March 16, 2023

Fight/Flight/Freeze or Gaslight/Deflect/Ignore

March 16, 2023

Our bodies have a natural defense system for survival. This defense system is as old as humanity. Where we once fought off large animals, we are now fighting off negative thoughts, stress, and experiences that our nervous system registers as a threat.  Fight/flight/freeze are the three ways in which the nervous system activates the body for survival.

Fight = Anger/Aggression

Flight = Anxiety/Impulse to get away

Freeze = Depression/Shut-down

The nervous system assesses every vulnerability as a possible threat. The assessment is quick. The reaction is automatic. How you react depends on the assessment made by the nervous system. "Will I survive by fighting, fleeing or shutting down?" How this then manifests in our thoughts, feelings and actions depends on our learned reactions and habits.

Projection, deflection, gaslighting, judging, clinging, ignoring, going mute - these are all manifestations of attempts to protect ourselves. We fight, flee, or freeze.

Our life experiences can create an unsafe environment within ourselves. Our nervous system can come to assess everything as a threat, even love. As we become more aware of our nervous system, of our impulses to protect or connect, we become more empowered from within.  


Take conscious time to observe your Thinking Mind's' thoughts. Ask yourself, are these thoughts trying to protect me from something or connect me with something?

Notice your body's sensations and observe the relationship with the Thinking Mind. Be curious about which sensations lead to protective thoughts and which lead to connective thoughts.

Over time you will come to know your nervous system quite well. You will be able to notice the slightest impulse to protect. This is where you become empowered to break the automatic defense reactions of the mind/body and begin to respond from a more informed space.

Join us on Instagram or Facebook for a month focused on getting to know your protective responses, and how those manifest in your mind and body.


Simply Counselling is offering three months of focus on the Mind. This month we shared the existence of Two Minds.

Next month we will share:

  • Tackling the Internal Bully
  • What is it?
  • How do we change our relationship with it?

In May we will share:

  • The difference between sensation/feeling and emotion
  • Human intolerance for pain and discomfort
  • Building tolerance for discomfort
  • Yoga for Mental Health

Ready for a change?
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