We hear this counterintuitive detail in many cases where kidnap victims and people in abusive relationships feel sympathy for their captors/abusers, identifying with them and even bonding with them. Natascha Kampusch, the young woman who only three years ago escaped from the man who abducted her at age 10 and kept her in a windowless cellar for eight and a half years, was distraught after hearing that he had committed suicide. Some psychologists say that this sympathy is, in part, what keeps abused women so psychologically attached to their abusers.
Although it's probably impossible for most of us who have never been in such extreme situations to imagine that someone would have any positive feelings toward a person who abused them or imprisoned them, psychologists have a term for why it happens: Stockholm syndrome. To find out what this fascinating and disturbing psychological term means, read more