Tag Archives: evolution

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 , , , , , , , , , , | 43 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 , , , , , , | 5 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 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 , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Are Flashbacks Just Memories?

Today’s post is really Trying To Forge a Deeper Understanding of Flashbacks: Part III. My choice of the above title, however, nicely encapsulates today’s topic and avoids the mind-dulling repetitiveness (“O, the wretched monotony!”) of continuing to use the same title. … Continue reading

Posted in evolution, flashbacks, PTSD, skepticism, trauma | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Forging a Deeper Understanding of Flashbacks: Part I

I believe that experienced trauma therapists (Think: PTSD specialists) possess an approximate, rather cognitive understanding of flashbacks. On the other hand, I am certain that dissociative disorders therapists (Think: DID specialists) have a much richer grasp of flashbacks, but I … Continue reading

Posted in dissociation, evolution, first-person accounts, flashbacks, PTSD, trauma | Tagged , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

What Are Flashbacks and Why Do They Happen?

Experienced trauma therapists know that persistent flashbacks are incredibly toxic; they frequently cause counter-productive coping, escalating depression, suicidality, clinical emergencies, and hospitalizations. Today’s question is not how to manage flashbacks, but something much more fundamental: “What the heck are they?” We know what … Continue reading

Posted in alterations of consciousness, defense, dissociation, dissociative subtype, DSM-IV, evolution, evolution-prepared dissociation, first-person accounts, flashbacks, neurobiology, PTSD, published/presented research, repression, trauma | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments