ONEare you happier? Or do you have a close relationship with someone who is? More specifically, do you feel the need to over-explain yourself in an effort to make others feel more comfortable? While it is great to want to show up for the people you love and empathize with their needs, setting aside all your own hopes, desires, needs and concerns in an effort to meet someone else’s needs is never good. In fact, it is a wound reaction known as fawn.
At its core, Caroline Fenkel, LCSW, head clinic at Charlie Health, says the fawn (also known as over-explaining itself) is a collision avoidance effort. “The fawn is a way in which abuse survivors have trained themselves (consciously or not) to bypass abuse or trauma, trying to ‘cover up’ or overly please their perpetrator,” he explains. “In the long run, the fawn can appear in all relationships, not just abusive or traumatic ones. “This can lead to harmful patterns of interdependence and other interpersonal issues.”
Would you like to know more? Next, reveal everything you need to know about over-explaining trauma patterns.
The term fawn, referring to the over-explanation of trauma, was first coined by Pete Walker, MFT. “Deer types seek safety by merging with the desires, needs and requirements of others,” he wrote in The 4Fs: A Trauma Typology in Complex PTSD. “They act as if they unconsciously believe that the price of acceptance in any relationship is the downfall of all their needs, rights, preferences and limits.”
In short, Stryke Club psychotherapist and co-founder Nicole Brooks says that as a result of PTSD, some people return to extreme forms of people they enjoy, over-explaining themselves in an effort to dispel the conflict and restore feeling. security.
“It makes sense if you experienced situations in which you felt threatened and insecure,” Brooks said. “The brain goes to the battle or flight response first, which means that your amygdala (which is responsible for processing fear) teases your prefrontal cortex (which is the part of the brain that allows you to think logically). You react quickly and you either want to leave or freeze like a deer caught in the spotlight “. Fawning comes into play after experiencing this fight or flight response too many times.
“You can develop a defense or defense mechanism to ensure that you do not find yourself in this terrible situation again,” Brooks said. “The fawn is the defense mechanism that allows you to please people and reassure those around you to avoid any confrontation.” However, in the process of over-explaining yourself, you inadvertently open yourself up to more trauma that could occur along the way.
Remember: Excessive explanation is an injury response designed to avoid conflict. “The logic behind the fawn is that if a person does anything and everything he can to please the person trying to hurt him, that person may not follow the abusive behavior,” says Fenkel. “Our primary reactions to trauma are to fight, to run away and to freeze, and the fawn is a way of overcoming the need to do something about it altogether. These trauma reactions put too much strain on our nervous system, so the body tries to protect itself with the fawn. It is like putting on a mask and hoping that the perpetrator will not recognize you behind it. “
The reasons for the excessive explanation of the trauma
According to BrainTap neuroscientist and inventor Patrick Porter, PhD, the need to over-explain yourself usually comes from childhood trauma. “If the person felt abandoned in some way, he learns to please others so that others do not abandon them,” he says. “Sometimes they are so polarized by the reactions of fighting, running away and freezing that excessive behaviors develop unconsciously in childhood.”
In addition, Dr. Porter points out that deer behaviors can develop as a result of being told to hide your feelings as a child. After hiding emotions for so long, it can become difficult to process them. “If a person finds it difficult to recognize their emotions or has no contact with their emotions because they have been taught to depersonalize their emotions, they may eventually develop deer behaviors or over-explanation,” says Dr. Porter. “If a person feels that he grew up in a house where he was not allowed to be a leader and never took on that leadership role, he identifies in a way that he becomes a follower and happy.”
Another reason one may develop a tendency to fawn is because one feels inaudible – as a child or adult. “When we did not feel or were made to feel wrong, intentionally or unintentionally as a child, we developed a desire not to feel guilty and it can manifest itself in people who are happy as adults,” explains sex, relationships and the psyche. Health Therapist Rachel Wright, LMFT. “In addition, someone who has experienced gas at any age may develop the habit of over-explaining, so that the person you are talking to can not distort your words. In addition, depending on the type of trauma we experienced, sometimes we explain too much to avoid disappointing someone by giving them your reasoning.
How to stop over-explaining the trauma
Since over-explaining can lead to abandoning yourself to please someone else, it is important to find ways to overcome the deer effect.
When working to overcome the need to over-explain yourself, Dr. Porter and Fenkel agree that slowing down is the key. “Slow down before you start over-explaining,” says Fenkel. “Try to pay attention and recognize how you feel – Anxious? Afraid? anxious; Be patient with the process and trust that your feelings are just information, not facts. Just because you are afraid to be immediate or set a limit, for example, does not mean that you are in immediate danger. This is your response to the trauma. “Evaluate the situation, take a deep breath and try to resist the urge to explain too much or to compromise with your limits.”
If you find this particularly difficult, Dr. Porter adds that adopting a regular practice of awareness can help. “Most people have a problem with information of the past, present and future on a subconscious level, because this level of mind does not distinguish time in the same way,” he says. “Basically our subconscious stores all the experiences together like beads on a string. So, if you pull a bead, you have all the options. ” If you can, however, slow down your thoughts, he says you will be more likely to follow your answers. “This is where consciousness and BrainTap come in.” “They help you train the brain to slow down and adjust to what is really going on in any given situation, to repeat these choices in your mind in a useful and positive way and, with practice, you can distance yourself from the fawn and respond with natural and physiological responses “.
And if that doesn’t work, seeking professional help can certainly help.
At the end of the day, many things can contribute to a person over-explaining as a result of an injury. That said, Dr. Porter says the biggest reason by far is that someone has a child abuse trauma.
“It could be verbal, physical or environmental and it causes trauma that causes the deer to respond,” he says. “In my experience, the biggest reason people have become overly explanatory is that they were educated by their parents or loved ones that love was conditional and they had to work for it as a child. There were always conditions to love. “It leads to someone being overly explanatory and causing trauma on a mental level.”
It also leads to people feeling that they do not belong, which is another reason why one can over-explain oneself. “In many ways, over-explanation shows that one does not feel that one deserves to take up space in conversations or relationships,” says Fenkel. “Excessively explaining yourself can also mean that you are afraid of any conflict or negative reaction to what you are trying to talk about or ask.”
The good news is that treatment can help. Since fawn is often the result of some kind of trauma – whether in childhood or adulthood – talking to an authorized therapist can help us understand the trauma and ultimately alleviate the PTSD that causes the trauma to be misinterpreted.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal ideation, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or Chat with an online consultant.
If you or someone you know is experiencing or experiencing domestic violence and need support, call the National Domestic Violence Contact Line at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224.