This article is a Stub. It needs more work.
Fight, Flight, Freeze, Fawn, Follow, Fortify, Fabricate and Facilitate
For our thoughts on the topic and much more explanation, see our podcast episode on the topic: Panic Reactions: 8 Important F-Words (012) New.
Our systems will pick reactions to repeated traumas and try them on for size to see how well they work. The more erratic the situation and the more frequent the traumas, the more reactions we have in combination with triggers or situations/state dependent memory situations....
We're most familiar with the first three. But "Fawn" is playing up to your abuser (they're strong, maybe they will protect me as long as I can stay on their good side) — Follow is becoming more like your abuser (if you can't beat them, join them. They won't abuse their sidekick or "minime".)...
Follow is where "internalized abusers" come in. It's just another very valid (like they all are) reaction to a dreadful situation. They probably don't think their behavior is abusive, they may think they're protecting you or serving the system. They probably don't recognize their own patterns of creating trauma. But it's not about whether someone is "being abusive." -- it's about whether someone is afraid and becomes traumatized.