Fight, Flight, Freeze, Fawn: Understanding Trauma Responses

Fight, Flight, Freeze, Fawn: Understanding Trauma Responses

Everyone responds to trauma differently. Sometimes people feel guilty after a traumatic event, especially if they didn’t react in the way they would have wanted to. It can help to understand the different trauma response options in order to increase one’s flexibility in responding to stressful events.

Trauma Response Possibilities

While everyone does react to trauma differently, there are four main categories that responses are filtered into. Let’s go over these main categories and discuss what exactly they are.


Individuals who tend to fall into the fight category will confront the danger aggressively. This can manifest itself in different ways, but confrontation will be the common theme between all of them. Having a tight jaw and becoming excessively angry are two different ways that this category can manifest itself.


If you tend to have a flight response, your goal will be to exit the situation as soon as possible. This can manifest in more ways than just physically leaving a situation. In fact, some common signs of the flight response include fidgeting and dilated eyes.


This one is pretty self-explanatory. Individuals with a freeze trauma response will often avoid confrontation but not look for a way out of the situation. They will simply do nothing. Individuals with this trauma response often have guilt after a situation, but it’s important to remember that everyone reacts differently.


Fawn is one of the lesser-known trauma responses. This category consists of people who try to appease whatever the threat is. The majority of the time, the fawn response is used after one of the previous responses was not successful. An example of this response would be being overly nice to a romantic partner after a difficult fight.

Avalon Malibu

At Avalon Malibu, we offer therapy for individuals who want to work through trauma. We know how difficult it can be to make the decision to start therapy. However, therapy is an excellent way to explore the past and improve one’s mental health for the future.

We understand just how complex trauma can be, which is why we provide a variety of different therapies. Our staff members are experienced in helping individuals work through trauma and improve their mental health. If you think our services might be the right fit for you, feel free to give us a call at (844) 857-5992. We would be happy to share information with you about the services we offer and help you decide whether our treatment center is the best choice for you.

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