Trauma and its Effects: Fight / Flight / Freeze

Look at the following list of flight, fight freeze responses below, possible signs that one is no longer feeling safe and might need to stop what they are doing.  This is not a complete list but may help to identify what you need to be watching for:

  • Restless legs, feet /numbness in legs
  • Anxiety/shallow breathing
  • Big/darting eyes
  • Leg/foot movement
  • Reported or observed fidgety-ness, restlessness, feeling trapped, tense
  • Sense of running in life- one activity-next
  • Excessive exercise
  • Feeling stuck in some part of body
  • Feeling cold/frozen, numb, pale skin
  • Sense of stiffness, heaviness
  • Holding breath/restricted breathing
  • Sense of dread, heart pounding
  • Decreased heart rate (can sometimes increase)
  • Orientation to threat
  • Crying
  • Hands in fists, desire to punch, rip
  • Flexed/tight jaw, grinding teeth, snarl
  • Fight in eyes, glaring, fight in voice
  • Desire to stomp, kick, smash with legs, feet
  • Feelings of anger/rage
  • Homicidal/suicidal feelings
  • Knotted stomach/nausea, burning stomach
  • Metaphors like bombs, volcanoes erupting
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