I was stunned and amazed at the recent free parents’ training ‘Worrier to Warrior’ as to how many of you have a Freeze Response to stress.
This means you’re not always able to emotionally connect to yourself or your children. You might be prone to depression and anxiety. Think of all those feelings that you have suppressed or are not in touch with.
The Freeze Response Type is the least likely and most reluctant to ask for help when overwhelmed. They can often be in denial about their situation and have developed maladaptive self soothing mechanisms to numb out.
When I think about it, I’m not so shocked because actually it would explain why so many of you dip in and out of my work. I say something – it resonates with you, but it also triggers you and you disappear.
It would also explain why you don’t take action
Absolutely NO judgement here – it’s just an observation which I’ve pondered on for a long time. I think I tried to say it in a polite way in this blog post Do You Ever Worry That Your Child is Missing Out?
If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about and you haven’t checked out the training, please make sure you watch it because it’s not just for worried parents of worried children. It’s actually useful if your child has any kind of struggle because your response to them is EVERYTHING! There are 4 stress responses and each one can help or hinder your child.
Missed the training? It will be super helpful
Click here to watch it on YouTube or if you prefer to listen, I’ve uploaded it to the podcast here. You will also find out how you can get your hands on the free 6-page cheat sheet so you’ve got notes on what you’re hearing.
Now if you’re a Freeze Responder – or a Camouflage Sniper I have split this blog post into two so you can digest it at your own pace and hopefully won’t be overwhelmed. You won’t get left behind, just read a bit and come back when you’re ready.
Have a read of my 5 top tools for coping with FREEZE response
1 — Become Aware of Your Triggers
Notice when you’ve been triggered. Do you know your triggers? Here is helpful list from The Gottman Institute for you to check out
When I’m triggered I feel small and helpless. My response to the trigger is disproportionate to what has actually happened. My little self shows up. At the training, somebody also said they felt panicky. I can relate to that.
Another sign you’re freezing is that you self soothe or self medicate with food, drugs, alcohol, screens, painkillers, or whatever your ‘drug of choice’ is. So when you find yourself doing that, it’s likely you’ve been triggered.
Awareness is the beginning of change. So, once you’ve worked out your triggers, you’ll be able to start to learn how to respond instead of react. This takes time and practice, but you have to start.
2 — Notice Your Inner Critic
This is your inner dialogue – the voice in your head which I often refer to as your ‘Mean Girl’. This can become a bit of a vicious cycle in itself because, if you’ve been triggered, then you feel stuck. You don’t do anything. Then the voice of your ‘Mean Girl’ chimes in with some lovely shaming and guilting words which plunge you deeper into the depths of your freeze response.
Where does this voice come from?
This can often be the voice of a parent or authority figure who was a big influence. It could be the teacher that picked on you, or the highly critical football coach. It’s usually your primary caregiver. So, it could be the bullying father or the alcoholic mother. Think about who you were fearful or unsure about when you were growing up.
This voice is super mean – it makes you wrong and keeps you small
It’s relentless. I think this is another reason why Freeze Response Types don’t like asking for help. They see it as a weakness or when they asked for their needs to be met as a child, it didn’t happen. So, they gave up.
Freeze Response Types also have an Outer Critic because they’re not always aware of their torturous Inner Critic. So when you notice yourself nit picking your husband or incessantly complaining to your kids, it’s your Inner Critic coming out. You project your perfectionistic demands onto others and use the imperfections of others to self isolate. We’ll talk about that more in the next 3 tools.
How can you shut that meanie up?
- Start by writing down your thoughts and feelings to give you clarity (journalling), so you can bring that voice into your awareness. Awareness is the first step to change so instead of having lots of thoughts swimming around in your head, put them on paper.
- Start to speak to yourself like you would speak to a small child – with kindness, with love and with compassion. Bucket loads of it!
Are you ready for the next 3 tools?
For tools 3, 4 and 5, please click here…when you’re ready! No rush. Baby steps.
Breathe. You’ve got this and you need to read it.
Your kids need you to read it. I know you’ll do it for them 🙂