Emotional Regulation & The Fight, Flight, Freeze, Fawn Stress Response

Fight, Flight, Freeze, Fawn Stress Response

Does Your Fight Or Flight Stress Response Activate When Threatened?

Many people have come to recognize the two most well known types of stress response, fight or flight. Our stress response allows us to react quickly to threats.

Our body is naturally and automatically programmed to respond to frightening situations.  Its goal is to minimize or avoid real or perceived danger.  It is designed to protect us and survive physical, mental and emotional challenges.  In the modern world, it can help us to perform better under pressure and better cope with demanding circumstances.

When our fight or flight stress response system is activated, a carefully orchestrated yet near-instantaneous sequence of hormonal changes and physiological responses help us fight off a threat or flee to safety.  There are, however two other lesser-known stress responses.  They are identified as the freeze and fawn (appease) stress responses.  We will be digging into the dynamics of the fight or flight response in this article and will explore the freeze and fawn response separately.

The Fight Stress Response

We engage our fight response when we instinctively believe we can overpower a threat.  Individuals employing the fight response will attack the source of danger.  Our fight response can be extremely valuable.  It ensures that we have good boundaries, healthy assertiveness and aggressive self-protectiveness when required.

Individuals, who have a history filled with abuse or trauma, live life feeling as if the danger never goes away.  This can cause them to get stuck in a particular stress response, where they repeatedly utilizing the same one whenever a potential danger is encountered.

What To Look For If You Are A Fight Type

For fight types, their fight response may become their primary way of address any and all dangers.  Fight types believe that they have to preserve their lives at all time.  They believe that through power and control, they can create safety for themselves by reducing feeling of abandonment thus securing feeling of love.  These individuals, when triggered utilize anger and rage to intimidate or shame others into submission.  Many individuals who display narcissist tendencies are trapped in the fight response.   

If you are a fight type, you might feel a deeply ingrained sense of intense anger, have explosive outbursts of temper or display aggressive behavior towards others.  You might want to punch someone or something when upset, stomp around, slam doors or kick things.  You might glare at people or give them the evil eye.  You might raise your voice to others when talking or talk to them in a mean or hostel tone.  You might find yourself grinding your teeth or walking around with a tight jaw. 

The Flight Stress Response

You can tell you are engaging your flight response when you choose to retreat from a disagreement especially when you realize that fighting will only make things worse or that the opposing force is too powerful to overcome.  The physiological changes our bodies experience, instead of preparing us to battle with our fists emblazon, we use this added energy to escape to safety.  Ultimately, the flight response helps you to disengage from an altercation by retreating.

Children, for example, will run away from something that scares them.  We may do this as an adult, but its form often becomes subtler.  We are in flight mode when we are confronted by someone and instead of arguing we turn around and walk away without saying a word.  When we fold our arms during an uncomfortable situation, this can also indicate the flight response in action.

What To Look For If You Are A Flight Type

Abuse survivors who gravitate toward the flight response may find that they are constantly busy.  Workaholic is often a word tied to individuals who are flight types.  They may find themselves always rushing around, have a hard time sitting still or feeling relaxed.  If they are not doing something they are planning or worrying about what they are going to do next.  In excess, flight types may have obsessive thinking, worry excessively, and experience chronic anxiety or feeling of panic. 

Our fight or flight stress response is built into each of us. It is essential to our long term survival.  Unfortunately, ongoing or long term trauma can affect our ability to appropriately emotionally regulate our systems which may create unhealthy patters of responding to stress. 

The Dysfunctional Dance Of The Empath And Narcissist may also provide you with some additional insights into the role of trauma in your life and ways to heal it.

© Copyright Rita Louise, Inc. – soulhealer.com. All rights reserved.

By: Dr. Rita LouiseMedical Intuitive ReadingClairvoyant Psychic ReadingsEnergy Healing

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