Freezing trauma


Unfortunately, not everyone are born with the same chances to thrive and grow like others. In fact, Norway is one of the lucky countries, and I have discovered time and time again, that being brought up here, is really like winning the lottery. But: Don`t let that fool you; Mental health is a huge problem here, as in many countries. Many live with severe problems and have not had the scaffolding they needed when they grew up.

I will continue this post with sharing more information about a topic I am very concerned about, since I work with it daily. The subject is trauma and dissociation, and I have chosen to reblog a post from a woman who must fight every day, against every type of challenge in the world. Please know that this entry might be triggering for others who have experienced trauma, and keep from reading it if you are at a bad place right now. Thank you for your respect.

Nina, clinical psychologist


Fight, Flight or Freeze?

Don’t know about you, but we/I are firmly in the freeze camp.

Always have been.

A few years ago, I had some sort of assessment done by a Psychiatrist who drew up a diagram showing the window of tolerance see here for more info.

She said that in her opinion, I was functioning in a state of hypoarousal.
Which means I’m at the bottom end of the chart. When I was officially given the D.I.D diagnosis, H said the same.

Some traumatised people are in a permanent state of hyper-arousal which is where the fight /flight response comes in. An example being that when in a situation that is perceived as threatening, a person may display extreme rage and aggression. However, when a person reacts with hypoarousal, they become quieter, may appear depressed, and withdraw. ( see here for further information.. ).

The freeze response is where I am.
It is a pretty regular thing for me to ‘find myself’ unable to move sitting curled up behind my bathroom door.
shut down when in a situation that feels threatening (note, just because it feelsthreatening doesn’t mean it actually is). ‘Playing dead’ was what I did during traumatic experiences, and what I continue to do. Fighting and fleeing were not options. Theyshould be now though, I think.

While I recognise the reasoning for the freeze response, I also see that it causes huge problems in my day to day life.
I am not alone with this way of responding. It seems that it is the response of most of the rest of me, if not all.

Am beginning to accept that during time loss especially those times where I have evidence of having been out (where?) and being with (abusive?) people, that freeze response may have heightened risk rather than lowered it.

Now, I think (?) we need to learn how to fight and how to flee when in genuinely threatening situations. We also need to learn how to tolerate things that feel threatening but are not. Am not sure if that is possible since it seems from what I’ve read that those responses are learned during very early childhood.

Really hope this makes sense.
Thank you for reading.



10 responses »

  1. As I have been helping my wife heal, I have learned that different insiders have differing abilities. The girl who suffered the most abuse “froze” but 2 other girls are feisty, brave and fighters. For us I’ve had to teach the girl who “freezes” to let the “fighters” help her. We’re still in the process as we are working on breaking down the dissociative walls between her and the other 5 girls, but she’s come a long way…Don’t deal with the host: deal with the source.

  2. Thank you for re-blogging.

    It’s sad if my blog has given the impression that I am ‘battling the forces inside‘.

    It feels more like I am battling various external forces while trying to work out ways to manage living with a shared body and brain (with dissociative parts).

      • Thank you for making those changes, we appreciate it.

        Ps-hope no offence was caused by pointing it out, apologies if that’s the case.

      • I have a VERY high defence against offence, besides: If people try to offend me, especially people I like, I take it as a good sign: It means something has changed and change can always mean good things. You must work very hard if I should be offended. You (and your parts) are simply too beautiful and important for me that such feelings could arise:)

        About the change: I should have seen it before. It`s very important with feedback:)

  3. Pingback: Abuse lurking in the shadows | Free psychology

  4. Pingback: 4 forms of fear: flight, fight, freeze, and fake | power of language blog: partnering with reality by JR Fibonacci

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