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Dr. Frank Ochberg said the relationship can sometimes involve a “trauma bond,” whether it’s a physically abusive marriage or a kidnapping situation.

People in this situation become “infantilized, dominated. They end up being attached to the person who dominates them, much like a child,” Ochberg said.

Small gifts of kindness from a captor, such as a bit of food or a trip to the bathroom, can create positive feelings within the victim.

“Someone takes away the fear, the isolation, and we have positive feelings,” he said. “That could be the beginning of a trauma bond.”

In other cases, it can be more rational. “They know the risks of escape, and they don’t want to take the risk,” Ochberg said.