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)