It's a Stockholm Syndrome State of Mind
The survival mechanisms that keep people subscribed to and defending the narrative in a climate of psychological warfare
Around the world, we have witnessed the same abuse patterns that are found in interpersonal relationships, in particular the dynamics of psychological abuse. On a massive scale, this is psychological warfare.
Psychological abuse is mostly invisible yet very real, insidious and pervasive in the life of the individuals being targeted.
Over the years of working with victims and survivors of abuse, only a very small percentage of my clients have been physically abused. Of those few who experienced both physical and psychological abuse, every one of them told me that the psychological abuse was far more damaging to them in the long term. I’ve also spoken with a couple military veterans who had experienced psychological abuse in childhood and in adult relationships, and both of them told me that the PTSD from the war trauma wasn’t nearly as devastating for them as the psychological abuse by people they thought cared about them.
This is not to minimize physical abuse or war trauma. Those are very real traumas. Instead I intend to emphasize just how devastating psychological abuse is.
I’ve also had the opportunity to work with several clients with PhDs, some of them psychologists, and also quite a few licensed therapists. All of them told me they were shocked to realize that they were being abused in their personal lives, after years or decades. They also told me that their psychology training programs didn’t teach them to recognize this kind of invisible abuse.
Intelligence doesn’t have anything to do with recognizing that one is being abused. It has much more to do with the human neurological system’s response to severe stress and trauma as well as one’s early life programming through exposure to abuse and/or neglect, and whether the earlier traumas are unresolved or if the person is aware and actively working on healing.
From my perspective, the two most important concepts to understand about psychological abuse dynamics are Cognitive Dissonance and the Stockholm Syndrome.
In interpersonal relationships, we tend to use the term trauma bond instead of Stockholm Syndrome, which is more about strangers. Yet these mechanisms involve the same internal dynamics in the body, mind and spirit of the individual. I will refer to the Stockholm Syndrome here since I’m relating these topics to what is happening around the world between the perpetrators (public officials, private investors, mainstream media, social media, corporations) and the individuals being targeted (the rest of us).
It’s important nowadays to understand that we are being gaslit and abused by humans and AI. Of course, humans engineer and program the technology, then it begins to learn on its own, how to most effectively hijack the human shadow, individually and collectively.
Cognitive Dissonance and the Stockholm Syndrome are survival mechanisms that are built into the human nervous system to help us cope with stressful and traumatic life experiences. These topics might help you to understand what you have experienced and also what you witnessed in others.
These two mechanisms are related, yet different. The Cognitive Dissonance is, what I would call, a level one type of coping mechanism, while the Stockholm Syndrome is like a level two, more complex and involving more serious dynamics that are more difficult to break free from. It’s a form of psychological and spiritual imprisonment.
Cognitive Dissonance and the Stockholm Syndrome offer a helpful understanding of what’s happening internally in individuals who:
fell into the Official Narrative
continue to defend the Official Narrative even after truth and evidence is coming out
feel empathy toward the perpetrators
have developed irrational loyalty to perpetrators
feel like their survival is dependent on the perpetrators
blindly took an experimental drug technology
have gone above and beyond in their compliance with tyranny
do the perpetrators’ bidding to persuade, silence or shame others who challenge the Official Narrative
The first survival mechanism is Cognitive Dissonance.
This is what happens when a person has a certain opinion, belief or perspective about something and they are presented with an idea, opinion or even evidence that contradicts their previously held stance.
In an interpersonal relationship, the target is going back and forth between s/he loves me, s/he loves me not. Part of their mind can see that something is wrong and they’re being lied to, betrayed or mistreated. Another part of their mind, and the part that’s winning, is reminding the target of the “good times” and when the abuser was saying or doing nice things for them.
When the brain and mind cannot reconcile these two opposing pieces of information, that causes overwhelming stress on the nervous system. The overload of anxiety activates the amygdala circuit and it’s as if the brain gets hijacked, defaulting into a state of denial or defense.
Denial is the most primitive human psychological defense mechanism. It’s a more comfortable place to be than the anxiety caused by internal conflicts, yet the denial becomes maladaptive over time when the person is unable to face the truth.
The hijacking of the brain and nervous system under intense psychological stress is a lot like a tripping the circuit breaker in your house. Let’s say you’re vacuuming the floor and then someone starts using a hair dryer and then maybe someone else turns on the electric kettle. Then suddenly everything shuts off. That’s caused by an overload of energy in the electrical circuit, so the whole house system shuts down to prevent a worse problem.
The human nervous system appears to be the mind-body connection bridge.
It’s a physical system with a physiological purpose and role in the body, yet it speaks the language of energy and consciousness, which is vibration and frequency.
With an overload of energy, whether the surge is due to intense stress in the environment or very uncomfortable inner conflicts, the human nervous system shuts down much like the circuit breaker of a house. This is similar to how Cognitive Dissonance works.
So when you discover new information about the narrative and present that to someone who isn’t ready to see it, they might shut down into denial or mobilize in defense. They might move their body away from you, turn around, stop talking to you, or even attack you for being the messenger.
When a person is more aware of their Cognitive Dissonance, they are more likely to be in a state of defense, where they have access to more energy and clarity than when in the state of total denial. They might say something like, “I can’t look at that because if that’s true, then I can’t exist in a world like that.”
The Cognitive Dissonance creates brain fog, which makes it very difficult to think clearly or even to use critical-thinking at all. A person’s cognitive processes will become heavier and slower. It becomes easier not to think and instead to outsource one’s thinking to an authority figure.
In the state of Cognitive Dissonance, when a person is continually confronted with the truth, either by other people pointing it out or because life itself is smacking them on the head, they will begin to catch more glimpses of reality. Yet they’ll go back and forth between lucidity and defense/denial for some indeterminate amount of time.
When someone you know is in a state of Cognitive Dissonance, you might think you’re having Groundhog Day conversations with them. One day you’re talking together and they’re completely sober in the truth. They see the abuse and acknowledge it. They might even be making plans to leave the abusive situation and start moving forward… Then the next week or day or even hour, it’s like that conversation never happened and they are full-on in the abuser’s trance again, talking about the “good” times and all the “good” they see in the abuser.
Cognitive Dissonance causes a person to want to see the good in the perpetrator, to focus on the good times and to have hope for positive change or a return to the good times. We can see this in society now, where many people have the hope that soon we will go back to normal.
The only way out of the Cognitive Dissonance is to resolve the inner conflict, to accept the truth and to move forward into reality.
The difficulty is that this acceptance can only arise internally in the individual. There’s nothing another person can say or do in order to get them to accept the truth or even to want to see it.
It’s helpful to speak the truth so that those who want to hear it can tune in and perhaps some seeds will be planted for those who aren’t ready yet. However, the individual is the only one who can find the inner motivation to choose the truth over the lie or fantasy.
The dissolution of the Cognitive Dissonance doesn’t come from outside. It’s an inside job, yet at the same time there seems to also be an element of Divine Intervention. There’s a certain point in this journey when a spontaneous moment comes through an event so shocking, it pierces an individual’s denial and they can no longer unsee what they just saw.
That inner spark of motivation and clarity usually causes an individual to suddenly become ravenous for information about the truth. In this stage, they will devour videos, podcasts, books, articles and any other forms of information that helps them understand what happened to them and articulate it in words. That’s when the truth and information become very helpful to an individual. Until then, the truth means nothing to them.
The second survival mechanism, the Stockholm Syndrome, is similar to Cognitive Dissonance but more complex.
There are four parameters of the Stockholm Syndrome:
perceived act of kindness
perceived life threat
perceived inability to escape
The first parameter is isolation.
This refers to physical and/or psychological isolation. They key here is that the target does not have access to outside perspectives, and instead only the narrative of the perpetrator. This narrative begins to dominate the target’s perception of reality as they become completely subscribed to a distorted reality.
Social isolation is stressful and scientists have found that prolonged isolation causes chronically elevated stress hormones, as neuroscientist, Dr. Andrew Huberman explains in his podcast episode #51. This causes the immune system to suffer. He mentions that it also changes the nervous system, negatively influencing the individual’s ability to seek out and form social bonds. Irritability and aggression toward others may happen when the isolated individual gets a chance to socialize again.
Dr. Huberman highlights an important side note that there’s a difference between solitude, which is a choice an individual (particularly those more introverted) may make to spend time alone vs. isolation, which is caused by a restriction placed on an individual from having the social connections they would prefer to have.
The state induced by isolation is disconnection.
In the Polyvagal Theory, our nervous system interprets social connection as safe. We are mammals and mammals co-regulate through social contact where we share eye contact, and in certain connections also physical touch. Our nervous systems regulate each other and this social connection signals safety to our brains.
This is, of course, when we are in safe social connections. Contact with abusive people or those who are otherwise hurting or betraying others is not a safe social connection.
The nervous system reads disconnection as unsafe. So the prolonged isolation causes a state of disconnection which causes feelings of lack of safety, along with increased stress hormones, lower immunity, increased irritability and even aggression.
So how did the isolation take place around the world during the recent years?
In order to understand the individual’s experience, we also need to understand the environment in which the individual exists.
In most places around the world, and some more than others, there is an increasing technological dependence. Many people are on their smartphones or laptops with social media, news, TV and advertisements. For many people, their entire sense of reality is found through the technological devices.
So when the domestic confinement began almost two years ago, people started staying home and had minimal social opportunities. The limited opportunity for social connection was through their devices. For this reason, many people became even more dependent on their tech devices since then.
The delivery of the perpetrator’s message came predominantly through the technology with the shock trauma and bombardment of fear-based and repetitive messaging through specific words, phrases and imagery. The narrative couldn’t have infected so many people so fast if it weren’t for social media. The perpetrators rely on enablers to carry out their bidding for them, and many people were willing to do exactly that.
We also saw a coordinated corporate messaging, where suddenly nearly all corporations were pushing the same words and catch phrases. This is notable in advertising on radio, TV, social media platform pop-ups, online shopping, billboards and even when walking through corporate grocery stores like Walmart or Kroger, where the target’s subconscious is continually assaulted by the perpetrator’s messaging through the loudspeakers playing a tape on repeat, telling people to wear masks, stay six feet apart and get their shots.
With the censorship, propaganda and “fact-checking”, we’ve seen an unprecedented level of information control as the perpetrators aggressively dominate and control what kind of speech and topics are acceptable in society. The perpetrators recruited other targets to silence, shame and smear the brave individuals who are sharing outside perspectives.
The second parameter of the Stockholm Syndrome is a perceived act of kindness.
Perceived is the key word here. It doesn’t matter if it’s not real kindness. What matters is that the target’s nervous system reads it as kindness. The perceived act of kindness works as a form of manipulation to cause a target to relax their guard, extend trust toward the perpetrator, and get pulled back into the abuse dynamic when the perpetrator senses that the target is waking up and potentially going to escape.
This perceived act of kindness is part of the abuse cycle. In an abusive relationship, there is a very clear pattern of intermittent reinforcement, back and forth between two phases: idealization and devaluation, sweet and mean, reward and punishment, love-bombing and degradation. The inconsistency of reward causes a target to work harder, to invest more in that situation or relationship and to develop an almost obsession with compliance based on the hope of getting rewarded.
The state caused by the perceived acts of kindness is an addiction to the hope of reward, pleasure or positive change.
We’ve seen many examples of perceived acts of kindness including, but not limited to:
the “free” vaccine
the vaccine lottery (win $50, $100, up to $1 million in some states, french fries, donuts, guns, trucks, and even a free lap dance by a stripper in Las Vegas if you get jabbed at the strip club)
government stimulus money, unemployment benefits, food baskets
mortgage and student loan forbearance
promises of safety and care: “it’s for your protection”, “to keep everyone safe” and “because we care”
Currently in late February 2022, in some parts of the world, the trend is moving toward this perceived act of kindness. Some restrictions and mandates are being dropped, some freedoms are being restored. So the people’s hopes are getting inflated again as they’re expecting that we are going back to normal.
But this is not the end of the narrative. This is just one part of the abuse cycle.
We’ve been around that abuse cycle multiple times during the last couple years. Each time the cycle repeats, it gets more intense, something like an expedited version of the one before. Eventually it gets to the point where the back and forth is constant every day and the target starts to feel like there’s no more solid ground to stand on.
The third parameter of the Stockholm Syndrome is a perceived life threat.
This is where the internal state of the individual becomes more serious. Again the key word is perceived. When the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) perceives cues of life threat in the environment, whether real or not, it can shut down.
This often doesn’t happen the first time. It’s due to repetitive exposure over time to the bombardment of fear and terrifying messages. At a certain point, the ANS will induce a state of collapse in which the target will be acting on automaton behavior, which makes compliance and control easier for the perpetrator.
The state caused by the perceived life threat is immobilization.
In the state of immobilization, the target will feel frozen, numb, dissociated (zoned out), brain fog, alone and lost in the world, completely untethered to anyone or anything for support.
The numbness is actually due to endogenous opioids that are released to numb the pain. This can be beneficial during a trauma but it becomes maladaptive over time when a person becomes so numbed out they can’t feel their emotions, feelings and even sometimes their body. That’s why they feel locked in this state. It becomes difficult to do anything or take any action forward.
A person’s immune system is further compromised due to this state of collapse. Over time, this state also causes a metabolic shutdown. Since the ANS governs everything the body does that the individual doesn’t have to think about like breathing, heart rate, digestion, and so many other physiological processes, as this state of collapse becomes prolonged, the target will eventually likely develop acute and/or chronic health issues.
In society the perceived life threat is, for one side, about the virus and other people who are perceived as diseased and dangerous. For the other side, the perceived life threat is the growing tyranny. No matter what side you’re on or how aware you are of what’s going on, you can probably relate to being in this state at some point during the last two years.
The fourth and final parameter of the Stockholm Syndrome is a perceived inability to escape.
A target in the state of collapse, ongoing over time, eventually becomes exhausted. It’s not just like feeling tired and needing to sleep. It’s like an existential exhaustion. The target has no more energy to try anything, to strive, to dream of the future. They will feel trapped and unable to get out, even if they are not physically being held captive.
Most abuse victims leave their home every day to go to work, to school to pick up the kids, to the grocery and to do life. Yet they return home to the abuse. They feel like they’re stuck and unable to get out because they’re so hopelessly dependent upon the perpetrator for a sense of survival.
The state induced by the perceived inability to escape is learned helplessness.
This is also described as debility dependency dread. This state leads to apathy, hopelessness, powerlessness, feeling out of control, a loss of meaning and despair.
When a person is locked into this state of consciousness, they don’t even have access to the fight or flight state. Those defense mechanisms require more energy than the person can summon. Their mind’s only theme is “I can’t”. The person is so terrorized, debilitated and dependent on the perpetrator that they won’t usually try to escape.
In this state, a person doesn’t have access to the higher states of consciousness such as critical thinking, the intellectual brain, intuition, insights, awareness and presence. The higher states of consciousness are where an individual can explore their creativity and imagination, and all the beautiful things that make us human. If a person can’t even imagine the way out, how will they ever get out?
Over a period of time in this state, a person becomes spiritually bankrupt. They can lose all faith. When all faith is lost, the only thing left is emptiness. That word emptiness doesn’t do justice for the feeling and experience. It’s the worst pain a person could have because they feel alone and lost with no support, completely untethered to anything else in the universe with no connection or promise of anything ever getting better in the future.
A lot of people have been locked into this state. Some of us have gone in and out as we’ve been working through healing our own traumas, the ones currently being caused and the unresolved trauma from the past that is getting triggered by the ongoing traumas taking place in the present.
When the target perceives there’s no other way out, they will escape into fantasy and other addictive behaviors. Escapism feels like a way out, but it’s not freedom. It’s just a temporary distraction from reality and a person will need more and more of the substance or behavior in order to get the same relief. These behaviors are often very unhealthy to the individual.
There’s been a huge increase in Netflix binge-viewing, pornography and video games as well as weight gain from overindulging in food. There’s a growing trend of empty, casual sex without commitment or emotional connection, where hanging out and hooking up is mostly replacing the old concept of dating. In 2020, Canada’s health officials recommended if people were going to have sex, that they wear face masks and use barriers like walls (e.g: glory holes). Dr. Fauci promoted sex with strangers (but not shaking hands). Last year, Jacinda Ardern said that orgies up to 25 people are good to go. During the last two years, alcohol sales have skyrocketed, as well as drug overdoses and self-harm, including suicide. These are just some of many forms of escapism, often having long-term negative effects on the life of the individual.
When a person is in the state of learned helplessness, we can offer them, from the outside, all the truth and helpful information that exists, but none of that will mean anything to them since their brain can’t even process that information in such a state.
Here, a person is so utterly exhausted, they can barely form coherent thoughts. Sometimes, in extreme cases, the individual starts to lose their ability to do life. They might not shower, brush their teeth, want to get out of bed or off the sofa. They might not even be able to think clearly enough to deal with the pile of mail or pay bills on time, even when they have plenty of money in the bank. The idea of doing anything is exhausting to even think about. Automaton behavior is how the person in this state gets by day to day.
In this state, the person learns that resistance is painful. A wife who experiences marital rape is an example. She learns over a period of time that it’s futile to resist and resistance only leads to more pain, so just let him get it over with. You might’ve also heard people say during the last year that they went to get the shots because they wanted to just get it over with so they can have their life back as promised.
In order for a person to start rebuilding their life after the devastation of abuse, the foundation of that healing work is the self-worth.
Self-worth also becomes our greatest immunity to abuse and manipulation because it makes us question what we are doing, what we really value, what we are consenting to, and what others are trying to get us to do.
However, in the state of collapse and learned helplessness, a person often can’t connect with an inner sense of worthiness. The perpetrator has degraded them to the point that they no longer believe they’re worthy of basic human dignity and human rights, even when someone reminds them that they’re worthy.
In order to get out of this state of flattened human spirit, spiritual bankruptcy, a person most needs to find something worth fighting for. This motivation is usually something beyond the self… whether one’s children, grandkids, or perhaps a connection with one’s Creator and sense of life purpose.
Humanity is on the floor right now, for the most part.
What gets a person up off the floor after this kind of experience is not someone else coming to their rescue. No one else can lift up another person, otherwise they will just fall back down because they haven’t learned how to get back up.
The individual has to find it within, yet what often reignites the human spirit in that state, is thinking about something beyond the self, something that really matters and is worth fighting for.
What matters to you?
What do you really value?
Have you noticed how life has been inviting you to focus more on this during the last couple years?
This post is a transcript with some elaboration from my presentation during the Grand Jury Model Proceeding, Day 4: Injections & Psychological Warfare with Dr. Reiner Fuellmich, Viviane Fischer and their international team of lawyers and other experts.
Here’s a 12 minute video clip from my presentation.