I’m guessing you have heard of the Stress Response. This important biological response is rooted in our physiology.
Fight or Flight is much more well-known than the Freeze response.
We think of the stress response as speeding up to survive….
but not enough people know about the shutdown response, in which we slow down to survive.
The freeze response is often known as collapse, dissociation, or playing dead.We are familiar with animals doing this. Opossums are well known for their ability to freeze or play dead.
But we forget that we are mammals, too. The freeze response is wired into our biology as well. Our nervous systems slow down or freeze when confronted with a dangerous and traumatic situation.
A few years ago I introduced a friend to the concept of freezing and shutting down as a natural physiological response to trauma. She was completely unaware of the shutdown response. A great burden was lifted when she began to understand this physiological wiring allowed her to survive childhood abuse. She had been secretly criticizing herself for decades for not fighting back. ( The Fight Response is highly valued in our culture.)
Understanding that her immobility, freezing, and dissociation were natural biological responses, freed her from the crushing feelings of unworthiness she had felt since childhood. She released that old burden of shame that she had been carrying for years. And with a sigh of relief, self-compassion was now possible for her.
Has slowing down to survive shown up in your life?
Can this awareness soften you into more self-compassion and bring clarity to your experience?
May this information help you to…
Shine Your Light,