When we are under stress our internal biological survival system known as the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), is activated. There are two states one is the Sympathetic response: Fight, Flight, Hyper - Aroused response. The other is the Parasympathetic response: Withdrawal, Numbing, Hypo - Arousal.
Fight: This is where our muscles tense and there is a surge of Cortisol and Adrenaline in our body. We go into "fight mode". This could look like conflict with a partner, family member or friend. It could instead be internalised and become negative self - talk or self - harm.
Flight: The same bodily and hormonal response as "fight mode", however your instinct is to run and get out of the situation that you are in. This could look like literally jumping out of your chair and leaving the room, or it could become internalised like daydreaming where you might say things like "I need to get out of this relationship, I can't do this, I have to quit my job, etc."
Freeze: Your body feels like it goes into "shut down mode", it becomes much harder to think, you may experience intense brain fog, fatigue, numbing of emotion and the feeling of not being present in your body.
Fawn: This is where we go into "people pleasing mode". There is an intense need for external approval and reassurance. This is where we "become small", like the Fawn, in response to whom we deem more powerful, as a way to feel safe.