Category Archives: Tonic immobility

OK, What Is Peritraumatic Dissociation — Really?

Some insist that peritraumatic dissociation causes PTSD. Others say absolutely not. In some research, peritraumatic dissociation does predict PTSD; in other research, it doesn’t. One study even reported that those who experienced peritraumatic dissociation were healthier than those who did … Continue reading

Posted in animal defenses, depersonalization, derealization, dissociation, evolution-prepared dissociation, peritraumatic dissociation, PTSD, Tonic immobility, trauma | Tagged , , , , , , | 19 Comments

When Animal Defenses Encounter a Human Predator: Part IV

Victims of rape and childhood sexual abuse frequently describe dissociation-like experiences which occurred during the assault. Typically, we assume that these are dissociative experiences. But are they? I don’t think we really know. To be blunt about it, we have … Continue reading

Posted in animal defenses, dissociation, evolution, first-person accounts, flashbacks, human predators, peritraumatic dissociation, PTSD, rape, Tonic immobility, trauma, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

When Animal Defenses Encounter a Human Predator: Part III

Spontaneous tonic immobility is common during rape, but it doesn’t discourage many rapists. The problem is that tonic immobility was designed by Nature to deal with animal predators (e.g., big cats and bears), not human ones. Human predators usually don’t … Continue reading

Posted in animal defenses, dissociation, evolution, human predators, rape, Tonic immobility | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

When Animal Defenses Encounter a Human Predator: Part II

Let’s take a closer look at tonic immobility. When does it happen? How does it affect the animal? How does it affect the predator? And, perhaps most importantly for our purposes, “Does tonic immobility have after-effects?” As we will see, … Continue reading

Posted in animal defenses, evolution, human predators, parasympathetic nervous system, safety, Tonic immobility | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

When Animal Defenses Encounter A Human Predator: Part I

Tonic immobility is the ‘last chance’ biological reflex that is triggered when an animal is caught by a predator. Today’s post focuses on a rarely noted fact about tonic immobility — it has 4 possible outcomes, not two: (1) death … Continue reading

Posted in animal defenses, dissociation, evolution, first-person accounts, human predators, research, Tonic immobility, trauma | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Disentangling Animal Defenses From Dissociation: Part IV

Today, we focus on the ‘last chance’ animal defenses — those that spontaneously activate when an animal (which includes us!) is threatened with imminent death. So far, we have examined two ‘last chance’ defenses: (1) the evolution-prepared switch to accelerated … Continue reading

Posted in animal defenses, dissociation, evolution, neurobiology, parasympathetic nervous system, Tonic immobility, trauma | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Disentangling Animal Defenses From Dissociation: Part III

My unvarnished opinion is that the dissociation literature’s discussions of animal defenses (1) routinely conflate different kinds of immobility (freezing) and (2) fail to appreciate crucial differences between trauma and biological survival. I have been reviewing that literature lately. The … Continue reading

Posted in animal defenses, dissociation, evolution, evolution-prepared dissociation, first-person accounts, intentional/voluntary dissociation, parasympathetic nervous system, peritraumatic dissociation, Tonic immobility, trance, trauma | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Disentangling Animal Defenses From Dissociation: Part II

We have no idea where our animal defenses end and our dissociative symptoms begin. The more that I immerse myself in this area, the more I am surprised that the dissociation literature hasn’t thought more deeply about animal defenses. Animal … Continue reading

Posted in animal defenses, dissociation, evolution-prepared dissociation, first-person accounts, Tonic immobility | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments

Disentangling Animal Defenses From Dissociation: Part I

We need to disentangle the phenomena of animal defenses (e.g., freezing, hyperfocus, tonic immobility, etc.) from the phenomena of clinical dissociation (depersonalization, derealization, amnesia, etc.). Animal defenses have been built into us by natural selection; as such, their phenomena are … Continue reading

Posted in animal defenses, dissociation, evolution, evolution-prepared dissociation, first-person accounts, peritraumatic dissociation, Tonic immobility | Tagged , , , , , , , | 25 Comments