Back to Blog

Four Different Responses to Trauma

christian domestic abuse domestic abuse education domestic abuse trauma understand domestic abuse Feb 07, 2024

Any trauma, including from domestic abuse, changes the balances of how the brain functions.

Once the danger "alarm" is turned on, a message is sent to your brain that you are in danger or threat of danger which in turn creates a bodily response. 

When the abuse is chronic as in domestic abuse, the alarm stays stuck in the “on” position even after finding safety. As a faith leader, know that even though she may be sitting in your office fairly composed, the wounding from her husband is deep and hard to see.  

Author Bessel Van Der Kolk explains in his book, The Body Keeps Score.
 “Trauma results in a fundamental reorganization of the way the mind and brain manage perceptions. It changes not only how we think and what we think about, but also our very capacity to think.”


Four Different Responses to a Traumatic Event

1. Fight – The victim’s body gets ready to defend itself from danger or a threat of danger

2. Flight – The body gets ready to get away from danger or a threat of danger.

3. Freeze – The body shuts down when you can’t defend yourself or get away.

4. Fawn – The body seeks to please the person representing the threat to help prevent harm.

Not surprisingly, fawning is a common response by many women caught in a domestically abusive relationship.

Often, when a woman tries to use her voice, even in a respectful manner, there is a negative reaction by her husband in the form of anger or days of silence.

Therefore, women learn to be silent and compliant which is just what a husband who is controlling and abusive wants. She eventually fades internally, losing the essence of who God made her to be… even though she may look just fine at church.

For more information on trauma and its impact on the body and brain, read this blog article.

Counseling and attending a support class is always a great formula for effective healing

Living Waters of Hope offers year-round support to women experiencing the affects of domestic abuse. From September through May, we provide online Oasis Bible Study Support Groups with trained facilitators, and in the summer, we host online support groups around a book or video series. The Oasis Bible Study Support Groups are online confidential and educational support classes. Women find a pathway to spiritual and emotional wholeness through the Word of God and the truth about abuse.


Keep in Touch!

Join us for weekly stories of hope, tips and tools for support people and more!

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.