So, we’ve all heard about the fight/flight response, but in reality our initial response in the face of threat is often to freeze, to play dead.
My husband demonstrated this superbly the other night when he was channeling Michael Flatley doing River Dance in our kitchen and kicked a stack of grocery onto the floor. He literally froze, wide-eyed with fear. It was hilarious.
One of my (adult) daughters who had been egging him on caught the moment on video. There it was, proof positive that the initial reaction is freeze. Just think of the rabbit in the headlights.
I was laughing too much to be cross so in this instance the freeze response worked in his favour.
However, in the majority of cases, freezing is not ideal if you actually need to act, if you need to get out of a situation. So often we are paralysed in the face of fear and we end up putting up with things, not knowing how best to proceed, too scared to deal with it head on or even to run away.