Key points

  • There is a third state of stress reaction that exists between fight, flight, and freeze: Withdrawal.
  • Withdrawal is a predictable instinct to overwhelming encounters with danger and stress.
  • In the short term, withdrawal is a helpful reaction that helps a survivor regroup and recuperate after trauma.
  • In the long term, withdrawal becomes a prolonged and complex response that takes over and impedes trauma survivors’ entire life.

Source: Fight-Flight-Freeze and Withdrawal | Psychology Today United Kingdom