The 4f responses
when we experience a traumatic event, it triggers our mind and activates its survival response, it has shown that if this response isn't fully experienced and regulated that issues can arise in how we further react to seemingly unrelated incidences in the future. Trauma events usually cause the brain response to be so intense that a person can't actually turn it off once the threat is over (Walker, 2014).
As survivors of trauma we can become stuck in a state full of adrenaline that doesn't level out causing an inability to relax the parasympathetic nervous system.
Those who experience developmental trauma or trauma in childhood often experience instances of abuse that left them as children; in a hypervigilance state until someone took action.
As Dynamics and abuse cycles go, chances are that appraisal may not have occurred, leaving the child in a hypervigilant state until resolution (which also may not occur). This results in experience teaching a child how a caregiver will react in certain situations and the child thus changing their behaviour to avoid further abuse instances as the brain begins to form and develop neural pathways, this provides a foundation to teach us as adults how to react.
4 as response develops in childhood and depending on the Dynamics and become intensified due to prolonged abuse.
Recently, Walker (2014) showed four automatic survival responses as fight, flight, freeze and fawn. Where an individual in perceived danger will react in one of four different ways. However, developing research shows a definite crossover of each four Instincts such as: fight-freeze or fawn-flight. I have included possible subtypes of this response in a cross-section graphic with this post.
Having a response other than fight or flight has only recently been recognised in UK Court systems as a response thanks to campaigning from victim charities.
Walker (2014) describes a fight response as triggered when a person suddenly responds aggressively to something they perceive as threatening. And the same respect a flight response is triggered when a person respond to a perceived threat by fleeing or by launching into hyperactivity. What car then describes a freeze response has been triggered when a person realises that resistance is futile and gives up or dissociates and introduces the fawn response is triggered when a person responds to threat by being overly pleasing or helpful in order to appease or stall an attacker (walker, 2014)
As children of developmental trauma, survivors of interpersonal trauma and complex trauma, we tend to over gravitate to one of these responses at times we perceive danger. That could be because you face a similar situation or are in another traumatic event.
As a survivor of trauma, we face difficulties within our embedded defense structures which once helped us to survive . It's common to rely primarily on one response pattern, but cross sub-types are becoming more widely researched.
Our trauma responses come as a result of being made the scapegoat, being neglected or learning that staying quiet and the appeasing the situation dulls the intensity of abuse faced. It is through unresolved traumatic experience that we can rely on our survival mode with regards to our daily life. When our reactions become a 4 f response we face difficulties in relationships as survival reactions are usually intense, sudden involuntary actions uncontrolled and at times unknowingly committed by a trauma survivor.
I'm looking at going into detail about each response, how each response develops and how we can begin to dull the intensity of our 4F responses. I didn't find it appropriate to post about trauma and at times the 4f response without explaining what I mean in more detail for some members.