4 F’s

One of the struggles I had was the whole Fight or Flight concept.  I didn’t run but I didn’t fight either.  I felt like a worm or a doormat.  The whole concept seemed to be lost to me.  Then I read one of Pete Walkers articles about the 4 F’s

http://www.pete-walker.com/fourFs_TraumaTypologyComplexPTSD.htm

He explained that Fight or flight were only two of the stress reactions.  He continued that freeze and fawn were the other two possible reactions.  Freeze, the deer in the head light syndrome, made total sense to me.  Big stress….no action whatsoever.  Like a hunted pheasant I would simply freeze, sometimes stopped breathing.   Almost the feeling if I don’t move they won’t notice me.  Fawn was the eye opener for me.  Doing exactly what I was told to do no matter how much I hurt me was my go to survival reaction.  Trying to doing everything exactly right even if I didn’t want to or it had a negative impact for me.  Hence, the feeling I was a doormat or a worm with no backbone.  Studying the 4 F’s of stress reactions changed how I viewed myself and my stress reaction.  I still tend to follow orders first and ask questions later but more and more frequently I worked things out for myself and decide what is best for me.  I also discovered that learning my emotional responses to stress gave me more options.  Sometimes I choose to walk a way when the battle isn’t worth fighting.  I found out I can be a ferocious fighter, the kind where no prisoners taken. (Surprised me.) I also freeze from time to time.  More than once this week I had to remind myself to breathe…Life is a bit overwhelming right now.  Occasionally, I still follow orders whether I like it or not. What is important to me is I now make choices to respond rather than a knee jerk reaction.  Learning that taking back my power means I choose how I respond.  Cool stuff.

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