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Why Jaycee Lee Dugard Felt Committed To Her Abductors

Feb. 12 2010, Published 8:42 a.m. ET

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Jaycee Lee Dugard’s secret diary entries revealed Thursday in court papers showed a glimpse of her conflicted feelings towards her abductors Phillip and Nancy Garrido. Experts, after analyzing her words, gave insight on how Jaycee could have felt any warmth and loyalty towards the people who robbed her of her family and freedom.

Read Jaycee Lee Dugard's Own Words From Captivity

On July 16, 1993, Dugard wrote: "I got a cat for my birthday from Phil and Nancy...They did something for me that no one else would do for me, they paid 200 dollars just so I could have my own kitten."

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SHOCKING PHOTOS: See Inside The Home Of Phillip And Nancy Garrido

Dr. Michael Levittan, a licensed psychotherapist who has not treated Jaycee, gave the reason behind her affection expressed for her captors in this diary entry. “The phenomenon called the Stockholm syndrome, then the Patty Hearst Syndrome, is that even if you’re abducted and time goes by, you’re dependant upon those people for survival. You don’t know whether or not they’re going to kill you or keep you alive, you need to food, clothing and shelter so you start to bond with the people that abducted you for these basic needs. Even if they’ve assaulted you or raped you there is this phenomenon that is very understandable. That is why it is called a syndrome, when people start to bond with their captors. That would explain the enormous power thy have over her.”

He explained her reaction to the kindness. “Especially where there is an abduction and rape and basically incarceration- she is traumatized and deprived of and experiencing the loss of her parents, home, her school mates- she is experiencing tremendous loss so she would have a void so she would be so grateful for anything they would give her."

Monster Who Kidnapped Jaycee Dugard Wants Video & Photos Of Her And Kids

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A second expert, Dr. Stacy Wadlington, a licensed clinical psychologist who has not treated Dugard, said that this was not a situation where a child was happy about getting a kitten.

“You look at it and you’re looking at someone who is operating in a situation that is extremely not normal and unhealthy and she tries to normalize it. She just tries to make the best of it that she can. It becomes her reality.  Her reality becomes a combination of his concocted reality and having to push down her true sense of herself and her true sense of her own history.”

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Jaycee wrote an entry on September 5, 2003, that reads: "I don't want to hurt him...sometimes I think my very presence hurts how can I ever tell him how I want to be free. Free to come and go as I please....Free to say I have a family. I will never cause him pain if it is in my power to prevent it. FREE.”

“He’s operating from a manipulative point for secondary gain,” Dr. Wadlington said. “It is unfortunate for her. She’s got to be torn. For her to be denied her true family and the foundation of her family was devastating and then she was told he was her family and it’s a false sense of family for her. That’s what she had.  I believe that these entries show that there was a sense of commitment she felt to him that was pretty strong, a sense of identifying him as a person who had the final say in her everyday functioning and how she lived her life.”

Phillip Garrido
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On July 5, 2004, Dugard wrote: "It feels like I'm sinking. I'm afraid I want control of my life...this is supposed to be my life to do with what I like...but once again he has taken it away. How many times is he allowed to take it away from me? I'm afraid that he doesn't see how the things he says makes me a prisoner...why don't I have control of my life! I feel I can’t even be sure my thoughts are my own...”

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Jaycee’s Dad Reveals His Plan For Revenge Against Kidnapper

Dr. Levittan surmised that her expressing desire to have control is an appropriate reaction at her age and development stage. “At that, point though her development has been thwarted yet she has gotten older, she is not only purely in the backyard, she has gained a little bit of awareness of things and she is speaking more as a more mature individual and she is being able to talk about her own feelings. I want control of my life, she is getting more in touch with her own needs.  All these quotes are very understandable under the circumstances for Jaycee.”

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Dr. Myra Glick, a licensed psychologist and Forensic Chair at the Monterey Bay Psychological Association who has not treated Dugard, told that “it is apparent that Phillip Garrido is a master manipulator and that most of his communication with Jane Doe was in a powerful private code.  In this code, the slightest indication of will on her part was a cruel rebuke to him.  The private world in which they lived was a topsy-turvy, cruel version of reality.”

VIDEO INTERVIEW: Jaycee’s Biological Dad Breaks Down, Wants To Be In Her Life

Phillip and Nancy Garrido face a total of 29 charges including kidnapping, rape and false imprisonment.



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