Fight or Flight

So I learned this interesting thing about the Fight or Flight response.


Fight or flight is not just physically fighting or fleeing, but it has a much more diverse set of responses involved to perceived life-threatening events. 


Fighting (turning towards the threat)

1. Physical fighting (Protect yourself with force)

2. Non-physical aggression

– Criticism (e.g. Attacking personality or character)

– Contempt (e.g. Attacking sense of self-worth with sarcasm, shaming, insults, eye-rolling, and sneering)


Flight (turning away from danger)

1. Physical fleeing (e.g. Run/hide)

2. Non-physical withdrawal

– Defensiveness (e.g. Deflecting the attack with excuses, disagreement, counter-arguments, or blaming)

– Stonewalling (e.g. Conveying disapproval or disconnection, stop participating, change the subject, or giving the cold shoulder or silent treatment)


When you recognize that not all issues are life-threatening, then you can lower the intensity of the “Amygdala Hijack” in terms of fight or flight and instead work towards developing mutual understanding, trust, respect, and shared goals and solutions. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal and attribution of content to Dr. Britt Andreatta)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s