Collapse response

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Annegirl

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Collapse response
« on: September 25, 2014, 10:24:02 AM »
I was talking to my T and I told her about how when my mother beat me too long I would somehow go limp and go into a different place and I wouldn't feel pain. She asked if that is how I respond to different situations in my mind now too. Without actually collapsing physically anymore, I hadn't thought about it before but then I realised I block things out and go to a different place in my mind to stop the pain, if I try to sit with the pain like I have been able to do at times right now if I try it I am like a stuck record just full of confusion and I can't make sense of anything. Anyone else experience this? I'm just wondering how long it will last.

I found out in Pete Walker's book that it was called the collapse response.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2014, 10:37:21 AM by Annegirl »

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bheart

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Re: Collapse response
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2014, 10:46:53 AM »
Hi Annegirl,
I am sorry for what your mother did to you.   What you describe as a child sounds familiar.  I would be in fear and freeze up unable to move or even feel my body (paralyzed) and now realize it was dissociation.  I can't say what you describe is dissociation because I'm not a professional.  Has your T said that is what it probably was?  From what I have read everyones experience with dissociation is different.   After starting therapy I discovered that I still do it and it would happen without me being aware of it or having control of it.  I described my experience in another post yesterday if you are interested.  I have recently tried grounding in therapy so I can stay present for my sessions.  When you ask how long it will last are you talking about each episode?  If so, I believe I went entire sessions dissociated and also at times only lasted just long enough to describe an event that happened to me.  I apologize if that is not what you are asking.  I hope this helps in some way.

 :hug:


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Annegirl

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Re: Collapse response
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2014, 11:01:19 AM »
Thank you so much for this bheart.

Yes, that's what I was meaning. thank you. It's interesting that you say it was dissociation, I didn't realise, but I didn't freeze up. I just would go limp and not feel any more pain even when she kept hitting me although she stopped almost immediately every time, I think she thought I'd died because her reaction was always seemed like she was worried but then I'd move because she'd stopped even though I thought "why does she only do it when it hurts me and then when it stops hurting she stops"

Pete Walker says you see this response in animals when they are about to be killed and they seem to succumb to what is happening and have a painless death, which is how I felt.

Different to what you experiencedI wouldn't feel afraid, I would freeze up with fear before she would start.

The collapse is limp, couldn't stand, sit nothing.
So this is interesting that you also still do this in your mind, your description of how you dissociate in therapy after you have dared say what you want to say made me realise I do this also.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2014, 12:00:25 PM by Annegirl »

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bheart

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Re: Collapse response
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2014, 11:15:00 AM »
Your welcome.  I  use the word 'freeze' because I couldn't move but maybe it is the same as collapse.  I'm not sure.  I did read the Pete Walker book and your sentence is the one I relate my childhood experience with dissociation.  :thumbup:



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bheart

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Re: Collapse response
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2014, 11:39:11 AM »

Hi Anne, I just saw this. 

"Different to what you experienced I wouldn't feel afraid, the fear always came before she would start."

My abuse was different which is probably why I stayed 'afraid'. I was not beat (I hate that this happened to you).    I shared a room with my sister and my father who was a violent alcoholic who SA us, would come into our dark room at night.  I would be so afraid I would freeze up and could not feel or see anything but was aware.  He would be going to my older sister CSA.   

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keepfighting

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Re: Collapse response
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2014, 11:51:42 AM »
Hi annegirl,

I am so sorry for what your mother did to you.  :bighug:

In my FOO, my little brother was the one who was on the receiving end of physical abuse more than any of us girls. He's got neurological damage as a result (his brain was damaged and he lost some motoric functions in one hand and arm). I've seen him resort into the state you describe and I think that 'collapse response' is the correct term (though it never occured to me to name it that until I read your post and memories of my brother's response during an attack from one or both of my parents came flooding back.... :'( ). I used 'freeze' as a response but my brother needed to dissociate more than me in order to endure and the way I understand Pete Walker, 'collapse' is the extreme 'freeze' response.

When reading Walker's book, I couldn't imagine what 'collapse response' looks like and now I realize I've witnessed it several times... This kind of silent reponse seemed to anger my parents even more and cause them to inflict even more damage...  :'(

(My little brother really has been broken by my parents. He's doing relatively fine now - as good as it'll ever get, probably - has a dog who loves him unconditionally and a group of other struggling grownups where he can turn to for support)

I've got a book with exercises to get you out of extreme dissociation but I haven't tried them myself since I've never experienced this kind of response so I don't know whether or not they are helpful. Need to look them up for you (but not today - too little time, alas).

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Annegirl

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Re: Collapse response
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2014, 12:08:18 PM »

Hi Anne, I just saw this. 

"Different to what you experienced I wouldn't feel afraid, the fear always came before she would start."

My abuse was different which is probably why I stayed 'afraid'. I was not beat (I hate that this happened to you).    I shared a room with my sister and my father who was a violent alcoholic who SA us, would come into our dark room at night.  I would be so afraid I would freeze up and could not feel or see anything but was aware.  He would be going to my older sister CSA.   

Bheart that's really awful, that must have been very scary ( very scary doesn't even say it right?) words can't say these experiences properly.

Hi annegirl,



In my FOO, my little brother was the one who was on the receiving end of physical abuse more than any of us girls. He's got neurological damage as a result (his brain was damaged and he lost some motoric functions in one hand and arm). I've seen him resort into the state you describe and I think that 'collapse response' is the correct term (though it never occured to me to name it that until I read your post and memories of my brother's response during an attack from one or both of my parents came flooding back.... :'( ). I used 'freeze' as a response but my brother needed to dissociate more than me in order to endure and the way I understand Pete Walker, 'collapse' is the extreme 'freeze' response.

When reading Walker's book, I couldn't imagine what 'collapse response' looks like and now I realize I've witnessed it several times... This kind of silent reponse seemed to anger my parents even more and cause them to inflict even more damage...  :'(


Keep fighting this is horrific, I feel for you and your brother so much. Your parents must have been pretty * up to keep going after he'd collapsed, they almost killed him. So sad. Words can't say enough.

Thank you for that you will look up those books with exercises sometime, that should be helpful.

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Annegirl

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Re: Collapse response
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2014, 12:12:06 PM »



My abuse was different which is probably why I stayed 'afraid'. I was not beat (I hate that this happened to you).    I shared a room with my sister and my father who was a violent alcoholic who SA us, would come into our dark room at night.  I would be so afraid I would freeze up and could not feel or see anything but was aware.  He would be going to my older sister CSA.   

Bheart this is really horrific I'm so sorry that you went through that. <3

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Annegirl

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Re: Collapse response
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2014, 10:16:45 PM »
What is grounding?

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bheart

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Re: Collapse response
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2014, 10:24:52 PM »
Hi Annegirl,

Thank you for your kind words.  I googled 'grounding dissociation' and here is a link that describes grounding, but there are many.  I started taking something with me to therapy to hold in my hand and when things started getting emotional I would focus on it (but you can focus on anything).  I think it would be a hit and miss thing, that what works for one may not work for someone else. 
 :hug:


http://www.peirsac.org/peirsacui/er/educational_resources10.pdf

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Rain

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Re: Collapse response
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2014, 10:49:47 PM »
I am so sorry, so sad in reading the abuse on OOTS.   I did not endure direct sexual and physical abuse like this from my FOO.   I did experience physical abuse daily at school for years however.

This is why I have had such difficulty taking my child abuse seriously ...I do, finally.   It was serious.

You and your siblings child abuse was horrific, and was far beyond the abuse I went through.   Yet the emotional abuse is the same, at the core.  Sadly, a decade or so ago, I heard the absolute worst I could imagine for child abuse ...and, I pray I never hear anything worse.

My heart breaks for what you have gone through, and for what you witnessed.    You did not deserve it.   You deserved to be loved, cherished.

How humans do this abuse to their children ....
« Last Edit: March 15, 2015, 01:13:20 PM by Rain »

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bheart

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Re: Collapse response
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2014, 12:32:44 AM »
I did not endure direct sexual and physical abuse like this from my FOO.
This is why I have had such difficulty taking my child abuse seriously ...I do, finally.   It was serious.


Rain, Thank you for your kind words. 

I have known people that have the same difficulty and all it did was delay them getting the needed care they deserve.  It makes me reluctant to give details because I would not want anyone to minimize what happened to them.  Thank you for pointing this out and I am very happy that you take it seriously.   :hug:
« Last Edit: September 26, 2014, 12:50:53 AM by bheart »

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keepfighting

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Re: Collapse response
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2014, 10:47:50 AM »
There were 3 exercises to combat dissociation:

1) The grounding exercise

3) A worksheet to determine the triggers of your dissociation


2) The fist exercise.

I'll try and translate it for you/us:


- Before you start, think of a recent situation in which you've felt happy, comfortable and confident about yourself so you can recall it during the exercise.

- Sit comfortably, eyes open, concentrate on your non-dominant hand (left if you're righthanded; right if you're lefthanded)

- Make your non-dominant hand into a fist so you can feel tension but no pain. 'Send' all the tension and stress/anxiety from your body into this one fist (2 minutes maximum). Watch your knuckles go white and feel the pressure in your fingers and the palm of your hand. Imagine your fist being like a magnet that attracts all the negative tension in your body, through your shoulders and your arm into your fist. Can you feel it happening?

- If it helps, imagine a liquid of any color you want flowing towards your fist

- Every time you breathe out, the tension flows a little faster towards your fist

- Feel the difference between the tension that is in your fist and the increasing relaxation of the rest of your body. Concentrate on that.

- If the tension in your fist is too much, open your fist and shake it off

- Resume the exercise of concentrating all your unwanted tension into your fist

- Keep doing it until even the most tense parts of your body feel sufficiently relaxed

- Shake your fist whenever necessary

- Do not stop until you've reached a comfortable amount of relaxation

- Shake your hand one last time and relax it

- Once all tension is gone, form your dominant hand into a fist. Imagine this as the place where all your strength, your positive emotions - happiness, confidence, determination... - and all your positive experiences are stored. Maybe concentrate on the recent situation in which you've felt good about yourself (first step of this exercise)

- Now send all your positive energy from the fist of your dominant hand into your body, through your arm and via your shoulder. Feel the strength, the warmth and the energy and all the positive emotions of power and confidence surge through your body. By making your strong dominant hand into a fist you can neutralize the tension and the anxiety and replace it with pleasant and positive emotions. As soon as this exercise is over, you can relax your dominant hand. You can repeat this exercise as often as you want and need it.



Hope this makes any sense...

Re: Collapse response
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2014, 11:14:32 AM »
That sounds interesting. I've tried it out, and so far, it works. Have to try it again when there's more time.

Meditating regularly helps me, particularly the kind where you focus on your breathing or where you do a bodyscan. It's described in a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who uses it to help patients at his cancer clinic. He's also made some adiotapes with guided meditations. I found those helpful. Meditating in silence makes me antsy sometimes, depending on how I'm doing. Listening to a very calm voice gives me enough things to focus on that the rest of me can calm down.

Of course, that's nothing you can do during an EF. If you have a flashback in the middle of a busy mall, you can't exactly sit down cross-legged and go "ommm". But simply just meditating for a minute or two each day helps. Sometimes I just sit for two minutes, breathing in for three counts, then out for three counts. Now, people always say you're supposed to just "breathe naturally". But the thing is, I don't breathe naturally. I've had EFs for long, long, long periods of time, and it's messed up my breathing to the point where my "normal breath" is the kind of shallow, short breathing other people only do in emergencies. So deep, diaphragmatic breathing for a few minutes each day helps me be more grounded in general. ("Oh yeah, getting enough air, that was important too, wasn't it, funny how this tends to slip the mind...")

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JA7743

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Re: Collapse response:. Watch out for trigger
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2017, 01:22:02 AM »
 Hi Annegirl,

It's been a long time since your post was written and this is the first time I've written a post, but I can answer some of your questions. You are not alone. Yes, I know what it's like to block out the pain. My F, excuse the letter if it's wrong, beat me two to three times per week from the age of 7 1/2 until I was 12, just because. He stopped the night he hit me as hard as he could and suddenly, it didn't hurt. He had me bent over his knees, hit me repeatedly and it didn't hurt. I felt the pressure and bounced forward with the strength of the strike but, I wasn't crying. He jerked me up and I apologized saying, "Sorry Daddy, but it just doesn't hurt anymore." I was terrified that he would hit me somewhere else and that the pain would start again. He was shocked, got up and left the room. He never hit me again. It didn't matter, the emotional abuse that went along with it got worse. That is the leftover that I deal with today.....................Now,.......We have a resource here that I never had. I am so grateful to be able to share and know that I am not alone. Is there healing? There can be. But for myself, even with lots of care and years of intellectual understanding, I still have triggers. And I still have lots of issues. Quite often I don't feel pain in normal situations. I have broken bones and not known it, had infections that should have been attended to and didn't realize they were that bad. I've also survived a life that would have been impossible except for the care of the many extended family members who were there for me. Today there are professionals who recognize the results of this issue. The biggest physical issue is that I have many autoimmune diseases. They started when I was 12, before some were even known, by 14 I had SLE Lupus. None of this was my fault. It is not your fault either. But deep down, it's hard not to feel guilty for not being able to forgive myself for not being perfect, for not being able to make it end. Well, it has. Now, my goal is to get to a place where I am not seeing it daily and reacting to a fear filled world. It's a worthy goal and one that we all share. But now, for us all, there is a "We," the "We," of OOTS. "We," are a family, we are our own support, we are lifting each other up and...we,... Are.............That fact alone means that we are important. We matter and We care. Hook up with all the others who are walking this road. Get what professional help you can............and remember, you are not alone! Bright Blessings, young woman. You are a winner and one day, you will know it, if you don't already.