What Are You Afraid of?
If you are stuck and can’t get out of your own way, it may help to dig deep on this question with someone you trust. Many of us fear failure but it may surprise you to know that many of us even fear success! Public speaking is another big one. Our brains are hardwired, and three to four times more likely to see a threat than a reward, according to research by Occupational Psychologist and business consultant Gary Luffman. This perceived threat (like your boss sitting in the front row waiting for your brilliant presentation), triggers our sympathetic nervous system to respond with a “fight or flight freeze or fawn” response. Our adrenaline increases, causing us to sweat, get a dry mouth or throat, or freeze perhaps unable to speak or even move as if you are unable to flee the scene. We can’t fight, freeze, or flee if we are required to speak publicly for a work situation and so the body reacts in this way sensing danger. According to this article in WebMD this explains our physical reaction to fear. In fact, our bodies are (still after thousands of years of evolution) programmed foremost for survival causing extreme stressors that result in similar responses to that of our Neanderthal ancestors when cornered by a predator!
The fawn response is a late addition to the fight or flight theory that may be holding you back from reaching your goals or just being happier. The fawn response is when you have tried both fighting and fleeing the threatening situation unsuccessfully, and instead become overly agreeable or compliant to avoid additional harm. This is something hostages may do for example, to placate their kidnappers and survive. It can also be a coping mechanism used in a committed relationship to de-escalate tension and avoid emotional or other types of abuse. Or just to avoid a sensitive topic for fear of making things worse, is when the fawn response may come up, even with healthy committed couples. This is when your fear and the fawn response may stop you from resolving conflicts and keep you stuck in a moment unable to move forward.
According to WebMD below are some of the lesser-known fawn responses that people experience with an extremely stressful situation.
• Trying to be overly helpful
• Primary concern with making someone else happy
To learn how a Life Coach can help you understand your fear, and stop letting it control you, visit my website and schedule a free consultation today.
“Our bodies are our gardens, our wills are our gardeners.” – William Shakespeare