I grew up learning about fight or flight ad nauseam.  I blew it off.  I didn’t fight, I didn’t run.  I figured it didn’t apply to me, which in a way it didn’t.  I eventually learned about freeze.  Then I read an article by Peter Walker outlining the 4 F’s: Fight, Flight, Freeze and Fawn.  The fawn hit me hard.  I realized I found my go to survival mode.  Fawn is slave like people pleasing to the extreme.  I would grovel almost to please.  It was scary when I started recognizing what I was doing.  Others have also tracked and shared this behavior.  This article hits several of the main points of fawning.  https://letsqueerthingsup.com/2019/07/06/7-subtle-signs-your-trauma-response-is-to-fawn/

If you are not familiar with all four of the F words do a little research.  Plenty out on the Internet but I believe Peter Walker’s book Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving is one of the top reads for learning about them.  This is not the first book I read about my challenges.  In fact, the book wasn’t written until after I stopped counseling.  Complex PTSD is still not accepted in the psychologist book DSM-5, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  I still struggle to not get sucked into people pleasing.  It is my go-to reaction to stress.  What helps me is setting boundaries, “no” is a complete sentence, and a person asking me to set aside my values for them is not my friend.  I continue to work on my skills to be human.  Learning how I respond to stress and what I can do to counteract it, makes a difference.


2 thoughts on “Fawning

  1. I hear you about the fawning. It is the response I used over and over and over again with my abusive stepfather and then (remarkably similar) abusive first husband. But it’s such a painful response because it eats away at your self-respect. Learning to set boundaries is truly a life-saver. I like your statement: “No is a complete sentence.”

    • Thanks Q. No is a complete sentence I learned from my counselor. I kept trying to give lengthy explanations, he shook his head and taught me to stop after NO. You are right it does eat away at self-respect. Thanks for your comment.

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