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Where Does the Fawn Response Come From & How to Recognize if This is Your Default Response...

“Fawning” – it’s usually used to describe people who bend over backwards to please others. But where does this fear-based behavior actually come from?


When we experience a stressful or traumatic event, the fear response kicks in and it can lead us to “fawn” over others in order to try and survive. We become overly agreeable and too passive, hoping that these behavior patterns will help protect us from any danger. This can often lead to patterns of anxious and even disempowered behavior that can negatively affect our self-esteem and mental health.


However, the good news is that we can overcome these negative behaviors with the help of somatic work. Somatic work involves deep physical and emotional exploration and understanding.

By exploring our physical and emotional states in a safe space, we can become aware of any fear-based triggers that might lead us to “fawn” and gain tools for navigating these emotions and developing healthy coping mechanisms.



Here are 5 questions to help you ask yourself to help you recognize if this is your default response:

  1. Do I put my needs aside to make others feel better?

  2. Do I feel empty in relationships after giving too much of myself?

  3. Do I avoid conflict at all costs?

  4. Do I feel everyone’s emotions all at once?

  5. Do I think I am responsible for making everyone happy?


If you feel like you’ve been stuck in a pattern of “fawning” behavior, somatic work might just be the right step forward. We’d encourage you to reach out to a therapist or health care provider who specializes in somatic therapy, so you can take control of your emotional wellbeing. Thanks for taking the time to learn more about this fascinating topic, and we hope you find the help you need!


Book a connection call by clicking HERE to find out which survival response you dominate in with your attachment style!

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