Monday, January 18, 2021

Fight or Flight...... or Freeze!?

We often have heard throughout our lives of the Flight or Fight response to stress.  It's challenging to not run into that in beginning sociology and psychology college courses.  But, somehow, I missed something along the way or they added a new component to the idea.  It's not just that one might do one of two things, stay there and fight or run away...... the third option is to FREEZE.  How did I not know this?

I think there are occasions when each of those is a reasonable response.  I don't always fight and I don't always flee, but I rarely freeze.  But, specifically when we're having a fight, Storm does this.  The explanation that I read is that the person is so overwhelmed with thoughts of solving the problem, getting someone else (me) to calm down, etc.  So they appear to be freezing in the moment, but their minds can be working overtime and not coming up with something they think will do immediate good, so they need some time to think about it.  This is Storm, and I understand his response much better now.  He has tried to tell me this many times, but it wasn't until I read it somewhere and it finally clicked.  I try now not to label what he is doing as shutting down and not having any helpful solutions whatsoever.  Discovering that this is one of the human stress responses makes me feel better about the way we argue.  I don't know why.  Wait, yes I do.  It's because I used to interpret his silence as him not caring.  Now I know differently.  Whew!

Also somebody could just freeze out of a fear response, but that's not the kind I am talking about here. 

For the past many months, I have not had much fight left in me.  I got hit from way too many directions seemingly at one time. Nobody in this world expected to have to learn to live in the time of this stupid awful virus, so most of us have that in common.  I don't mean everybody because so many people are still in denial or partial denial of the seriousness of this stuff.  Honestly, those kind of people make me want to fight, but I am too tired to take on more than I can chew right now.  And as we all know there is a ton of material to chew on our various social media platforms.  Often, I just have to keep scrolling.  One thing that has made that a little easier is that I eliminated about 125 people from one of my social media accounts and a good chunk of them are family!  Gone. Goodbye.  Kiss my ass. Take the mask you're not wearing to church and shove it up someone else's ass.   

Upon reflection, I do have one moment when I froze.  Last year, when we were away from home, my "friend" at the time really questioned something in private with me and it was about Storm.  I'm not going to say what it was, but I will say that I made myself freeze on purpose.  Then I calmly got up from the couch and went up to my room until I could control my reaction. (So I guess I kind of fled, too!)  The person knew something was wrong and asked me if she upset me.  I lied and said no.  Then I took some deep cleansing breaths, swallowed it and went on with the rest of the trip to block that out to the best of my ability.  Needless to say, that person is no longer in my life.  I haven't been that disappointed in someone's character in a very long time. True colors and all that.   

More recently, someone said something very rude to Storm and I was pissed for 2 months.  I kind of still am.  Say what you want to me about me......... but anybody who insults my sweet husband or tries to make him feel less than??   Oh boy, not a good idea.  Yes, she's gone from my social media account despite the fact that we're closely related.  Goodbye and nope, we did not see you at Thanksgiving or for the Christmas Covid 19 exchange either.  

According to psychology, we fight, take flight, or freeze in stressful situations.  We all have our way of dealing with things.  Which of these is your primary way?