Fawn & the Polyvagal Framework
In terms of polyvagal theoryThe Polyvagal Theory discovered by Dr. Stephen Porges is a working model of the autonomic nervous system which connects safety and social connection with health, well being, and recovery.The Vagus... More, when we neurocept (subconsciously perceive) a certain level of danger, the fawn response is one of the possible trauma responses that our body uses for survival purposes.
The fawn response involves both Fight/Flight and Freeze activation at the same time. This is like pushing the gas pedal on a car while the emergency brake is engaged – and why fawning as a habitual long-term protective strategy causes major health problems.
The Fight/Flight (sympathetic) system provides the powerThe 20th Century political scientist Karl Deutsch said, “Power is the ability not to have to learn.”I quote this statement often, because I think it’s one of the most important... More or fuel for movement and micro-movements that meet the needs of others. The Freeze (dorsal vagus) circuit causes dissociation and disconnection to suppress any expression that does not meet others needs and to protect our psyche from the loss of autonomySelf-determination Theory (SDT) is... — a model, a macro theory, of human motivation. It’s one of several models of human motivation, but it’s one that has been confirmed over and... More involved in the survival performance.Fawn: The Trauma Response That Is Easiest to Miss — Trauma Geek
Fawn vs Tend-And-Befriend
Fawn: The Trauma Response That Is Easiest to Miss — Trauma Geek
Mis-Reading Fawn Responses & NeurodivergentNeurodivergent, sometimes abbreviated as ND, means having a mind that functions in ways which diverge significantly from the dominant societal standards of “normal.”NEURODIVERSITY: SOME BASIC TERMS & DEFINITIONS Neurodivergent is quite... More Safe States
AutisticAutistic ways of being are human neurological variants that can not be understood without the social model of disability.If you are wondering whether you are Autistic, spend time amongst Autistic people, online and offline. If... More people and other neurodivergent people are greatly impacted by biased cultural assumptions about what Safe states look like and what trauma responses look like. Our fawn responses are often misread as Safe states, and our Safe states are often misread as trauma responses. This leads to ineffective and potentially traumatizing “care” that is aimed at “healing” our supposed trauma responses so that we will appear to be in a Safe state more often.Fawn: The Trauma Response That Is Easiest to Miss — Trauma Geek
Recognizing C-PTSD-Based Fawn Responses
The ‘fawn’ response is an instinctual response associated with a need to avoid conflict and trauma via appeasing behaviors. For children, fawning behaviors can be a maladaptive survival or coping response which developed as a means of coping with a non-nurturing or abusive parent.
Psychotherapist and complex trauma (C-PTSD) expert Pete Walker coined the term ‘fawn’ response to describe a specific type of instinctive response resulting from childhood abuse and complex trauma. In his discussion on ‘fawning’, Walker asserts that trauma-based codependency is learned very early in life when a child gives up protesting abuse to avoid parental retaliation, thereby relinquishing the ability to say “no” and behave assertively. This also results in the repression of the trauma-associated ‘fight’ response (2003).
If you identify as being highly sensitive, intuitive, or an ‘empath’, you may tend to avoid conflict as much as possible and will deny your truthJustice, equality, fairness, mercy, longsuffering, Work, Passion, knowledge, and above all else, Truth. Those are my primary emotions.Very Grand Emotions: How Autistics and Neurotypicals Experience Emotions Differently » NeuroClastic https://youtu.be/uPRa6G2a48E... More in an attempt to make those you feel dependent upon or care about comfortable.
Although you might easily stand up for others, you may find it difficult, even impossible, to stand up for yourself when being maltreated by others – including in regard to your family. You may instead seek to ‘appease’ those who treat you badly as a means of avoiding conflict, or even deny the sad truth of your situation altogether. But in reality, ‘fawning’ and maladaptive coping behaviors serve no one in the end.Recognizing the C-PTSD-Based Fawn Response | PACEsConnection
If you’re a ‘fawner’, (also referred to at times as ‘people-pleaser’ or ‘codependent’), you likely seek validation from others that you are acceptable and worthy of being liked or loved. You can be so ‘other’ focused and ‘enmeshed’ that you may have no idea what you actually feel, think, want, or need.
If you identify as being a ‘fawner’, you may be engaging in people-pleasing behaviors to avoid conflict as much as possible in your interactions with others. You will deny your truth in an attempt to make those you feel dependent upon, afraid of, or care about comfortable.
As someone with a ‘fawning’ trauma response, you may do anything you can to ‘keep the peace’, even if that means abandoning yourself by repressing your preferences, thoughts, and needs, which in turn deprives you of the ability to negotiate on matters important to you, whether personal or professional.
You may be so focused on tending to the wants and needs of those around you that you have lost touch with who you are at the most basic level, to the point where you might be feeling depleted, angry, and exhausted much of the time without ever realizing it is because of your chronicChronic illness is a pretty big umbrella, and it would be impossible to list them all. Some of them are triggered by an injury like a car accident, or something... More, people-pleasing ways. Because you did not experience yourself as lovable by your primary caregivers when young, you may be intent on care-taking and helping others to prove that you are valuable.C-PTSD-Based Fawn Response
Further readingThere are three types of reading: eye reading, ear reading, and finger reading.The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: A Blueprint for Renewing Your Child's Confidence and Love of Learning Most schools and... More,