Battered Man Syndrome

Battered Man Syndrome is a complex combination of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Stockholm Syndrome.  

Stockholm Syndrome

Is a form of traumatic bonding, which does not necessarily require a hostage scenario, but which describes “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.” 

One commonly used the hypothesis to explain the effect of Stockholm syndrome is based on Freudian theory. It suggests that the bonding is the individual’s response to trauma in becoming a victim. Identifying with the aggressor is one way that the ego defends itself. When a victim believes the same values as the aggressor, they cease to be perceived as a threat.

Once this occurs this, the victim’s concept of normal begins to change on a very dangerous level.

PTSD  Symptoms:

(a) Re-experiencing the abuse as if it were recurring even when it is not. In a history of verbal abuse, this can sound like a tape of self-doubt in your mind and a reoccurrence of the verbal abuse over and over again.  This is severely destructive to the self-esteem.

(b) Attempts to avoid the psychological impact of abuse by avoiding activities, people, and emotions.  This can look like avoidance of normal activities which triggered the abuse and isolation from friends and family.

(c) Hyperarousal or hypervigilance most of the day. Do you feel on edge all fo the time? Do you startle easily?

(d) Disrupted interpersonal  (family, friends or work) relationships are a casualty of abuse.

(e) body image distortion or other somatic concerns

(f) sexuality and intimacy issues.

Additionally, repeated cycles of violence and reconciliation can result in the following beliefs and attitudes:

  • The abused thinks that the violence was his fault.
  • The abused has an inability to place the responsibility for the violence elsewhere.
  • The abused fears for his life, and/or, the lives of loved ones whom the abuser might or has threatened to harm (e.g., children-in-common, close relatives or friends).
  • The abused has an irrational belief that the abuser is omnipresent and omniscient.

In addition, due to many of the western cultural beliefs, men are not seen as potential abuse victims, thus the abuse often goes unreported.