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Fight, Flight, Freeze (FFF) reactions

jajingna

jajingna

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I wonder about these three main reactions. Maybe there are more types of responses? Which one do you often feel, and what causes it? Are you aware when it happens, or does it occur to you some time afterwards, like hey, I just froze up, or I just fled from that situation? Or avoided it? We could say avoidance is another common response. Or that it is a sort of flight away from something. Or just staying in the comfort zone.

I'm not sure about that fight one. Is that being argumentative or something? Fighting is a type of defense mechanism. I doubt socially anxious people are like to argue with people much, but maybe ? Maybe some are angry types and that anger is kind of how they deal with their own social anxiety?

I'm a freeze or flight kind of person. Sometimes both. Initially I think, that freeze response is triggered first, more often than other types. When I feel that discomfort it happens so quick like a reflex. Then I will probably want out of the situation if possible (a flight reaction). I also avoid situations a lot.

It might help to be aware of these responses as they happen, or as soon as possible. Maybe that can give some idea how often they occur. Could be several times a day.

Then you have the why question. What is the reason for the FFF response? What threat is there? Why do you feel unsafe or in danger?

That's a lot of questions, but this is a complicated issue for me.
 
OmniscientNihilist

OmniscientNihilist

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I wonder about these three main reactions. Maybe there are more types of responses? Which one do you often feel, and what causes it? Are you aware when it happens, or does it occur to you some time afterwards, like hey, I just froze up, or I just fled from that situation? Or avoided it? We could say avoidance is another common response. Or that it is a sort of flight away from something. Or just staying in the comfort zone.

I'm not sure about that fight one. Is that being argumentative or something? Fighting is a type of defense mechanism. I doubt socially anxious people are like to argue with people much, but maybe ? Maybe some are angry types and that anger is kind of how they deal with their own social anxiety?

I'm a freeze or flight kind of person. Sometimes both. Initially I think, that freeze response is triggered first, more often than other types. When I feel that discomfort it happens so quick like a reflex. Then I will probably want out of the situation if possible (a flight reaction). I also avoid situations a lot.

It might help to be aware of these responses as they happen, or as soon as possible. Maybe that can give some idea how often they occur. Could be several times a day.

Then you have the why question. What is the reason for the FFF response? What threat is there? Why do you feel unsafe or in danger?

That's a lot of questions, but this is a complicated issue for me.
fear is a reaction to your own predictions

current predictions come from past experience

the mind does not understand harm or death, it only understand pain and pleasure.

if you predict pain you will create fear

pain can be of any type. it can be physical, emotional, chemical, etc....

even fear is pain so predicting fear will create more fear

so you can see how things can start snowballing out of control. and people get trapped in this big snowball and they cant get out for years.
 
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jajingna

jajingna

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Thanks for the reply. A lot of my anxiety is this predicting or anticipating something unwanted. But some of it also comes from looking back on something that happened. I'm overanalyzing things. Most of this pain is emotional, then there's physical symptoms ie anxiety and such.
 
W

WhatSarahSaid

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I freeze. It's a result of never knowing what that right action was with my father (a 6'6, 300 pound narcissist who would scream at you over anything). So if I'm taken off guard or don't know the exact right response I freeze.

It super frustrates me especially with new people or in new jobs, because I feel it can make me look like an incompetent incapable person. Fortunately I massively compensate for this by working as hard as possible, so by the time I'm not new and don't freeze anymore people find me to be a super capable valuable employee. But it's always scary starting something new for that reason.
 
jajingna

jajingna

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They say there is a fourth F response too:

The fawn response involves immediately moving to try to please a person to avoid any conflict. This is often a response developed in childhood trauma, where a parent or a significant authority figure is the abuser.
 
lyma

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I think the fight response can also be seen as not necessarily (verbally) argumenting but maybe changing a situation, 'fighting' a situation - taking action to eliminate/minimize the situation.
 
jajingna

jajingna

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Yet another response is Dissociation. I have some experience with that. It still happens sometimes. It's usually mild enough and doesn't interfere with regular functioning. I don't "lose time" or anything. It's more like the mind decides it needs a break. It tries to cope and process things but is sometimes overwhelmed, so this is a protective mechanism I guess. Now, there's another forum on here about this, but I think it belongs alongside these four F responses. It's a sort of freeze/flight response in my opinion. A mental one instead of a physical.

Five responses? Four F, and a D. These are all coping methods for difficult experiences. And yet there are others too, like substance use or other addictions, maybe they are flighty, taking the mind away from its pain. And there are more positive ones that are healthier. We are resourceful and can adapt, but sometimes it is hard.
 
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