This Is What Survival Looks Like- Freeze (Part 3 of 3)

Apr 10, 2023

Dear Parent,

Attachment panic is often triggered when an attachment challenged person perceives deprivation or withdrawal of another's love. The cellular memory of early deprivation and loss causes a reaction of fight, flight or freeze.

This is freeze:

  •  When your 6-year-old cuts her long hair on one side up to her ear and she faces your displeasure mute with wide open eyes while you ask her what in the world she was doing
  • When your 15-year-old glazes over like an ice statue when you approach him about stuffing his dirty laundry back into his drawers instead of the washer
  • When your 3-year-old collapses to the floor in a fetal position just as you are leaving for work
  • When your 12-year-old stares at you expressionless while yawning just as you are making a poignant point

When you see those blank, death grip, lights on no one home, checked out, empty-faced stares, you are experiencing your child in attachment panic freeze. 

Try to remember that freeze is pure fear, though it may look like pure defiance.  Take a deep breath or a little time out to regulate yourself, lower your intensity and voice tone, and soften your eyes, because you will be scaring your child to death (again) if you don't.  Nothing they have done is worth that.

Survival instincts are hardwired.  That means auto pilot deer in the headlights, blank stares in the face of any perceived threat.

Love matters,



P.S. Check out the Love Matters Parenting Society membership for more support.

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