Trauma responses - fight flight fawn and freeze

  • 8 Replies
  • 307 Views
*

johnram

  • Member
  • 131
    • View Profile
Trauma responses - fight flight fawn and freeze
« on: May 22, 2019, 09:24:45 AM »
Hi all,

I am a little confused, i have been reading Pete Walkers CPTSD book and i feel i have displayed all 4 4F responses in differing shapes on the negative end of the continium. When i read such things, they often throw me and i feel a bit muddled and regressed that i have a lot to fix then, but wanted to post to get a sense of others experiences of these matters and working through their trauma responses??

thanks

*

Rainagain

  • Member
  • 1061
  • New member 27/9/17 cptsd diagnosed 20/9/17 oh well
    • View Profile
Re: Trauma responses - fight flight fawn and freeze
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2019, 11:40:52 AM »
I've had the same experience, my response depends on the situation.

Which is exactly what the mechanism was developed to do, it's part of the instinct driven part of us.

Sometimes fight is appropriate if flight isn't viable and so on.

I'm not sure it's even under our control, the amygdala assesses the best option available in milliseconds and off we go.

The key is to calm the hindbrain so it doesn't take over, lull it so it doesn't see threats in non threat situations.

Jordan Peterson says having a plan/strategy to deal with things helps with this. He says the plan needn't be very good as the hindbrain isn't discerning, just having a forebrain approach ready prevents the hindbrain from feeling forced to take over.

That feels exactly right, if circumstances overwhelm me then flight/fight takes over as the last resort.

I suppose my plan is to limit and control interpersonal contact to avoid bad situations occurring, keep everything within the bandwidth I know I can handle. It's harder to find a plan to actually deal with difficulty so I just try to avoid it.

My other thought on this topic is that others cant know how much of a struggle this is, it feels like everything is on the line, all the time.

All that hypervigilance, avoidance, threat assessment, exhausting.

*

johnram

  • Member
  • 131
    • View Profile
Re: Trauma responses - fight flight fawn and freeze
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2019, 11:45:17 AM »
thank you, that makes sense, although hard to plan for everything but having some good defaults makes sense

i do like some Jordan Peterson too


*

Three Roses

  • Member
  • 2898
  • CPTSD is an injury, not an illness.
    • View Profile
Re: Trauma responses - fight flight fawn and freeze
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2019, 02:04:16 PM »
All four of those are reactions that I experience, but for survival's sake my strongest reaction was fight when I was young. As I "grew up" (I chuckle to myself here), of course the societal pressure was to be more conforming and I developed the fawn reaction, with fight concealed below the surface.

These two are still my struggles when dealing with feeling triggered by others. The rest of the time, I mean when I'm alone, I'm mostly in a flight mode, distracting myself with online activity, games, etc. Freeze is in there, too, in certain situations; it seems to come up when I'm feeling a bit triggered but know that I'm safe.

But...knowing and seeing what I'm doing, if it's dysfunctional or otherwise doesn't suit my needs, I can take corrective steps and make it more of a response and less of a knee-jerk reaction.
 :heythere:

*

johnram

  • Member
  • 131
    • View Profile
Re: Trauma responses - fight flight fawn and freeze
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2019, 03:11:29 PM »
so what you have articulated is basically how i am feeling confused

tv / internet - freeze, alongside other addictions / numbing

fight response - had for many teen years, then socialised, but then became passive / timed at work in particular with alpha men/women, and passive aggresive in personal relationships
And some more fawn/ flight aspects too

however, feeling through some of my healing, i am getting more centered, so i can own that fight a bit more, and weaken the flight stuff too

how are you finding the journey?

thank you for sharing also, it helps me contextualise

*

Three Roses

  • Member
  • 2898
  • CPTSD is an injury, not an illness.
    • View Profile
Re: Trauma responses - fight flight fawn and freeze
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2019, 03:26:20 PM »
**TRIGGER WARNING** Mention of religious themes.


My journey goes best and most smoothly when I am mindful of the things I want and feel, the direction I want to take in my life.

It has been challenging for me to form this habit, but it's been the one that's brought me the most peace and focus. I believe in God so touching base here and there with God throughout my day has been helpful. I must confess tho, it has been difficult to envision a loving heavenly father image, or even brother, so I tend to think of the holy spirit as the one I'm communicating with. Spirituality has been the most comforting tool in my tool box. I hope this info is helpful to you.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2019, 03:33:10 PM by Three Roses »

*

johnram

  • Member
  • 131
    • View Profile
Re: Trauma responses - fight flight fawn and freeze
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2019, 04:06:42 PM »
I can understand that
i am not religious, but was raised in a deeply religious household, and understand the comfort aspects
glad you have that

*

woodsgnome

  • Member
  • 1550
  • I did not wish to live what was not life
    • View Profile
Re: Trauma responses - fight flight fawn and freeze
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2019, 06:47:53 PM »
Sometimes there can be a lot of unpacking involved in considering how these 4F responses work. Some people seem to instantly recognize one particular description, and as time rolls along things happen that confirms that identification, and/or the opposite happens and confusion trickles into one's mindset.

We all want to get it 'right', but in this instance I don't think the 4F's are meant to work like this. I prefer to think of them as pointers, not statements permanently assigning traits  to one type or the other. As Walker intimates everyone probably can relate to many items across the spectrum of possibilities. Keep in mind also that not all items in one category will always ring true either.

In our eagerness to figure things out definitively, though, I side with Walker's assertion that the categories can flex and aren't indicative of a permanent state of being 'confined' to the behaviours listed for each type. So despite feeling high on the freeze spectrum, for instance, I can relate to some of those in other types as well.

I know I've mentioned this in previous posts, but I think it's very easy to think ill of the negatives for each type, missing Walker's mention of the good/positive vibes associated with each type. So regarding the 4F's more as pointing out tendencies than as 'prescriptions' has helped me, and definitely with regard to the positive traits and possibilities with each type.

In the end, each person is on a solo path, but I at least found it useful to see, via Walker's 4F explanations, the tendencies that fit me now, and the possibilities both for falling back, and forward.

 








« Last Edit: May 22, 2019, 06:56:57 PM by woodsgnome »

*

Three Roses

  • Member
  • 2898
  • CPTSD is an injury, not an illness.
    • View Profile
Re: Trauma responses - fight flight fawn and freeze
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2019, 11:19:55 PM »
Well said, WG!  :hug: