Trauma Bonding/ Stockholm Syndrome in the Black Community

Understand what Trauma Bonding is, Stop Dating your Patients, Know your Partners Demons

Oftentimes we find that relationships between men and women can be difficult to maneuver when you have two people, from two different backgrounds and two different life experiences coming together to forge a relationship where compromise is one of the keys to the success of that relationship. There can be certain complications within these relationships that can be harmful to one or the other.

Although women are more likely to be victims of Stockholm Syndrome, anyone can be a victim if the right conditions exist. Battered partners or spouses are a prime example of Stockholm Syndrome. I will share some insight on this issue within the Black community in this IG Live.

As promised, I am doing this video on Trauma Bonding and Stockholm Syndrome in the Black community. I feel like maybe this is more for women, but I do think that men should listen because they be trippin’ sometimes. But it is more for women because oftentimes we are the ones that get stuck dealing with this syndrome and its process.

Allow me to explain first what Stockholm Syndrome is. Stockholm Syndrome is when you experience a feeling of trust or affection as a victim towards a perpetrator of a crime or something that this perpetrator has done towards you directly. I have previously given this example and it just so happens to be something that has happened recently; between Meg Thee Stallion and Tory Lanez, this is a perfect example of Stockholm Syndrome. She had a feeling of trust or affection (potentially) towards him and he allegedly, committed a crime against her ( we say allegedly because while she has been on social media speaking about this incident, there has been no official finding of guilt on his part neither has charges been filed against him concerning this alleged shooting, as she did not report him to police at the time of his apprehension; which was a result of reports that shots were fired in a particular neighborhood and police were called to the scene) and she protected him because she felt these feelings of trust and affection.

Oftentimes in the Black community, we witness that with Black women. If you reference the 60’s, Black women have been doing this since then and more than likely prior to that. Men used to BEAT US and we would not do anything about it. We would never call the police; our friends and families would be aware of the situation, but the law was never involved. This is a deep seeded issue with Black people, and it is crazy because everyone was discussing Meg Thee Stallion and Tory Lanez but no one was using the term, Stockholm Syndrome and that is when I recognized that this is something that Black people have not dealt with, they do not even understand that there is a name for it. There is no understanding that this is a “thing” this is not just something that happens every now and then; this is an actual thing that we have been dealing with for a very long time.

The way that people develop Stockholm Syndrome is that they have gone through a traumatic experience in order for this syndrome to exist. Especially with women, what ends up happening is…my homegirl and I were discussing this, and she was telling me that she had a “why” mentality instead of a “what” mentality. So, what we will do as women and (I have had personal experience with this) is that we will look at a person’s actions and only see the “what” behind their actions, instead of the “why” behind their actions. For example, if a person robs a bank, we will focus on “what” they did but never address the “why” they did it. This happens to the Black community all the time, people look at our actions and they do not consider the “why” behind those actions.

A lot of times, when we go through a traumatic experience, to me…it causes us to look at why this person did this or that, so we have developed a “why” mentality. Now, as it pertains to the dating realm when we start dating, the guys that we were “talking” to had gone through traumatic experiences so they would act a certain way, they may have disrespected us or they may have said some things that we did not agree with or they made us feel some type of way, they cheated and personally speaking, I developed the “why” mentality. I know that at one point, she was cheated on and instantly my first reaction was, maybe he did it because he did not know what to do and I was making all these excuses because I was wondering why.

I think that we have a tendency to do this in our relationships and we allow men to get a pass on horrible, unacceptable behavior because we are focused on the “why” especially because of the traumatic experiences that we have gone through ourselves. I know that in my dating life, I regulated my issues but some of the people that I have dated have not and if I can relate to their traumatic experiences, I will end up giving them a pass;( he said this to me and I did not like it but he only said that because he is going through some things)…NO! You do not get a pass. I do not think that we should be giving people passes unless it is something that they are not aware that they are doing. A lot times, though these dudes know exactly what they are doing, and they will use their traumatic experiences as an excuse as to why they behave this way.

So, they are aware of what they are doing but they are just “trying” it with the right one. It is crazy because for me not only did…I feel like I still have Stockholm Syndrome, but I have to check myself, not only do I have Stockholm Syndrome but I have a “Savior Complex” as well (not a good combination at all in a relationship). In addition to having the “why” mentality, I am also an Empath, which is defined as someone who is highly aware of the emotions of those around them, to the point of feeling these emotions themselves. Empaths see the world differently than other people; they are keenly aware of others, their pain points and what they need emotionally. But it is not just emotions. So, I can feel the emotions of others and the pain that you have gone through and on top of that, I am a psychology major, so I am always going to dissect and try to figure something out and that is not healthy in a relationship with a person who has gone through traumatic experiences.

Another thing that I have learned is that women who think like me, especially in the field of psychology and social work and similar occupations, we date people with traumatic experiences, and it is like we are dating our patient. I had to figure out that that was unacceptable too. This person cannot be your patient and you are dating them as well. It is out of the question because you will begin to accept certain things that are not acceptable. When I was in a relationship, I would point out things that I saw was wrong and I would let them know that they needed to deal with the many issues that they had going on. But I was not walking away from the relationship. Because I wanted to give them a chance to better themselves and you cannot do that. Once you see that what that person is dealing with is outside the realm of what you can control or that they do not want to control, because I have been in a relationship where the person did not want to deal with their issues, they wanted it to fester and that should have been the moment that I recognized that I cannot be in this relationship. But as women we get caught up to the point that we do not want to walk away because we feel (especially with Black men), they need someone that they can count on, somebody to talk to (and I am not saying that they do not need these things) but we cannot get so caught up that they are hurting us and over a period of time, that is exactly what we do. Then we talk about how Black men are hurting us, that they are abusing us and taking advantage of us but we are putting ourselves in a position to be hurt and mistreated and we just do not see it, because of all the traumatic experiences that we have gone through as a whole.

So, it is like this big cycle and it is very unfortunate but that is why I say…and I am not saying this is exclusive to Black women because I believe that Black men have gone through experiences like that too where they are dealing with a woman who is toxic. It is not exclusive to us, but it is more common among Black women because if you look at the trend, in the 60’s and even before that, we have been in the habit of protecting Black men even after they have beat us down (I am not saying that all Black men are bad, so do not come for me) I am just saying that Stockholm Syndrome and Trauma Bonding is serious with us, we need to take it more seriously and we have to stop these cycles. For any men that may be watching this, please get on your homeboys and look at yourself and make sure that you are doing your part to stop this cycle because you are hurting us and I feel like once you hurt us Black women and you keep hurting us…listen, I am an advocate for the Black man, I am out here all the time telling Black women do not come for Black men because they have gone through their stuff too, but you are making it hard to put up a defense and maintain a feeling of compassion when you continue to hurt us (your staunch supporters) and after a while, if you keep hurting us, of course they are going to turn their back, what do you expect them to do? After you have hurt us, who else is going to protect you, who else is going to support you? That is something to think about and we know that you all are hurting too, we understand that, but we have been there too!

My favorite thing to say is to be mindful of the things that you are putting off on other people. Women, stop being so accepting of this negative behavior, be sure that you are aware of the things that you are accepting and willingly dealing with…make sure you know that they are demons before you walk into those relationships. Please stop allowing your boyfriend/significant other/spouse to be your patient. I talk about these things because I have been there. I just want you all to be mindful, there are a lot of cycles that we need to stop, and this is one of them.

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Destinee (The Empress Dee) Porter is a Restorative Justice Facilitator for Sexton High School in Lansing, MI. She is also the CEO of Empress Training Inc. which, educates young African American women about their African Lineage promoting self-love, divine femininity, and the expression of knowledge and grace. In the near future she aspires to become a Life Coach and Therapist for young men and women of color.

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