Understanding our fawning trauma response

Without being able to really articulate it, I understood very young I was fawning.

I did it the small way, being a people pleaser: putting my needs last, to the point of not really being aware of them. Being an absolute pro in responding to the needs of others. Sometimes, they did not even have to ask: I anticipated what they wanted.

In my family of origin, I did fawn in bigger ways when faced with actual danger. In this context, fawning means that confronted with a violent person, we resort to appeasing and trying to please, rather than, say, fight or flight.

I hated fawning. I hated myself for doing it. I felt so much shame around fawning. For me it meant I somehow consented to what happened: I did not oppose it enough. I played nice.

I felt I should have been fearless and fight hard, or flee fast. I should not have use the freeze response, much less fawning. Of course, I do understand now there was nothing else I could do as a small kid in an abusive family.

Still, I hated my vulnerability.

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