Blogs by DZigns

I am here to write what I feel. I hope that what I can share will be of help to many of you.
Emotional Rape and The Stockholm Syndrome

This is a blog that Cyndall wrote and I am going to add what my take on this blog of Emotional Rape.

I do believe God, the Universe, (whatever you want to call your higher power) works in mysterious ways. I was at work doing in person readings the day Cyndall emailed me her blog.   I had a client that came in for a reading.  I was looking at her relationship with this man and I was not getting the greatest feelings coming from this man, it was all negative.  All I kept seeing was that he treated her badly and that he had some serious issues when it came to being with a woman, or just being in a relationship.  My client blurted out, he’s emotionally raping me.  I looked at her and said, you know that is a good way to explain it, I have never heard of that before.  When I came home that day from work, there was this email from Cyndall.  I do believe there is a reason for this.

So, below you will see Cyndall’s input in a larger indented Font and my input in a smaller Font.

Recently I was talking to a client who had finally broken off her dysfunctional relationship.  She has been out of major contact with her ex for approximately 26 days.  She kept saying how good life looked to her now, how she could see possibilities for herself now that she had not seen before.  Her thinking was different and her emotions were stable.  "How the heck did I let this happen to me?" she asked.  I asked got quiet and heard "She was emotionally raped".
WHAT??  In shock I repeated this to her and she got quiet and after a moment said "Not only was I emotionally raped, I also had the Stockholm Syndrome".  Wow.

After we hung up I typed a question into Google.  What is emotional rape?

For the sake of simplicity I am going to use 'he' as the rapist and 'she' as the victim even though this is often a reverse situation.

Unlike a physical rape, emotional rape can take months.  Emotional rape is the using of someone's emotions without their consent because of a hidden agenda.  The 'rapist' usually starts out being charming and very attentive.  He cannot do enough for his intended victim.  He shows so much appreciation and tells her how wonderful, how understanding, how beautiful she is.  The 'victim' feels secure, loved and appreciated in ways she has never been before.

In my client’s case, the man was very attentive.  He would show up at her house, bring her coffee, and do whatever needed to be done around her house.  He would show up at the gym she would workout at.  She saw this as being sweet, how nice of him.

Then things start to change.  He becomes less attentive, acting distracted and distant.  The 'victim' makes excuses for this.  "He is going through a lot at work".  He apologizes and she feels her first touch of fear, she could lose this amazing relationship.  He mentions somewhat wistfully that he loves blonde hair; she runs out and gets her hair streaked.  She only wants to please him.  After all he has been wonderful.  This starts so simply, so subtly, so insidiously, that looking back it is hard to see where it started.  Eventually nothing about her makes him happy, long term.  She works too much, she dresses inappropriately, she is too fat, and her boobs are too small.  She starts feeling there has to be something wrong with her.  Just one more thing she can do to make him happy, make him see how good she is for him and to him.  And ever so often he will shamefacedly admit it (that she is wonderful) and she feels justified in her behavior.  She is doing so much for him that her friends have all just disappeared.  She does not have time for them because he may need her and be hurt by her choosing her friends over him, even though he does that himself, choosing his friends over her but discouraging her to go out with her own friends.  "They don't like me".  She knows this to be true, none of her friends approve of him or the way she has changed since meeting him.

After a year, things started changing.  When they were with mutual friends he started subtly saying things to indicate she was stalking him.   She would show up where they all would hang out and he would be there, but would act friendly, not at all like the man who was her lover at her home.  He started to say things to her, that she did not have friends, that her hair did not look good, etc.  (This client is in her 40’s and when I first saw her, I could not believe her age, she looks like she’s in her late 20’s, because she takes care of herself.)  When she first came to me, she thought it was her and I kept telling her, no, it’s not you, it’s him.  She believed what he was telling her and I kept telling her that this is not true.  This man is trying to manipulate you.  She couldn’t believe it, because he had been so nice, sweet and thoughtful to her for the past year.

The Stockholm Syndrome comes into play when a captive cannot escape (or does not want to escape) and is isolated (all her friends are gone) and threatened with death, (death of the relationship) but is shown token acts of kindness by the captor.  Small acts of kindness by the captor are magnified, since finding perspective in this situation is by impossible.  It typically takes about three or four days for the psychological shift to take hold.

He kept telling the mutual friends they would hang around with that it was her, that he wasn’t going out with her and that she was showing up to chase him.  He would tell the friends that he was not interested in her, but at the same time he was coming to her house to see her, calling her and telling her a different story.  At one point, I did tell her to change the times she went to the gym, to change her cell phone number and to try and move and not go to where the mutual friends hung out.  Even her friends believed this man.  She felt so alone, there was no one to talk to.

She did finally leave the situation.  She knew it was not a good relationship and finally broke away from it.  It was difficult because the man he seemed to be when they were alone was the man she loved. She is a stronger woman now than she was before meeting this man.

A strategy of trying to keep your captor happy in order to stay alive (keeping the relationship alive) becomes an obsessive identification with the likes and dislikes of the captor which has the result of warping your own psyche in such a way that you come to sympathize with your captor.  She no longer blames him; she blames herself for not doing that one extra thing to make him happy.  For talking when she should have kept quiet.  For demanding attention when she should have seen he was in a bad mood.  She starts feeling worthless.  She is like a thermometer, always gauging his moods.  She is only worthy when he is happy.  If only she could see what would make him happy today, more sex, wilder sex, Chinese food, new DVD's, a backrub?
Often the 'captor' will break up with the 'victim' and after making her suffer for a time, allows her back into his life but she is constantly on probation and can be kicked out on a whim.  This is not a relationship.

If you should find yourself involved in this type of relationship, however mild it may seem.  If having that other person becomes more important to you than anything else, your dignity, your honor, your integrity, your job, your sense of family, your sense of self, you need professional help.  My client got professional help and she is so happy to have herself back.  I am too; I missed her when she was 'away'.

# re: Emotional Rape and The Stockholm Syndrome @ Tuesday, May 08, 2007 11:00 AM
:) Thank you
# re: Emotional Rape and The Stockholm Syndrome @ Tuesday, May 08, 2007 11:42 AM
Absolutely wonderful informative blog.  I commend you for I see this again and again in private practice and with relationships that start as "online" affairs.  It can be a life threatening situation in many cases as the women in the battered women's shelter will tell you.  

Wonderful job with the topic and thank you for sharing.

# re: Emotional Rape and The Stockholm Syndrome @ Tuesday, May 08, 2007 11:54 AM
Thank you so much for commenting and sharing as well.

It is a great topic and sad to say, very very true.

Thanks again.
# re: Emotional Rape and The Stockholm Syndrome @ Tuesday, November 06, 2007 8:30 PM
Thanks for the post.

About emotional Rape.......

It is a heartless con game they play to keep their need for sexual supply filled. They know the wordS to say and the role to play to manipulate you into a relationship with them, but at the first sign that you are figuring them out, they will turn on you as if you were nothing.
No, otherS do not understand because they were not in your shoes.
To the legal system and people on the outside of the situation, it is easier for them to buy in to the explanation that the narcissist gives, that you are just scorned and want revenge, if you voice your pain and trauma.
A man can stalk a woman for years, set the stage for her vulnerability with manipulating circumstances and then use her confusion and distress to literally devour her mentally with all sorts of false compassions and scripted lines. He just moves on to the next person he finds to take advantage of.
It is the same grooming tactics used by pedophiles, but if you happen to be of age, no one cares.
It doesn't matter that may be you never dated before getting married, or that you may already be in an abusive situation and you were exploited, conned, and used.
The legal system is blind to it.
Some people have actually come forward to expose these types of narcissists that go around spreading diseases, and exploiting women or men. The perpetrators will do whatever they can to discredit their target, they will file false charges, file frivolous law suits, that is if they find an attorney completely hard up for a client, or maybe one that gets off on hurting the innocent victims themselves. Yes, they find the most asinine lawyer they can.

What does it say about our judicial system whenever they can't even see the system being manipulated by these types of victimizers? You would be surprised how many of them get away with stalking someone and then turning it around on their victims.
They make their victims get rid of any evidence during the grooming of the target, while they keep records of contact with them to use later as their defense.
Yes, this happens!
In one incident a man who was exposed on a exposing predator site in January of 2007.
This man actually coerced his victim throughout the relationship telling her repeatedly to get rid of proof of contact, told her to do the contacting to keep his number off her phone records, then used his records of her calls to file a harassment charge on her later.
This was vindictive revenge.
We need to be aware of what these sick individuals are capable of, even more, our legal system needs to get a clue!
Wake up America!

Victims suffer devastating symptoms like PTSD
and it is real!
# man files harassment charges after being exposed @ Friday, December 28, 2007 1:28 PM
I agree every bit with what you are saying.
It is important that the legal system heed the signs of this type of stalking. In the comment above, this man is using the legal system to stalk and harass his victim and has caused her to endure even more pain and trauma. This should come back on him with some serious consequences.
He sounds like a very destructive person.
I would say it is emotional rape, but I think it is also a sign that he is dangerous.
# re: Emotional Rape and The Stockholm Syndrome @ Monday, April 21, 2008 7:06 PM
My boss is doing this to me.  Any suggestions?
I worked long and hard for the position I am in.  I feel like I have to leave a job and people I love because of him.  Any suggestions?
# re: Emotional Rape and The Stockholm Syndrome @ Monday, June 30, 2008 11:44 AM
Hi Nats,

Sorry for the late reply.  I haven't checked to see if anyone has left comments until today.

The only thing I can suggest is to freeze him.  Take his name and write it on a piece of paper, put it in a ziploc baggie, add water, zip the bag shut and stick it in the freezer and say something like, "I want this situation to stop and put his name in what you state." Something to that effect.

Hope that helps.

# re: Emotional Rape and The Stockholm Syndrome @ Tuesday, February 03, 2009 9:11 PM
Nats, Are you still in this situation?  If so, my advice is get the hell out as quickly as possible. To solidify your claim later, you can gather evidence for a month or so. Keep a journal, keep any written love notes, etc. save voicemails at work and on your cell phone, document promises made by him concerning your job, raises, promotions, if you make him happy. Do not put anything from you in writing even if he begs you to, i.e. sex emails, etc.

Good luck.
# re: Emotional Rape and The Stockholm Syndrome @ Tuesday, April 14, 2009 6:23 AM
What can I say? This post describes the way I felt when I was in the relationship with my now ex.  He had me jumping through hoops and kept me on my toes all the time, sucking my soul dry.  Guess I'm one of the lucky ones that found out what he truly was before compromising my life further.  Thanks for sharing this insightful post.
# re: Emotional Rape and The Stockholm Syndrome @ Monday, April 20, 2009 3:07 PM
What a brillaint piece. I have recently broken up from my boyfriend of four years. He would never come to my home and gave the excuse at the start of the relationship that he had to be at his to walk his dogs three times a day. Although I felt this was an excuse I was happy to go to his however with hindsight I can see that only ever seeing me in his space gave him all the power and more and more everyhting revolved around him and his rules. The first six months were great, then he finished with me by text message. I was gutted because all it said was, 'can't do this anymore'. After six weeks I let it go, but I always felt like we were atill attached so when after two months he sent another text asking me to meet for a coffee I agreed to go. We were soon 'going out' again, but this time he constantly 'sent me home' when I didn't match up. I felt sure he set me up for this and as time went on no matter what I did sure enough every couple of weekends he'd blame me for something and send me back to my own flat, usually after I'd just after I'd done him a favour or filled his fridge with food for the two of us for the weekend! I lost count of the weekends I wasted because I'd declined invitations to go out with friends because I'd planned a weekend with him and then I'd find myself 'home alone'. After a few days of no contact he'd contact me again and ask if I fancied going over to his. After the period of isolation I always accepted because in truth I hated his rejection of me and if he had contacted me I took it as a sign that he must want to see me, but I could never relax as I felt I was on trial. He used to say he wanted me to move in with him, but I could never do this because nothing was ever consistent for long enough for me to make any plans. I felt as if this was a carrot he dangled because he knew this was what I wanted. Increasingly I found I felt like, and acted like, an angry child in his presence (the feelings I got reminded me of how I had felt around my father: powerless). Of course acting like this only gave him more reason to send me home: 'I was attention seeking, acting like a child, a drama queen, a headcase, a spoilt brat,and I was jealous. In truth I was just trying to get some ground, to make sense of what was happening; I felt powerless. I felt no matter what I did, no matter how much I tried to improve, to listen to what he said he wanted from me it was never enough and I was never good enough. I felt I was on trail. I only broke it off last week, but I haven't told him yet. When he contacts me again I'm not answering my phone, when he turns up on my doorstep I'm not letting him in. I have had all I can take and I'm moving my life forward again! Until I read your article I thought he argued with me on purpose, so he could send me home. He knew I had issues with abandonment as my mother had abandoned me when I was three, so he also knew being sent home would cause this feeling to rise in me again especially as he would often do this on a Saturday evening when all my friends had gone out. Until I read this article I also thought he made me spend time in isolation (just like in prison)so when I returned I would be ever more docile, ever more accomodating, ever more attentive to his needs. Until I read this article I thought maybe I was just imagining that I felt when I retuned I was on probation! I can't thank you enough for reminding me that I'm not mad and for reaffirming why I can never go back again. I apologised so much to him (for what I'm not sure now) that I began to think eventually I would become an apology for a real live human being!
# re: Emotional Rape and The Stockholm Syndrome @ Sunday, December 13, 2009 1:28 PM
Hey this is so much of a relief, as someone i know has gone through this. Please tell me if you can assist us to heal through the horrific aftermath. [email protected]
# re: Emotional Rape and The Stockholm Syndrome @ Tuesday, March 16, 2010 3:49 AM
This happened to me, I met him through work, and he was so, so charming, good looking, etc.  He made me feel "alive", "sexual".  And many many more euphoric feelings.  I was willing to leave my partner for him.  He too suggested he liked "blondes", - I got my hair streaked!  The only advice I can give and what saved me was honesty with myself.  He asked me to go on a night out to which I replied that I would in fact sleep with him.  This somewhat "honesty" on my part seemed to shock him. As things progressed he tried to have sex with me in his car, I tried to hold his hand, he pulled away.  That told my everything I needed to know, he didn't love me, he just wanted to have sex with me.  I swiftly left his car (by the way all this jumping into cars was totally out of character for me - its amazing how 3 - 4 months with him changed me!) Things turned very nasty after that, he got me into bother at work, phoned in sick and that was the last time I saw of him.  But it left me absolutely devestated and has took me years to get over him and what he did to me.  
# re: Emotional Rape and The Stockholm Syndrome @ Thursday, August 23, 2012 8:13 AM
Now more than ever, survivors need to rise up from the ashes like a Phoenix. Know that you will be alone physically but not spiritually. I have two young adult children to where I take credit for them being kind and loving. It is driving him nuts and he keeps cutting his throat a little more every day because it is their personality to try and cause any kind of drama. Especially when they want you to be in a needy situation and it takes years to come back to who you really are but you can do it.
# re: Emotional Rape and The Stockholm Syndrome @ Sunday, September 09, 2012 5:29 PM
I went through this with a dude I was in a long-distance relationship with for over a year. I had the same thing, one night he was telling me he wanted me to live with him in his city and to look for jobs there (I  had been laid off from my job), two days later (the day before my b-day) I had excitedly scheduled two great job interviews, and he called me before work to tell me I was a stalker and would chase him with a butcher knife. This was about the 20th emotionally brutalizing thing he did to me over a year of pain and misery that started off as love at first sight and pure magic. It is a year later and I still can't recover from it or date anyone else. My heart goes out to you and everyone who has suffered from relationships with these crazy, demented men who have "delusions of adequacy."
# re: Emotional Rape and The Stockholm Syndrome @ Saturday, September 15, 2012 6:12 PM
Thank you Survivor for your comment. I feel like you have a lot to offer in regard to helping people. I say this because you use the term, rise-up from the ashes like a Phoenix. I do hope that you are where you need to be in regard to your situation.

Thanks again.

Wow, it is hard to believe that this is still going on.

I am sorry to hear this Mary, I do hope that you are healing and that you are doing things for yourself.

Thanks for opening up.

# re: Emotional Rape and The Stockholm Syndrome @ Sunday, September 16, 2012 9:17 PM
Thank you for responding back in regards to rise-up from the ashes like a Phoenix. When you realize that you are on a spiritual journey and the children that you have with this person is still part of them. I have become so strong that it just proves that love conquers all especially when you don't take that bitter pill because that would reflect back to the children. Mine are now young adults and I thank him for them; he doesn't get it.
# re: Emotional Rape and The Stockholm Syndrome @ Monday, November 05, 2012 12:39 PM
There is a great deal of wisdom in this post.  Ladies, look for these signs..
# re: Emotional Rape and The Stockholm Syndrome @ Saturday, November 10, 2012 6:40 PM
Perhaps it’s because I have not recovered after a devastating break-up nearly 2 years ago, but I read these posts and still ask, Isn’t is because I am codependent – I put the relationship before me.  I am stuck in grief, still hoping he will return and give us a change though he now has a long distance Ukrainian fiancée.   So much of what I’ve read hits home – the long distance relationship with me allowed him to control contact with my support.  Now, he has an even longer distance romance – if that’s what you call it.  And, his control is even greater – he decides when to visit, he’ll decide if she comes to this country or not.
This was someone I worked with years ago.  We met sometime after that and his compassion upon hearing of a problem I had, hit a strong emotional attraction button.  We were both married and nothing occurred.  12 years later, 3 yrs after my divorce, I contacted him.  To make a long story short, I did not know at the time that his 12 yr marriage ended and he had just ended a 4 yr live in relationship with a Russian woman.  I found that out months later as our “friendship” grew.  It was long distance. Phone calls increased to nightly and lasted 2-3 hours.  He is charismatic, charming, energetic, brilliant, creative, multi-talented, caring, funny…  We talked about everything – no topic was omitted.  I was a bit taken back to hear that the 4 yr relationship was nearly platonic the last 2 yrs.  He abruptly asked her to leave. When I asked what was his role in the break-up of his 2nd marriage and the 4yr relationship, he said he was generous and women take advantage of him.  At the 5 month mark, we declared being in love and he initiated conversations about marriage.  We discussed merging furniture, living finances, how to work around his demanding work schedule, I would move to his location, whether his home would be adequate for both of us or should we move to a larger home, whether I would keep my dogs, sell my home, etc…  He told his mother I was “the one”.  We are not kids.  We are in our mid-50’s and early-60’s.  
We shared our independent activities at night in conversation and sent pictures and text messages during the day.  I felt supported, encouraged, loved and accepted like I had never felt before. The energy between us was 1+1=3.  I wanted to please him and have been told I went too far by friends. For instance, he was still recovering from cancer treatment and once when he was sad, I made, froze and sent long distance, “lunch”.  He said he felt “cared for” and that’s just what I wanted.
Then we met.  The awkwardness was there, I was a bit disappointed but I assumed he needed more “warm-up” time.  Sex was fantastic – no awkwardness there.  I did feel hurt when I complimented him and he said he tries to please “his partner”.  Why not say “you”?  I think he was comfortable with me contained in 2-3 hours of phone calls where he usually multiprocessed by driving or even clearning his refrigerator.  But in person, he saw me “taking his time”.  I became fearful and started walking on eggshells.  Never a good thing.  I wasn’t me.  The second trip, a month later, I felt like an unwanted guest.  We discussed that weekend and he agreed he was a “Dr Jekyl/Mr Hyde”.  Conversations were tense and reduced. Before the 3rd trip, he said the “dynamics weren’t right” and ended the relationship in an email. A half hour later, I received a text message and picture from a concert – just like normal.  Things went downhill fast.  I looped through shock, denial, anger, sadness, sadness, sadness at warp speed.  That “scared” him and justified his break-up. He was devastated by my reaction and behavior following his email. To counter some of his revisionist history, I sent him his own email messages to correct perceptions only to be warned of the stalking laws of his state and to never contact him again. He clearly pointed out my inappropriate behaviors – my shame.  He never acknowledged my feelings upon getting a break-up email, even when asked. Over the next few months, I wrote apology letters, send positive text messages, a book, and I asked for forgiveness.  I am not proud of my behavior in my near break-down and have taken blame for the break-up. I feel tremendous shame.  I have tried anti-depressants with no success, and 2 therapists.  I am just starting to visit complicated grief syndrome.  After reading your posts, I am seeing others with some similar stories.  In a relationship, it takes 2 people to make it work or not.  I am very aware of my role.  But, maybe I have not seen his,  This has been food for thought.  I need to find me again and stop hoping for his forgiveness and return.
# A darn good job @ Sunday, March 17, 2013 7:31 AM
This had me intensely reading as though it was a good book. I find it hard to cope with loosing the girl I love, even though the relationship was killing me. I simply cannot accept that it is her fault at all. My mind knows, but that doesn't mean a thing. I believe that due to the timing of her meeting me and I falling in love with her caused something akin to Stockholm syndrome in my mind. I don't have feelings for any other woman. She is the only one who I could ever see myself with. And she quit loving me. So now I am stuck playing the time game with a girl I don't love, hoping that she'll take me back in a few years.
# re: Emotional Rape and The Stockholm Syndrome @ Tuesday, August 27, 2013 11:12 PM
Been there done that myself, and helped many others who have too. So glad to be out of it...But if nothing else, it gave me an understanding so I will be able to help others who go through this type of terrible, abusive situation...
# re: Emotional Rape and The Stockholm Syndrome @ Friday, August 30, 2013 2:43 PM
Thank you Valerie Renee for your comment. I am so happy to hear that you helped many others and have gotten away from this as well. Yay!
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