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Stockholm syndrome is, “a theorized condition in which hostages develop a psychological bond with their captors during captivity.”

Do you all remember Patty Hearst? Wealthy granddaughter of a publishing magnate kidnapped in 1974 by the Symbionese Liberation Army and arrested 19 months later after a series of crimes including bank robbery. There were theories at the time, either she had voluntarily joined them and was playing the victim to avoid prosecution or after months of rape and abuse she developed Stockholm Syndrome and was brainwashed into complying. It should be noted that she had dropped to 87 pounds and appeared to have that low affect, zombie like demeanor that goes along with trauma. She was convicted but later pardoned.

A little known fact, but John Wayne once pointed out that the people were willing to believe that Jim Jones had brainwashed 900 people into suicide, but a brainwashed young girl was actually held fully accountable and sentenced to more time in prison than her kidnappers were sentenced to, for actually kidnapping her.

I have always despised the whole notion of Stockholm Syndrome, refused to believe in it, or participate in it, even though I know perfectly well it is real enough thing in the world. I grew up in the 60’s, those I depended on where completely unreliable and unpredictable due to their own trauma. It makes for a very unsafe and unsettling world for a kid. All you can be certain of is that no one can be counted on, no one can be trusted, not even to behave in a predictable manner. It just creates untold damage, layers and layers of distrust and abandonment. By the same token, I’ve never felt any compassion or empathy towards Patty Hearst.

I once made one of those Scarlett O’hara vows, As God is my witness, as long as I live, I shall never succomb to Stockholm Syndrome.

So because of all that personal history is it darkly humorous to me that the Lord saw fit to just place me right at this moment in time where it often seems as if the entire world has fallen face first into full blown Stockholm Syndrome. Good grief, it is just everywhere. You cannot avoid dealing with it no matter how hard you try. Never mind the woes of the whole world, one should totally spare some empathy for me! All in good humor here, but this is like major daily trigger of constant childhood trauma and some huge psychological upheaval.

It is chilling, right to the bone, when someone I once respected who has always had a logical mind and a background in science, starts parroting absolute propaganda to me in a sing-songy voice. Ai yi yi yi. The stuff of nightmares I tell ya, and happening on a daily basis.

It should be noted here that I truly do despise zombies, these totally imaginary, undead creatures that they are. Just the same, my usual compassion and charitability goes right out the window when I spot one like them. Blech, whack them in the head with a shovel and be done with it. Next!

You should know I have never actually whacked anyone in the head with a shovel, but “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” The feelings, the desire, the state of my soul, certainly lives there on occasion.

Anyhow, the Lord has been leading me to cut some of those ties, to come to forgive those their Stockholm Syndrome, and to set myself free of these entanglements. I am no longer a child, no longer that dependent on others, and so it is now somewhat safe for me to just let the zombies roam around in their own brainwashing until they see fit to do something about it, themselves.

It’s tough because I will never forget what they did, how much suffering they have caused, and how betrayed and abandoned I have felt. Just the same, mass formation psychosis, Stockholm Syndrome, and brainwashing are real enough psychological conditions that do impact our behavior. They probably impact mine to some extent too, it is just that I have also dedicated nearly every waking moment to avoiding such a fate, so I have considerably reduced the possibility.

It really helps to have the Lord too, constantly renewing my mind and lighting the path before me. He brings these little things to my attention, especially the things within me. He is quite right in this case too, I really am carrying around an awful lot of unforgiveness and rather devoid of compassion towards those who have bought the lies. I need to have more compassion towards them in part because buying into lies always carries it’s own punishment, often a very brutal and unjust one.

Grace is available, even to those who are sucker punched by trauma, propaganda, and brainwashing, even to those who buy into all the lies. God is merciful, He understands, and He sees clearly where I can only see through a foggy window. God knows in which ways people are accountable for what they do and need to repent, and in which ways they are not.

He also knows that people often suffer greatly, not because they deserve to, but simply because they have bought a lie, they have been unable to discern the truth.

So that is what I am working on, attempting to be more compassionate and understanding towards others, trying not to get my hackles up, and trying to extend grace to people who weren’t able to be there for me or for themselves, when it really mattered.

I often say, absolutely everyone is brainwashed to some degree. It is not optional, therefore choose wisely what you shall wash your brain with. I prefer to wash mine in the blood of Jesus. We can’t control the fact that we will be influenced, but we sure can control what or Who will be influencing us.

So that’s where I’m at in my walk with the Lord, listening to His prompting, His gentle whisper reminding me to, forgive them their Stockholm Syndrome.