On the Freeze Response and “Playing Possum”

It doesn’t make sense that a possum would play possum. How is that any help for the possum? Animals kill other animals — not because they are acting out their repressed rage from childhood, but for their food! A possum playing dead gives no advantage to herself since her predator will eat her dead or alive. There are no Ted Bundy’s in the wild kingdom.

There are 3 ways in which we respond to imminent death situations; they are fight, flight and FREEZE (freeze only activated when the possum cannot fight or flight!). What is really happening is not not the possum playing dead, but the possum is utilizing his biologically instinctive response to imminent death called “the freeze response” when no other response is practical. Unlike the so-called, “playing possum”, this is actually advantages for the possum (albeit not preventing their own death)! Both humans and animals use this response and it is often learned in childhood. While engaging the innate involuntary freeze response, we are in a dissociative hypnotic state or checked out into another “world” and are free of pain. The thinking is dulled, all senses are dulled in this state and that is how we have all been able to survive our childhoods. However as adults being stuck in the freeze response means living in a functional variation of it, generally speaking, causing mental, emotional, spiritual, sexual and physical anomalies.

Intelligent design is real. Our bodies have everything all figured out FOR US. We only encounter problems when taking bad advice and/or getting in the way of our own body’s response to anything that does not belong. We discard the idea of intelligent design when we defer to mankind’s dogma.

To find truths like these, you have to be willing to read and perform your own independent investigation. You have to be willing to dig deeper, to question what you have been programmed to believe about the world, and accept that there are doctors, psychologists and scientists out there that do not agree with academia or establishment appointed psychologists, doctors and scientists.. Give the unsung a chance. Sometimes they are right. The path to truth is time consuming and not meant for the lazy. And often, a lot of this stuff is just common sense.

“Before researching trauma, I had never connected what Dr. Herman refers to as an “altered state” with how I coped with incest. If we can’t “fight or flee”, we go into an altered state. One such state is “freezing.” We don’t’ decide to freeze. It’s involuntary. If the terror continues, the child may move from freezing to complete dissociation appearing to ‘go away’ or to disengage mentally and emotionally from the immediate environment.” (Dr. Bruce Perry in Karr-Morse and Wiley, Ghosts From the Nursery, p. 167)

“What happens to people during an altered state varies. Some of the descriptions include: “My mind went blank;” “I froze and everything slowed down; I couldn’t think of anything;” “It was like I was standing outside my body watching what was happening. I couldn’t feel anything.” I have always said, “I split my mind.” For me, those words fit the experience I had….splitting into a day child and a night child.” ~Marilyn Van Derbur

“Dr. Peter Levine, who has worked with trauma survivors for twenty-five years, says the single most important factor he has learned in uncovering the mystery of human trauma is what happens during and after the freezing response. He describes an impala being chased by a cheetah. The second the cheetah pounces on the young impala, the animal goes limp. The impala isn’t playing dead, she has “instinctively entered an altered state of consciousness, shared by all mammals when death appears imminent.” (Levine and Frederick, Waking the Tiger, p. 16)The impala becomes instantly immobile. However, if the impala escapes, what she does immediately thereafter is vitally important. She shakes and quivers every part of her body, clearing the traumatic energy she has accumulated.” ~Marilyn Van Derbur

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