The 4 F’s – Fight, Flight, Freeze and Fawn developing from Childhood Trauma, creating anxiety, depression and emotional responses seemingly out of nowhere. Here’s where we begin to take the unconscious responses into our conscious awareness to break the cycle..
The 4 F’s – Fight, Flight, Freeze and Fawn developing from Childhood Trauma, creating anxiety, depression and emotional responses seemingly out of nowhere. Here’s where we begin to take the unconscious responses into our conscious awareness to break the cycle.
The Fawn Response to Childhood Trauma is often mistaken for Codependency. Welcome to the Masterclass to educate us, give us language, and help us to break free from the Fawn response.
When I first began to read about the Fawn Response I was literally holding my breath. Could it be true that I’d finally found the answer to why I unconsciously hold my breath and nearly pass out, why I have anxiety that resembles mini seizures? I’ve waited decades for this information, and I’m pleased I found it, at last.
I spent many years pouring over codependence books (“Codependency is defined here as the inability to express rights, needs and boundaries in relationship; it is a disorder of assertiveness that causes the individual to attract and accept exploitation, abuse and/or neglect.” – Pete Walker) and doing the work to break free from Codependence, but no matter how assertive I learned to be I was still riddled with these incredible anxiety attacks that just shut me down, sometimes for days at a time. They were incredibly exhausting, time consuming, and I was desperate to find a solution.
I like how Pete Walker, author of Complex Ptsd: From Surviving to Thriving, explains the differences between the 4 F’s trauma responses on his website. “a fight response has been triggered when the individual suddenly responds aggressively to someone/thing that frightens her; a flight response has been triggered when she responds to a perceived threat with a intense urge to flee, or symbolically, with a sudden launching into obsessive/compulsive activity (the effort to outdistance fearful internal experience); a freeze response has been triggered when she suddenly numbs out into dissociation, escaping anxiety via daydreaming, oversleeping, getting lost in TV or some other form of “spacing out”. Many trauma victims over time develop an ability to use varying combinations of these responses depending on the nature of the triggering circumstances.”
However, as Pete discovered, there was a 4th instinctive trauma response which he calls the Fawn Response , it’s where we learn early in life to bypass the freeze response and instead we become our parents most helpful child, anticipating needs, escaping our fear by slipping into dissociation, we learn to use substances to numb ourselves, “the child is parentified and instead becomes as multidimensionally useful to the parent as she can: housekeeper, confidante, lover, sounding board, surrogate parent of other siblings, etc.” Pete Walker
All of this usually happens before we have any ability to understand, we’re preverbal, and the ongoing stress for many years for me led to my complete health breakdown. Another big part of this is that we never get to develop our sense of self, so grow up being everything for everyone but never know what we want or need in our lives.
Coming to know and understand the Fawn Response I began not only to identify when and where it was happening in my life, but I began to breathe again. I began to be able to manage the anxiety attacks to where today, they’re almost non existent. There’s a long stretch between anxiety for me now. Also, understanding hypoarousal was about emotional flashbacks and that I’m holding my muscles tighter and tighter I’ve begun to be able to not only free myself from constant migraines, I’ve progressively identified each layer I’m trying to hold onto in the now.
I love the work I do because it’s NOT about going back to the past, it’s about consciously building my life here, now, today. Having this information helped me understand it wasn’t “me” the adult making conscious choices, it was my brain, deep in the unconscious, responding to stimuli and needing to be safe. As I learnt the neurological process I began to reclaim my life.
Going out shopping no longer posed a threat to my internal safety, doing something new I could do with only a small amount of organising, household tasks started getting done because I could recognise and get myself off of hypoarousal. This information began the transformation that allowed to me go overseas to my daughters wedding with zero anxiety attacks. Every step has been worth it.
Are you ready to recognise and change your responses, to be relieved of your anxiety, to get back into day to day life? Yes? Then lets get the ball rolling.
- Video: How to Identify the Fawn Response Neurologically, Practically & Emotionally
- Video: How to Recover from the Fawn Response
- Video: The Neurobiology of why Grounding isn’t working
- Ebook: Practical Homework to Build new responses to the Fawn trigger
- Pdf: How to Overcome Triggers
- Pdf: How to Build Confidence
- Pdf: How to Handle an Emotional Response
- Pdf: How Trauma can Affect your Window of Tolerance
- Pdf – Grounding Technique
- Pdf: Professional Slides for Learning
- Adults wanting to break free from Hypoarousal, the Fawn Response
What Will I Learn?
- Recognise the symptoms of the onset of the Fawn Response
- How to Recover from the Fawn Response
- Understand the Neurobiology of why Grounding isn’t working
- Learn how to come off Trigger mode
- Build Self Confidence
- Build skills to handle emotional responses
Topics For This Course