Lack of defense learned, or how to get used to abuse

Lack of defense learned, or how to get used to abuse

When we talk about battered women, often the question we all ask ourselves is "why do not they flee?"
For us, it's easy to flee, and we imagine an escape like the one staged in the film Nights with my enemy, where Julia Roberts pretends to be a victim of a premeditated shipwreck.

However, for a person who is continually subjected to mental and / or physical torture, fleeing is not so easy because it can be explained, among other things, by a phenomenon that the psychologist Seligman studied in the 1860s, known as the name of "lack of defense learned", or "domestic Stockholm syndrome".

What is the lack of defense learned?

The lack of defense learnedis the result of a series of studies conducted in the laboratory with animals according to the principles of the psychological current of behavioralism.

Seligman subjected several animals to electric shocks that they could not escape. Little by little, animals have learned that whatever they do, they will not be spared, so they stop acting.
After a while, even when it was possible to avoid landfills, the animals did not move and let themselves go, since they had previously learned that it was impossible to flee. This passivity, conditioned by the fact of not being able to flee at a certain moment, stabilized in time.

The lack of defense taught immobilizes the victims. And that's not just for relationships, but also for fathers-daughters, relationships at work, and so on.

As Juan José Millás rightly says in his magnificent book titled The Nevenka case, a history of harassmentwe humans are like colored fish; despite their beauty, some have a conduct that could be described as cannibal:

"If as you say Ismael hit you, why did not you defend yourself?" Nevenka asked. […] The existential process that invaded Nevenka should not be very different from that of the colored fish […] One day, shortly after the start of the relationship, the fish surrounded her and bit her a fin, which was an unexpected bite […] Harassment did not happen overnight, it was a slow process When they hit you, you're no longer a person, it's not your fins that you lose, but your will. "

What can be done to fight the lack of defense learned?

What to do when the process of lack of defense learned takes hold of your soul, and what do you think, whatever you do, nothing will change?

Getting out of this vicious circle is not easy. Indeed, that says lack of defense learned says total lack of self-confidence. There is no point in asking questions like "why not run away?", Since it only allows one thing: to drive the victim deeper than she already is, she who is convinced that she is worthless and nothing and no one can change this situation.

The first thing to do islearn to recognize this lack of defense learnedand ask for help, since this phenomenon affects our psyche, and it is very difficult to flee from oneself. If we believe behavioral psychologists, everything that has been programmed can be deprogrammed.

In this way, by helping you, you will succeed in getting rid of the lack of defense learned through techniques such as systematic desensitization, which will allow you to move forward. slowly but surely towards the final goal, namely independence.

This learning, or "unlearning", everything depends on how you see things, will necessarily be accompanied by an indispensable work on theself esteem ; you have to believe in yourself and in your abilities. What more ?

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