August 14, 2022
Trauma, Freeze, and Consent
It has been said that trauma is a thief. Whatever it was that happened, the worst of it often lies downstream. The events may have been horrific, in and of themselves, but trauma also steals from us our future and our self respect. Like interest on a maxed out credit card the effects of trauma are compounded daily. Especially when it happened early in life. As children we are usually considerably outmatched by our aggressors. The default stress response is to flee or to fight back. But when we are small this is usually not an option. Children facing violence, abuse, or violations of their boundaries and bodies have but one option: to survive it. A third stress response called Freeze takes over. Freeze is a shut down of all physical and emotional responses. It is akin to the opossum playing dead. The goal is to live. We go into shock, into paralysis, and then we dissociate, leaving our bodies to the circumstances at hand.