is not all, order now and God will also harm believers too!

Basically yes, that's what I was alluding too... it's baffling. Even ironic.

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correct Roswin.

Stockholms really does require that someone is taken against their will and is initially supremely unhappy, frightened, and abused and then their brain psychologically starts to sympathize with their abusers as a coping mechanism.

I think I might be able to give an example of someone who could have possibly suffered Stockholms when abducted, raped, tortured and finally submitted to their captor who had a twisted view of religion... the Elizabeth Smart abuduction case might be a great example of that. But that was one sicko, who didn't represent any one religion but had their own personal messed up beliefs.

I have no idea if she actually did technically have Stockholms, but she would be a good example of a case where the syndrome could have developed easily.

these are all common characteristics found in religious extremists....and are common features of cult members...

if you are a defenseless non critically thinking child are you not taken against your will also ?

I agree with you MW and I do see the connection to religion and feel its a good observation on BM's part.....

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these are all common characteristics found in religious extremists....and are common features of cult members...

if you are a defenseless non critically thinking child are you not taken against your will also ?

I agree with you MW and I do see the connection to religion and feel its a good observation on BM's part.....

Except in the case I gave to you in two posts now... people aren't generally abducted and physically tortured by even extremist groups. It might happen here and there, but it would be rare.

Most people who get involved in extremist groups go to it willingly, even enjoy it. They might even be predisposed to such hardline thinking. Stockholms wouldn't even come close to describing these folks psychological make-up. If they get the chance to cut loose from such groups, they could possibly suffer from PTSS, or maybe even something that looks like battered wife syndrome, but not Stockholms.

Children who are born into and raised under a specific faith don't have Stockholms either. They were raised in a lifestyle not abducted and tortured by an invisible being that you and the OP don't believe in. I mean come on. Do kids who were raised in a specific faith they grow to realize they don't believe in have psychological trouble? Yes, I think that can happen. But it's not Stockholms. It's perhaps depression, or PTSS, or self-esteem issues, issues of abandonment or a whole host of other problems. Stockholms doesn't apply.

Edited by MissMelsWell

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Cult members and members of general religions are far from being one and the same. Of course there is a connection as well between Christianity and Stockholm Syndrome...if God was an 'actual person' who would kidnapped you or took you hostage and then and only then you began to sympathize with God but not before.

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Except, Sheri, you're missing what specfic criteria the victim must meet to be considered a sufferer of Stockholms. The criteria is very specific.

I don't see that from a medical/psychological standard that the two are even related (and I think most good psychologists would agree with me). Unless it's in the case of someone like Ms. Smart who was abducted, tortured and raped, then forced to live the religious lifestye of her captor. But that doesn't even have much to do with religion, that had more to do with a dude that was a criminal, a paedofile and, a psychopath.

miss wells, I don't dispute this , i am adding that there are those being taken against the will all the time its called religion and the main feature is adhering to a totalitarian ideology ..how is it much different than SS ...

I defintely see a connection....

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there are those being taken against the will all the time its called religion and the main feature is adhering to a totalitarian ideology

I respect that this is your view but it is really out of step with how most people think about religion even those who do not care for it and never go to church, temple, or anything else having to do with any religion.

What I find similar between views like yours and those of the religious extremist is that they need an 'enemy' and they vilify that enemy.

Edited by Rosewin

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miss wells, I don't dispute this , i am adding that there are those being taken against the will all the time its called religion and the main feature is adhering to a totalitarian ideology ..how is it much different than SS ...

I defintely see a connection....

I had actually added this to my previous post to address your comment...

Children who are born into and raised under a specific faith don't have Stockholms either. They were raised in a lifestyle not abducted and tortured by an invisible being that you and the OP don't believe in. I mean come on. Do kids who were raised in a specific faith they grow to realize they don't believe in have psychological trouble? Yes, I think that can happen. But it's not Stockholms. It's perhaps depression, or PTSS, or self-esteem issues, issues of abandonment or a whole host of other problems. Stockholms doesn't apply.

Still not Stockholms. I mean, you say you have a background in psychology, you should know that Stockholms is a very very specific syndrome and it's criteria really shouldn't be thrown around so lightly. Doing so really marginalizes and randomizes the diagnosis and more importantly the treatment of a true Stockholms victim. That would be horrible.

Edited by MissMelsWell

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lol I can see why you found it funny. In either case the 'understanding' you might assume is universal is actually merely one view among many. Really some of the people posting here would have you believe God does not exist, but somehow God still is responsible for so much harm against non-believers, but that is not all, order now and God will also harm believers too!

This seems like a reading comprehension problem or a case of only seeing only what you want to see. A person who does not believe in gods, does not believe any god is responsible for anything at all.

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Cult members and members of general religions are far from being one and the same. Of course there is a connection as well between Christianity and Stockholm Syndrome...if God was an 'actual person' who would kidnapped you or took you hostage and then and only then you began to sympathize with God but not before.

I do not believe there is much difference between conventional religion, especially christianity and cults.

Edited by FurthurBB

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lol I can see why you found it funny. In either case the 'understanding' you might assume is universal is actually merely one view among many. Really some of the people posting here would have you believe God does not exist, but somehow God still is responsible for so much harm against non-believers, but that is not all, order now and God will also harm believers too!

However I think if you were to ask most non believers you would find the vast majority were not always non believers ;)

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I had actually added this to my previous post to address your comment...

Still not Stockholms. I mean, you say you have a background in psychology, you should know that Stockholms is a very very specific syndrome and it's criteria really shouldn't be thrown around so lightly. Doing so really marginalizes and randomizes the diagnosis and more importantly the treatment of a true Stockholms victim. That would be horrible.

Miss wells, Dr. Robert Lifton is the leading expert in cults:(Robert Jay Lifton (born May 16, 1926) is an American psychiatrist and author, chiefly known for his studies of the psychological causes and effects of war and political violence and for his theory of thought reform. He was an early proponent of the techniques of psychohistory.

In 2006, Lifton appeared in a documentary on cults on the History Channel: "Decoding the Past", along with fellow psychiatrist Peter A. Olsson[1].

His father was a physicist.)

http://en.wikipedia....bert_Jay_Lifton

the question is can religion be analogized to the stockholm syndrome and the answer is yes it can... the dynamics that create cult like devotion and alter ones personality over time to cope is by definition the stockholm syndrome... therefore it is reasonable to conclude that there is a commonalitybetween the two....

this is a wonderful thread because so many have no idea on why people end up in cults or religions that are harmful or abusive relationships and stay many think they want this just as you do, in error.........

I am just giving quality data for consideration, how you decide is up to you.......of course...

I am not seeking to vilify anything I am seeking to shed light on a issue that because of separation of church and state has slipped under the radar .....

therefore until now has gotten a free pass on accountability and visibility and critical assessment......

A group or movement exhibiting great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea or thing and employing unethical manipulative or coercive techniques or persuasion and control to advance the goals of the group's leaders to the actual or possible detriment of the members,their families, or the community. Keep the person unaware of what is going on and how she or he is being changed a step at a time.

Like the proverbial frog in the kettle, prospective recruits for a cult are unaware of the dynamics involved in their recruitment. Whether it is a religious group that employs "bible studies," or a "self esteem" course offered by an organization, the goal is to entice individuals to commit to more and more group activities, while keeping them unaware of increasing entrenchment.

Control the person's social and/or physical environment; especially the person's time.

Contact with the group via phone calls and "unexpected meetings" continues to influence prospective members, until such a time that the recruits spend large amounts of time with the group. The more time individuals spend in cult-related activities, the more distant they become from their pre-cult selves.

Systematically create a sense of powerlessness in the person.

Recruits eventually spend most of their time and energy in the group, and become very dependent on it. The group becomes the norm for what is considered true, just, or desirable. Internalization of group behavior and language further reduces the ability for reality testing and makes it very difficult to leave.

Manipulate a system of rewards, punishments, and experiences in such a way as to inhibit behavior that reflects the person's former social identity.

Through a system of reinforcement, individuals are further distanced from their pasts. What is remembered of the past is radically reinterpreted. Life outside the group becomes inconceivable.

Manipulate a system of rewards, punishments, and experiences in order to promote learning the group's ideology or belief system and group-approved behaviors.

"Happiness"in a toxic group is through performance: comply and you will be rewarded; disobey, and you will suffer penalties. Should there be any discrepancies between what is promised and what is achieved, the individual is at fault; the group/organization/leader are above reproach.

Put forth a closed system of logic and an authoritarian structure that permits no feedback and refuses to be modified except by leader ship approval or executive order.

Cults typically demonstrate a pyramid-shaped structure. All devotees are accountable to the leadership; the leadership is accountable to no one.

The above dynamics describe an environment that is both abusive and difficult to leave. The internal dissonance produced by the cult is itself alleviated by the cult, and this cycle of dependency can last for many years given the right environment. Those who have never experienced the thought-reforming environment of a cult often find it difficult to understand how an individual can "choose" to join and stay in such a group. This perspective holds that it is perfectly permissible to believe that an individual seeks out, joins, and remains in a destructive group by their own volition.

This outsider's perspective is not unlike the responses given to victims of domestic violence where the questions are asked, "Why does she stay?Why doesn't she just leave?"

A significant body of literature suggests that victims of prolonged emotional and psychological coercion, such as outlined above, undergo a personality transformation to cope with the self-fragmentation (Herman,1992; Cushman, 1986; Boulette & Anderson, 1985). West and Martin(1994) use the term "pseudo-identity" to describe this effect. Other terms, such as "identification with the aggressor" and "Stockholm syndrome" have been used to represent that radical transformation of personality in the face of overwhelming trauma. In the domestic violence literature the "battered woman syndrome" has been put forth as a regularly recognizable set of symptoms that are produced by a violent, controlling environment (Walker, 1993).

Is a domestic violence milieu a cult? If one defines a cult in behavioral terms, as I have, the answer is "yes," and it is appropriate to call battered relationships "cultic relationships." Moreover, other"non domestic" relationships may be cultic in their dynamics, e.g.,psychotherapy cults (Singer, Langone, & Temerlin, 1991).

http://www.icsahome....a+Cultic+System

Edited by S♥ ♥ ♥

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No, hahaha. You're very much twisting this up... trying to meld regular run of the mill dry toast versions of religion with dangerous cult-like behavior. Even your own post shows they are two VERY differnt things. Something I've pointed out so many times over the years here on UM.

the OP is NOT talking about dangerous cult groups, but regular religion (specifically christian)... The criteria you have given in your post is the criteria used to help authorities identify what is termed as a "cult" and which groups may need a more watchful eye on them. It's good criteria, excellent in fact. You'll note that your garden variety Presbyterian or Catholic church doesn't meet any of it.

I'm sorry, Blind_Messiah isn't talking about extremist cult groups, he appears to be talking about your garden variety Baptists and Presbyterians etc... They don't meet the requisites for Cults or Stockholms.

Is it possible that some cult groups could have members that come out with a variant of Stockholms? Probably, but not in the classic sense. Do Manson's followers have a type of Stockholms? Maybe, but umm... they're nothing like your next door neighbor who says his bedtime prayers and toodles off the church on Sunday and attends the Wednesday bake-sale at church. Personally I think Manson had the ability to recognize and attract other psychopaths to him. I'm not entirely convinced they were brainwashed by him.

I don't think brainwashing and Stockholms are exactly the same thing either. Stockholms is more a psychological self-defense, brainwashing really isn't.

I just think it's very dangerous when we start to muddy the waters of real and very important psychological disorders and start applying them to the mundane. VERY dangerous. IN the long run, it prevents real sufferers from receiving the help they need, and amounts to a lot of people receiving the wrong treatment for their real problems. We see this all the time with ADD, Autism, and other difficult to diagnose disorders... you get an influx of people who are misdiagnosed. This is why I come out so strongly against willy nilly suggesting someone is suffering from a syndrome that has very specific criteria.. it leads to really really bad outcomes for a lot of folks.

If you call billions of followers of religion (or any ideology) sufferers of Stockholms syndrome... you've just made Stockholms meaningless. That is NOT good.

There are actually more criteria for cults than you posted here. I'd have to look them up again. Personally I find cults fascinating. I just don't understand how people get caught up in them, but I know those who have. I know people that were raised in real cults and have seen how hard it is for them to reconnect with the real world and the kind of real damage it does to them. I wouldn't call it Stockholms though... PTSS maybe, and defnitely depression at times, and a sense of low-self worth that's pretty profound.

One of your quotes describes Stockholms quite neatly:

radical transformation of personality in the face of overwhelming trauma

Just what I've been saying all along. This does not apply to religion in general. It just doesn't.

Edited by MissMelsWell

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No, hahaha. You're very much twisting this up... trying to meld regular run of the mill dry toast versions of religion with dangerous cult-like behavior. Even your own post shows they are two VERY differnt things. Something I've pointed out so many times over the years here on UM.

the OP is NOT talking about dangerous cult groups, but regular religion (specifically christian)... The criteria you have given in your post is the criteria used to help authorities identify what is termed as a "cult" and which groups may need a more watchful eye on them. It's good criteria, excellent in fact. You'll note that your garden variety Presbyterian or Catholic church doesn't meet any of it.

I'm sorry, Blind_Messiah isn't talking about extremist cult groups, he appears to be talking about your garden variety Baptists and Presbyterians etc... They don't meet the requisites for Cults or Stockholms.

Is it possible that some cult groups could have members that come out with a variant of Stockholms? Probably, but not in the classic sense. Do Manson's followers have a type of Stockholms? Maybe, but umm... they're nothing like your next door neighbor who says his bedtime prayers and toodles off the church on Sunday and attends the Wednesday bake-sale at church. Personally I think Manson had the ability to recognize and attract other psychopaths to him. I'm not entirely convinced they were brainwashed by him.

I don't think brainwashing and Stockholms are exactly the same thing either. Stockholms is more a psychological self-defense, brainwashing really isn't.

I just think it's very dangerous when we start to muddy the waters of real and very important psychological disorders and start applying them to the mundane. VERY dangerous. IN the long run, it prevents real sufferers from receiving the help they need, and amounts to a lot of people receiving the wrong treatment for their real problems. We see this all the time with ADD, Autism, and other difficult to diagnose disorders... you get an influx of people who are misdiagnosed. This is why I come out so strongly against willy nilly suggesting someone is suffering from a syndrome that has very specific criteria.. it leads to really really bad outcomes for a lot of folks.

If you call billions of followers of religion (or any ideology) sufferers of Stockholms syndrome... you've just made Stockholms meaningless. That is NOT good.

There are actually more criteria for cults than you posted here. I'd have to look them up again. Personally I find cults fascinating. I just don't understand how people get caught up in them, but I know those who have. I know people that were raised in real cults and have seen how hard it is for them to reconnect with the real world and the kind of real damage it does to them. I wouldn't call it Stockholms though... PTSS maybe, and defnitely depression at times, and a sense of low-self worth that's pretty profound.

One of your quotes describes Stockholms quite neatly:

Just what I've been saying all along. This does not apply to religion in general. It just doesn't.

actually yes manson's followers qualify........imo

I recently watched something about that, all sheltered from religious families looking for a messiah, a parent away from home no critical thinking skills ....sitting ducks for a monster like manson.........

regular totalitarian religion as in fundamentalism the one truth path or just a person as you..who thinks for herself raised her kid to think for herself....happens to beleif in g-d yet wouldn't say its a fact or impose it on anyone...

of course their are exceptions I know great christians myself...I know alot of brainwashed ones too and let me tell you they are the last to know....

big difference Nik....

the op is specific to the fundamentalist groups IMO the g-d character fits ..

anyways its interesting to me also, very interesting and thanks for reading and rapping with me about it...:wub:

maybe there is something here maybe there isn't .....

I defintely see a parallel one worth exploring....

anyways and take a pic of that bracelet on a wrist .....I am genuinely interested in it....

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correct Roswin.

Stockholms really does require that someone is taken against their will and is initially supremely unhappy, frightened, and abused and then their brain psychologically starts to sympathize with their abusers as a coping mechanism.

Most people, in the conversion process to Christianity, are first threatened by hell. I imagine this would initially make them supremely unhappy, frightened, and abused. However, after converting they come to believe that hell is warranted, and they deserve it. They believe God is so amazing that we're not worthy of him without being redeemed. They're clearly captives, and they are coping with his methods, and eventually coming to love them.

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