Any overwhelming experience or period in life will create some form of fight, flight, freeze or please response.
Survival Response Combinations with Complex Trauma
To present a hypothetical example:
You are a wanted child by your mother but not by your father. Your mother is insecure and in need of love and attention, to feel her own self worth. In contrast to that, your father is often absent and neglectful, and when he is around, belittles you by being overtly abusive and demanding.
The possible patterns you form regarding your mother are; flight, when her neediness and the skilful manipulation that goes with it, becomes overbearing followed by dissociation and a freeze response when her assaults are relentless and your mutual reactions keep triggering each other.
With your father you might go into fight mode first, whenever he becomes physically, verbally, or even sexually abusive. When fight doesn’t yield results, you might go into agreeing or pleasing, in an attempt to avoid any furthering of prolonged abuse. If that proves futile and the abuse continues, the ‘last resort’ step is to dissociate, by moving into a freeze state.
In cases of recurring and long lasting traumatic periods, the complexity of traumatic adaptation patterns, continues.
“America’s Firm Resolve to End Childhood Abuse and Neglect”