Subtle signs that your trauma response is to fawn


When we are brought up in dysfunctional homes or have faced a terrifying event in the past, our experiences and ways of responding to difficult situations can be affected. While some people develop the response of flight or fight during triggers, some people can have a fawn response as well. Fawn response refers to the defense mechanism of trying to find security in the existing relationships by becoming pleasing and nice to people even when we are uncomfortable. Explaining this, Therapist Abby Rawlinson wrote, “The fawn response describes how some people try to create safety in their relationships by developing people-pleasing behaviours. The fawn response is triggered when a person responds to a threat – or a potential threat – by trying to be pleasing, nice or helpful.”

Subtle signs that your trauma response is to fawn(Pexels)

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Abby further noted down the subtle signs that show that we have a fawn response to our trauma:

Saying yes: We fear being misunderstood and disliked by others. Hence, we try to shed our own boundaries and agree to things that we are not comfortable with.

Difficulty feeling anger: We have difficulty feeling anger towards others because we feel that we need to constantly please them to be included.

Feeling of being at fault: When someone is angry with us, we automatically start to believe that we are at fault – it is a trigger response to make things better without a need of a conversation or a chaos.

People’s opinions: We are constantly worried about the way people think of us. Hence, we work too hard to make them feel good about us.

Approval: Since we cannot validate our own emotions and feelings, we constantly seek them from others. Constant approval and praise can soothe us.

“Fawning might help people feel safe in the short term but it comes with some high cots: it holds us back from being our authentic self, it makes us anxious, it makes us feel unseen and it interferes with our ability to connect with people deeply. The people-pleasing fawn response is often learned in childhood, but it’s not set in stone,” wrote the Therapist.


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