Was that a fawn response?

Lilac98

Policy Enforcement
So for people's understanding, my grandad abused my sisters and went to prison for it many years ago. He got out and it felt like everyone pretty much acted like nothing happened though we saw him only once a year at first. Eventually he got quite ill and when taking him to hospital nanny was trying to get out of the car when dad was moving it cause him mum and grandad all thought she'd got out the car when mum and grandad did cause she took ages cause she needed help when she said she didn't so nanny's arm got mangled and she broke her hip. So after the hospital they both came to live with me mum dad and my older sister. I wasn't comfortable with this but they couldn't live on their own, refused to go in a care home and no one else in the family would look after them. I just tried to act normal around grandad cause although I could do this when we visited him seeing him every day was another thing. Most of the time I was really anxious around him, worrying he'd do something but sometimes I'd purposely sit in the living room with him and try to be around him more I didn't fully understand why I was doing it other than feeling sick of feeling trapped in my own house. I felt almost obsessed with him and wanted to be around him even if I wasn't supposed to be sitting in the living room with him and watching TV upstairs instead if I wanted or sitting in the office upstairs which was like another living room cause he couldn't get upstairs. Recently I've seen people mentioning the fawn response and I wonder if that's what I was doing???
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
on my radar, that reference originated in biology discussion of "the survival instinct" inherent to all animals developed enough to desire self-preservation. "fawning" is one of "the 4 f's. freeze, flight, fawn and fight." jane goodall's study of gorillas presented my personal favorite explanation, but the theory is also prevalent among dog trainers, keepers of herd animals, etc.

"fawning" is where a lesser member of the herd, flock, pack, etc., will do whatever it takes to please the powers that be.

in my own case, fawning is not natural to me, but it's easier to make my next move if the powers that be believe they are in charge for long enough to let their guard down. whatever you say, ma'am/sir. you the boss.
 

Lilac98

Policy Enforcement
on my radar, that reference originated in biology discussion of "the survival instinct" inherent to all animals developed enough to desire self-preservation. "fawning" is one of "the 4 f's. freeze, flight, fawn and fight." jane goodall's study of gorillas presented my personal favorite explanation, but the theory is also prevalent among dog trainers, keepers of herd animals, etc.

"fawning" is where a lesser member of the herd, flock, pack, etc., will do whatever it takes to please the powers that be.

in my own case, fawning is not natural to me, but it's easier to make my next move if the powers that be believe they are in charge for long enough to let their guard down. whatever you say, ma'am/sir. you the boss.
So errm was that what I was doing? Fawning?
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
dunno, lilac. i understand animals far more than i understand psychology.

in my biology studies, the fawning is to circumvent clear and imminent danger within a life or death situation. once the aggressor drops the threats, the fawning animal is simply accepting their place in the proverbial pecking order when they back off and let the alpha animal eat first. in relation to my own species, i let the alpha animals eat alone. bon apetite from an increasing social distance.
 

Roland

Confident
@Roland hi sorry for bugging you but since you mentioned the fawn mode today what do you think of my post here?
Yeah, sounds like fawning. Trying to "make nice" with an abuser, doing things you know they would like. Also trying to pretend like nothing happened and suppress your fear and anxiety.

Don't worry about "bothering me", happy to talk and discuss anything :)


I guess more direct fawning would be like he asks you for a hug, and rather then saying no or giving a quick side hug, you give him a long meaningful hug that you really don't want to give but you know he wants it so you do.

Freeze is like he hugs you and you don't react, pull away, you just let him hug you.

I think fight and flight are more self explanatory and commonly known.
 

Lilac98

Policy Enforcement
Yeah, sounds like fawning. Trying to "make nice" with an abuser, doing things you know they would like. Also trying to pretend like nothing happened and suppress your fear and anxiety.
At the time I didn't remember being abused by him before but I new about him abusing other people. My ex friend said I was sick when I told her what I was doing (sitting alone with him to see if he'd do anything) and said I shouldn't want to be abused.
 

Roland

Confident
At the time I didn't remember being abused by him before but I new about him abusing other people. My ex friend said I was sick when I told her what I was doing (sitting alone with him to see if he'd do anything) and said I shouldn't want to be abused.
You were probably mostly just trying to act like everything was normal, convincing yourself more than anyone else
 

Lilac98

Policy Enforcement
You were probably mostly just trying to act like everything was normal, convincing yourself more than anyone else
I'd sit next to him then feel terrified but still choose to stay there for as long as I could but normally I'd get too anxious and go back upstairs. It was like I was giving myself exposure therapy.

I guess more direct fawning would be like he asks you for a hug, and rather then saying no or giving a quick side hug, you give him a long meaningful hug that you really don't want to give but you know he wants it so you do.

Freeze is like he hugs you and you don't react, pull away, you just let him hug you.

I think fight and flight are more self explanatory and commonly known.
I just let him hug me in the restaurant incident at first just feeling uncomfortable and thinking in my head maybe he just didn't realise his hand was on my bum cause I had my coat on. But then when he was still hugging me I went to move my arms and realised I couldn't cause he was holding them down with his arms near my wrist so I couldn't move them even a bit they were just stuck at my sides. Then I tried to move away from him by pulling backwards but couldn't so I just had to wait till he stopped hugging me.
 

Lilac98

Policy Enforcement
I'm curious, what was the age difference between you and your sisters? And what was it like for you, when you found out about the abuse?
I was 11 when he came out of prison. That's when I found out about my sisters abuse I'm nearly 24 now. I was uncomfortable and didn't ask any more questions then when it was nanny's birthday we went out for a meal,which we did every year. One sister is 5 years older and I'm not sure how much older the other one is at least 8 years older I never remember how old they are. One sister is 1 and a half years older than me but she wasn't one that got him put in prison.
 

Magnolia

New Here
So errm was that what I was doing? Fawning?
Were you trying to gain favor? Or maybe you were just curious about him and didn't understand why such an old, feeble man was so feared.

I had a similar experience before I ever experienced any abuse. I didn't see the threat in this particular person, and it confused me that others did. I had always been told that every person deserves compassion and it was obvious that no one was being nice to him so I decided I would be nice. Later my mom told me he was a 'stranger' and I should stay away.
 
Top