My friend Diana wrote that her rabbits may have Stockholm Syndrome. This was yesterday, the day I clipped Silver’s toenail a little to short and made it bleed. When I clipped, Silver gave a start and cuddled into my elbow pit. She stayed formed into my body for a while and I didnt notice the blood right away. He reaction to toenail clipping is extreme anyway, typical of her species.
Of course, I felt terrible, but also touched that she could want to hide in my body even after I caused her stress. Did she know it was me who did it? Did she know I clipped her toenail on purpose, if not with malicious intent? I have put a lot of effort into making a bond with Silver. When she wanted down, she did not go into her bunker. Within minutes she had pooped in an inappropriate place. I attributed this to stress rather than retribution.
I admit, I had not heard of Stockholm Syndrome. I had to look it up. It is an odd behavior where human hostages develop affection for their captors. This seems freaky, at first. Then I got to thinking about childhood attachment and A Child’s Journey Through Placement by Vera Fahlberg.
Normally, the child forms an attachment to the parent when the parent successfully meets her needs. The parent forms a bond to the child by providing her with care and seeing that her needs are met. The optimum age for attachment to form is before three years old. The quality of the child’s attachment to the parent determines her later emotional bonds to others and her academic achievement. After three years, the ability to attach securely to a caregiver decreases.
Diana, when she shops for fresh greens at the farmers market and fills the treat balls with pellets or ignores the territorial doots because they are normal, is bonding to her rabbits the same way that a parent bonds with her child. Rabbits, being very social animals, may be forming a normal attaching to Diana, not Stockholm Syndrome.
Attachment can be disrupted when the parent cares for another family member who is chronically ill, when the parent has a chronic illness and cannot care for the child, or when the child is ill and in the care of others.
Children who come from abusive homes and those who are poorly attached become distressed when they are removed form their parents. Do they have Stockholm Syndrome?
When hostages develop affection to their captors, does it indicate that the captors have been meeting at least some of their needs? Have they been forming a bond with their hostages?
I think too much. I am full of “it.” Diana was just joking.