In this video, Dr. Merchant and his team throw light on 2 syndromes, which though extremely baffling, do exist in modern day society.
The Cougar Syndrome:
A cougar is essentially a predatory mammal of the feline family.
In recent times, it has become a derogatory title, used to describe older women, who choose to get attached to men young enough to be their sons. It is used to liken their attachments, to the way a cougar preys upon its victim, usually a helpless and weak herbivore.
Experts say that the syndrome arises from an older woman’s desire to feel wanted and loved in her waning years.
It tends to make her feel younger and desirable. It fulfills her maternal instincts, which could be unsatisfied owing to absence or loss of a son.
Yet another reason put forward is the need for an energetic lover, owing to a dearth of the same in her own age group.
All in all, a cougar is generally seen as a ruthless manipulative woman, who ensnares her prey, a young man, a toy-boy, who she then controls and uses to satiate her own illicit desires.
The male who gets drawn into this liaison, is considered to have a mother-fixation, of sorts, which he then gets to gratify, by allowing himself to be dominated, smothered and controlled.
These men are thought to be sons of dominating mothers, who get accustomed to being controlled, and hence choose mother figures to submit to masochistically.
However, in recent years, at least in the west, older women and younger men seem to maintain a façade of happy relationships, with quite a few female Hollywood celebrities in affairs with younger men.
Younger men are attracted to these women who are self-assured, confident and above forty years, as opposed to insecure and dependent women in their twenties.
Most of these relationships flounder in due course, but that is a different story.
The Stockholm Syndrome:
The Stockholm syndrome was first noticed during the attempted robbery of Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg in Stockholm, Sweden, from August 23 to August 28, 1973. For a period of 6 days, a group of 4 bank employees had been held hostage by 2 ex-convicts, inside the Kreditbanken vault.
In an amazing turn of events, the hostage victims became compassionate and empathetic towards their prosecutors. At the end of their ordeal, six days later, the hostages resisted being rescued by the authorities. They refused to testify against their captors, and even went to the extent of raising funds for their legal defense. There were reports that two of the hostages eventually became engaged to their captors.
According to experts, this Syndrome occurs when a person is captured and incarcerated, with no means of escape, is verbally threatened with death, or dire consequences, but is also shown token acts of kindness by the tormenter.
Then the human instinct for survival takes over, making the captives try all possible avenues to keep their captor happy, leading to a gradual obsessive identification with the thoughts and feelings of the captor, and eventually leading to a distortion of the captives’ emotions to an extent where they finally become sympathetic to their oppressors.
While the Stockholm syndrome primarily explains what happens in hostage-taking situations, it can also be used to understand the pro-tormenter behavior of other victims of oppression, viz., battered spouses, tortured companions or mates of alcoholics and drug addicts, members of religious cults, Holocaust victims, household pets, etc.
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