The 4 Types of Trauma Responses

trauma responses

EVERYONE on the planet is carrying some form of trauma with them, whether they are aware of it or not.

Trauma isn’t just carried by those who have experienced a painful and overwhelming childhood. Trauma can also be something as little as an offhand comment made to you by a teacher during your school years.

We ALL carry trauma with us because every experience we have with the external world is an energetic experience.

What you feel from every energetic experience follows an energetic flow through your body and is ultimately dissected into an emotion.

(or e-motion = energy in motion)

When something doesn’t feel good, we don’t like to feel it; so we ignore, deny, or stuff it down. The body holds onto that energy, and then we create or attach to the emotions, thoughts, beliefs and behaviors that were created originally from that experience.

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Know this: those emotions, thoughts, beliefs and behaviors were NEVER who you were. They were merely the dissection or interpretation of the energetic experience.

We have ALL learned to adapt to familiar environments, whether at home, school, or work, by resorting to coping mechanisms, and these are usually formed during childhood.

I (Peter) grew up in a home around alcoholism and domestic violence and was abandoned by my father during my formative years. My inner child learned to deal with it by resorting to coping mechanisms to suppress feeling unwanted hurt and pain. They did what they believed I needed in order to survive.

The good news is: ANYONE can overcome trauma and start releasing suppressed emotions and weaken trauma response patterns.

trauma responses

The 4 Trauma Responses

The Fight Trauma Response

If you experience this trauma response, you may have been abused, abandoned, ignored, undermined or belittled during childhood.

Fight Response Feelings + Behaviors May Include:

  • Regular emotional outbursts.
  • Feelings of guilt + shame after outbursts (downplaying them). 
  • Feeling threatened or undermined by others.
  • Mocking, taunting, nitpicking, insulting, or shaming others to feel superior.
  • Raising voice, heart racing, tantrums, becoming aggressive, or rage.
  • Stubbornness, ignoring other perspectives + always needing to have the last word.

The Flight Trauma Response

If you experience this trauma response, you may have been brought up in an unsafe and unpredictable environment. 

Flight Response Feelings + Behaviors May Include:

  • Avoiding silence + spending time alone.
  • Unable to sit still + always needing to be busy.
  • Easily startled by people/noises.
  • Feeling suffocated + trapped.
  • Struggle with commitment + constantly feel insecure in relationships.
  • Hyper-vigilant, paralyzed with fear, anxious racing thoughts.
  • Anxiety + panic attacks.

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The Freeze Trauma Response

If you experience this trauma response, you may have had a painful or overwhelming childhood, including witnessing or being involved in a traumatic event. 

Freeze Response Feelings + Behaviors May Include:

  • Hiding away at home alone. 
  • Procrastinating + avoiding making decisions.
  • Resorting to distracting behaviors + addictions to take the focus off being present with yourself. 
  • Confusion over what's real or unreal in your reality.
  • Avoiding talking to others or looking people in the eye.
  • Feeling spaced out, emotionally numb and physically drained.

The Fawn Trauma Response

If you experience this trauma response, you may have been brought up in an unsafe and unpredictable environment. 

Fawn Response Feelings + Behaviors May Include:

  • Inability to say no.
  • Chronic people pleasing.
  • Agreeing and apologizing without reason.
  • Feeling disconnected from your emotions + mentally spaced out.
  • Feeling responsible for other people's emotions/needs, but betraying your own. 
  • Allowing others to make decisions for you.
  • Avoiding conflict at all costs.



Which trauma response(s) do you resonate the most with?

I resonate the most with the flight trauma response, but have experienced all of them throughout my life.

Speaking of inner child... we offer a self-study/coaching program called Heal Your Inner Child. Click the link below to find out more!

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