“Many survivors insist they’re not courageous: ‘If I were courageous, I would have stopped the abuse.’ ‘If I were courageous, I wouldn’t be scared’… Most of us have it mixed up. You don’t start with courage and then face fear. You become courageous because you face your fear.”
– Laura Davis
Let’s focus on the four types of trauma responses. At times these responses can be easily identified, and other times they can be incredibly difficult to identify. Identifying these responses is not always easy or hard for the people in our lives, but it can also be very difficult for us to identify our own responses at times. Maybe there are times where you look at your reaction and find your self thinking, “wow, why did I do that?” “Why did I react that way?” Maybe even, “What is wrong with me?” Then we can feel guilty for our reactions; we feel ashamed of how our loved one was behaving.

1. Fight Response

We are quick to anger. Our reactions look big, angry, loud, and can appear, or feel unpredictable. In this response, I need to fight to keep myself safe. Even if the danger is not a “real” in the moment danger, this can be a response to a perceived danger.

2. Flight Response

We are quick to flee the scene. Our reactions can look like a workaholic, if I keep myself busy, I do not need to face, or even think about the trigger, the issue. This can also look like extreme anxiety, panic attacks, extreme avoidance, ghosting, and procrastination.

3. Freeze Response

We do not know what to do, so nothing it is. This response can look like extreme depression, isolation, fatigue or feeling tired all the time, brain fog, just not feeling all there, feeling like life is in slow motion, and a lack of focus.

4. Fawn Response

We try to make the situation perfect; we try to be perfect for others. We also can be engaged in self-destructive behavior. This response can look like people pleasing, feeling unable to leave abusive or toxic relationships, lack of healthy boundaries, and inconsistency.

These responses can occur a scale, and a variety of these behaviors may happen at once. These are some of the ways that people have adapted and learned to deal with life stressors while growing up.

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that we are not defined by our environment, or by our unfortunate life experiences. I am Me. And I get to choose who that is. I get to decide my purpose, my path, I get to choose my reactions. I can heal. I can be who I want to be. I can be proud of who I am.

If you are ready to find your you, a healthy, happy you, who feels in control, feel free to contact us at 605-271-1199 or contact@linkingthegapsd.com. Services are offered in person, or via tele-health statewide.

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