Fight Flight and other responses

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There are five different types of responses that are built into everyone’s body from nature: social engagement, fight, flight, dissociation, and freeze response. These happen mechanically (unconsciously) in most people where each answer is identified with a different perception of the situation.  The first three mentioned are linked to the mammalian brain and the last two to the “reptile brain” and its systems.

Why do we think they are essential? It is because they affect your whole mood, body language, and reaction in social situations! Evolution has given us triggers we basically can’t control, which significantly affects our behavior! The behavior is not always optimal. The respect you receive or the attraction you experience from the opposite sex can result from this. Fortunately, most people feel they want to be free and control their responses instead of being ruled by something built in from evolution.

reptile brain, behaviour, social situations - Fight,flight and other responses

Your thoughts may also be linked to these responses. It is a rather complicated theme, but in situations where the responses become guided by your thoughts, it is possible to use cognitive therapy, and thus change your responses. In some cases, the responses will unfold physically., In these cases, you will need bodily treatment. An example of physical oriented therapy is TRE -Trauma Release Exercise, which we have written an article on.

The different type of instincts and responses:

1. Social engagement:
This state or mood is interacting with other people. It comes when you see people in your eyes, hand in hand, and present yourself to others trying to learn about the new person. One asks him questions about who they are and what they are doing, trying to engage in their lives. The other person does the same back. This is called “socialization” or “chemistry” and is the optimal condition you can be in! To get in this state, you simply have to do as the name implies and engage others socially. It gives an excellent feeling and a good mood, unfortunately, earlier trauma can tilt you out of this condition.

2. Fight response:
This is the mood where you defend your girlfriend or friend. It comes when setting limits for yourself. It also applies to the times your speaking attacks someone or becomes aggressive and territorial. You physically mobilize yourself to be prepared for dangers. You may stare and tighten your fist. The whole body, facial muscles, and body language, in general, become tenser. In a social situation, this (often) is better than running (flight). If you feel the situation is threatening, you can do something about it and act.

The backside of this is that one can believe a situation is threatening when it is not, and become unnecessarily tense and stressed. Unfortunately, many people are like that and being controlled by evolutionary responses and mechanisms because they believe there is a threat when there is none.

Fight response, territorial - fight, flight and other responses

3. Flight response:
This condition comes when your entire body runs away entirely automatically. Look at “prank” videos where people think they are in dangerous situations, and they automatically run. You probably also have some friends of you avoid (flight) in social situations.  If one avoids sharing a contrary opinion, this is also a flight response, which often comes when one isn’t confident that the situation you are in will end well. Here you can use cognitive therapy as a tool to change what you believe, so you do not have to be controlled by evolutionary programming. Click to learn more about fight or flight response.

4. Dissociation response:
Dissociation, like the freeze response, is triggered by the reptile brain. It comes in forms like daydreaming in real-time, not listening when parents correct you, or “blocking everything out”. Lying down in bed, for example, may trigger “freeze.” victims who are exposed to assault and slide into an out of body condition. Response trauma can give you a lot of strange nightmares, which fall within this category. Another response is “the empty look”. Staring emptily into the air, which some trauma victims have. Learn how to cope with nightmares:

5. Freeze response:
This response is also used in our daily language, such as “I’m completely freezing”. People can freeze if they feel they are at risk. Some dangers are real. Others are just imagined. Freezing is entirely passive, and when people freeze, it does not solve the situation. Imagine a person who is being subjected to abuse, even just freezes. The same can happen with bullying and verbal attacks. In a social context, “freezing” is the worst response. The more traumatic the experience, the more one is tired. And the more tired one is, the more likely it will happen.

One is traumatized before they freeze because one does not feel that they have any chance to get away. So how situations trigger reactions tells a great deal about your previous trauma history. The more trauma you have experienced, the greater the likelihood the response will be a more serious one on the list.  The opposite sex is most likely more attracted to “social commitment” than that of freeze because it implies that you have experienced some trauma.

freeze repons, trigger,  trauma - Fight, flight and other responses

The solution to neutralize fight and flight responses:

Identify the different types of situations that trigger you. Think about that situation, visualize it and try as well as you can to relieve these feelings with tools such as TRE. Besides, it may be a good idea that you change your mindset to that situation which you BELIEVE wrong, GET UPON to less threatening. For the latter, you can use tools like cognitive therapy, CBT, “the work,” or Three column technique. You can also use “social engagement” deliberately as a tool to feel good and get in a good mood.

The more often you use TRE with an associated situation, the less chance it is that you stay triggered by the automatic response. For example, if you tend to avoid talking to strangers, you can think of such situations while using TRE. Trauma triggers the body and comes when you perceive a threatening situation. By using TRE, you can redeem the physical tension stored in the body and with CBT,

You can change your perception of different situations so that you are not triggered again. If you do this often, you appear as a person who has not experienced any discomfort and then further up in the social hierarchy. Learn more about this here: Share this link with anybody who wants to understand themselves better!

CBT, TRE, Social hierarchy - Fight, flight and other responses

14 comments on “Fight Flight and other responses

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  4. Kat899

    This is so true!
    In social contexts, it very often has a lot to say about how you behave, and what your reactions are.

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