There’s this professor in psychology, Viktor Frankl, who survived the Holocaust. He has written books about how he, and others, managed to survive Auschwitz, and return to life once they had. Extremely fascinating books, I highly recommend e.g. The Will to Meaning.
He describes how there are three different values that give meaning to life, creative, experiental and attitudinal values, and he claims that the latter are the most important.
Since suffering is an inescapable part of life, people need to find meaning in suffering, we need to make suffering in itself meaningful. What we can do when we are placed by fate in a situation of extreme suffering – like Frankl was when he found himself in Auschwitz, is decide on how to bear ourselves in adversity. “What matters is the stand they take – a stand which allows for transmuting their predicament into achievement, triumph and heroism”, writes Frankl.
When we decide that suffering is caused by god, as a test, or by the devil, we turn it into a possibility for us to become victors instead of victims. This is a question of giving suffering an attitudinal value according to Frankl, this is what we do to survive. In facing suffering thus, we make suffering the meaning of life, and use it to transcend what we were before. This way we are also able to forgive those who cause us to suffer. We see them as instruments that make us add attitudinal values to life, instead of instruments of torture. This belongs to our method of survival. Attitudinal values are what allowed people to survive Auschwitz, claims Frankl.
Studying the women at Polygamy 411, and the stories of other women being forced to live polygamy, they are clearly using the exact same psychological method to survive. They take glory and pride in their suffering and their upright way of bearing it. They say suffering made them turn to god, focus on god, suffering made them less selfish made them more appreciative, made them understand the true meaning of life.
Surviving polygamy is just like Frankl described surviving Auschwitz. These women are all suffering from PTSD and they are using religion and their own form of logotherapy to survive the torture.
One difference is though, that women forced to live polygamy are not only tortured by Mengele, they are also married to him, and he is the father of their children.