Attachment Panic–Freeze

Previously this week, I wrote about attachment panic reactions–fight and flight–and today’s topic is the third reaction in the trilogy, freeze. You will recall that 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 thinking; 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, deer in the headlights, lights on no one home, checked out, empty faced stares, YOU are experiencing attachment panic freeze.
Try to remember that this is pure fear.  Take a deep breath or a little time out to regulate yourself, lower your intensity and voice tone, and soften your eyes, because you are scaring your child to death (again) if you don’t.  Nothing they have done is worth that.

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