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I am Just Confused - Why Didn't I Fight Back?

Discussion in 'Social' started by pandora, Jul 29, 2007.

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  1. pandora

    pandora I'm a VIP

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    When i was assaulted.i moved and then i stopped, like frozen in time and just let him......AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHWhy didn't I fight back.I know now that if this happenied i would fight to the death and i certainly mean that! Does anyone feel this way too, or am i just having an angry moment?
     
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  3. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    You get one or the other though, and this is what you must understand. Fight or Freeze. Both are automatic, both are out of your conscious control, and performed at the sub-conscious depending on your already state of true mental strength. Basically, you can't fool your brain whether you would win or not, or even if you might. Your brain makes the choice on your behalf to shoot adrenaline or nor-adrenaline into your kidney, Fight or Freeze. Its the brains protective mechanism.
     
  4. kers

    kers I'm a VIP

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    I recommend reading up on the biological nature of the fight/flight/freeze mechanism. Reading and understanding the way our brains and nervous systems work has helped me feel much less guilty about my reactions, Pandora.

    When in a life-threatening situation, your brain and nervous system assess the threat faster than your can even consciously register: your brain decides whether you can fight back and win, have enough time to run away, or whether you need to deaden yourself and play dead. Your brain chooses the option that seems most fitting: this is done faster than you can think it! Beating up on ourselves for our reactions is useless, as it is pure INSTINCT that drives us in such situations.

    The other thing that has really helped me is realizing that freezing is NOT doing 'nothing.' It's a specific survival technique that often works. In Babette Rothschild's book The Body Remembers, she explains that it's just like when a cat is attacking a mouse: the mouse freezes, or deadens itself. The cat might lose interest and release the mouse (in which case the defense was successful) or the cat will kill the mouse (in which case the deadening helps it be a less painful death).

    I understand being mad at yourself for freezing--but you're HERE, ALIVE. What you did *worked*, Pandora, because you survived. Your body followed its instincts, successfully.
     
  5. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    A post off interest which contains a little more detail for you: [DLMURL]http://www.ptsdforum.org/6010-post14.html[/DLMURL] or search the forum for "adrenal" or associated.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  6. wildfirewildone

    wildfirewildone Well-Known Member

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    :frown:Sorry to hear about your assault....I was raped 2 years and 4 months ago.....I froze up too...I was so much in denial that I didn't remember what had happened until 3 days later....I kept blaming myself for a long time....asking myself why didn't I say "NO" or fight or yell....something!!! .....Likes been said already....my body automatically shot into survival mode and that was the reaction I had because of it....out of my control completely...It took a lot of talking to let myself off the hook....but I managed to with the help of a Rape Crisis counselor in a county 2 counties away from mine.....Just quit beating up on yourself...be very gentle about what you are saying to yourself....GIVE PEACE A CHANCE
     
  7. hodge

    hodge I'm a VIP Premium Member

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    I'm with Kers. This post has made me think about my experiences, and I've done all three - fight, flight, and freeze - in response to different things that happened to me at different times. In the past I've been fascinated to read about how people in these situations often instinctly react whichever way helps survival (before I ever counted myself among them). Now I've read what Anthony posted about how the body takes over at these times. It's opened my eyes. And it explains why my body has reacted different ways in different situations - and lived to tell about it. So did yours, Pandora. Personally, I feel grateful that, even though I've been through these things, my body worked well to keep me alive. I hope this helps you feel better, too.
     
  8. cactus

    cactus New Member

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    I was beaten up regular extreme, i never fought back did nothing....there was no idea of fighting back at all as my ex was powerful...a boxer type person, rough, and out of control, i would not even shout at him, nothing to provoke him ever, i do not feel anger.

    I think it is maybe odd....people said i would feel anger and i never have, just heartbroken about him....

    I would shutdown....mind and body froze...even now it happens...i cannot stand to be in a room with the door closed...or someone to touch me...

    He was unpredictable a jar of coffee not being there could mean all the kitchen plates smashed and me,
    i would be on the floor....

    Just so hurt he did not care...
    years of it 23.....

    i lived in fear...he could be nice and turn in a split second...his aggression violence always there...swearing everyday as well...

    i was in an unreal world....when i came out it was a shock to me to enter into reality from denial, trauma of that alone was unreal.

    A counsellor said about my no anger...at all...part of protection...whilst we are not fully aware something tells us...that to be angry would invoke more violence so it is buried deep down inside.

    Freezing is an automatic reaction by the body and mind, my Dr explained to me how severe mine had been, once my ex was frightened as i was so much into it, he could not reach me at all, shouting at me, i went very deep into shutdown and thought at that point i would end up somewhere, i had not got a clue at the time, the knowledge i now have.

    Found that knowledge and understanding has helped me greatly to understand why i am as i am, why what happened, and so on.

    In learning the last months, year or so, have a deeper understanding of it all, which has helped tremendously.
     
  9. pandora

    pandora I'm a VIP

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    Thanx for the responses everyone.I guess i have heard it before but now I am putting it into perspective. UUUUUUUHHHHHHH, the reality of the whole thing just sucks. I am happy to be alive and that was the only thing I knew how to do at the time, I was just a kid too. I just have to forgive myself and let it go, it is harder to do that when the thoughts and memories resurface after so many years. There will be better days to come, there has to be!
     
  10. She Cat

    She Cat I'm a VIP Premium Member

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    Pandora,

    I'm not sure how old you were at the time, but your age would also have to fit into the equation. If it was an older person who abused you, then the power of authority is there too.

    There are many things that you need to look at when asking WHY you didn't do something. Then forgive yourself.. YOU didn't do this. THIS was done to you....You were the victim, please stop trying to blame yourself for what happened. I know it's hard to do, but be kind to yourself.........

    Wendy
     
  11. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    An extremely valid point Wendy, well stated.
     
  12. pandora

    pandora I'm a VIP

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    Thank you Anthony and She cat. I know i was just a kid and He........a sick adult. i am really hard on myself about everything and i am working on giving myself a break. The forum has really helped a lot too.
     
  13. She Cat

    She Cat I'm a VIP Premium Member

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    Pandora,

    I know how hard it is to not take guilt on. Victims tend to do this. We just need to take a step back and look at the whole picture through the eyes of an adult(not the victim)

    As an adult you know that a child is helpless to stop a predator. They will do what they want, and will use any method to scare us into not saying anything.

    As an adult you know how sick these people are.... When you start trying to take on guilt, try and remove yourself from being the victim, and feel as the adult that you really are. A strong woman, that knows the difference between being a helpless child, and a sick predator.

    You will get there.....

    Hugs,

    Wendy
     
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