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Fawn: The Trauma Response That Keeps You People-Pleasing and in Toxic Relationships with Narcissists
And three powerful ways to heal.
You’ve likely heard of trauma responses like fight, flight, or freeze. But have you heard of “fawn?” Fawning is a trauma response characterized by appeasing a predator or complying with their demands to avoid danger and mitigate threat. Survivors who grow up in chaos are accustomed to being punished and berated for speaking out. As a result, they learn to silence their inner voice and defer to others. To be clear, there are times that “fawn” can save your life – for example, appeasing a kidnapper may keep you alive for enough time for you to escape. There are also times it can overwhelm and debilitate you from making choices in your best interest, or place you in even more danger – for example, going on a second date with someone who has shown red flags of being a dangerous predator because you feel uncomfortable saying no. Here are three powerful ways you can begin to heal your fawn trauma response while still keeping yourself safe. - Shahida Arabi, MA