5 Ways I’m Unlearning My ‘Fawn’ Response

Sam Dylan French on unlearning the Fawning Response

Let's Queer Things Up!

After writing about the trauma response known as “fawning,” I got so many messages and emails from readers asking me the same exact question: How do I stop?

I had to really sit with this question for a while. Because, to be honest, I’m still very much in that process myself.

Just to review, fawning refers to a trauma response in which a person reverts to people-pleasing to diffuse conflict and reestablish a sense of safety.

It was first coined by Pete Walker, who wrote about this mechanism pretty brilliantly in his book Complex PTSD: From Surviving To Thriving.

“Fawn types seek safety by merging with the wishes, needs and demands of others. They act as if they unconsciously believe that the price of admission to any relationship is the forfeiture of all their needs, rights, preferences and boundaries.”

–Pete Walker, The 4Fs: A Trauma Typology in…

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