Trauma Response Quiz
People respond to trauma differently, and knowing your trauma response can help you understand your reactions to stressors. Take this quiz to learn if your primary trauma response is fawning, freezing, flopping, trauma dumping, or self-gaslighting.
Clinically Reviewed By: Don Gasparini Ph.D., M.A., CASAC
October 6, 2023
Table of Contents
This quiz is not a diagnostic tool or substitute for professional mental health advice. It is not meant to imply the prevalence of any mental or physical health issue(s).
It’s common for individuals to experience more than one trauma response. But usually, there is one primary trauma response that stands out among others.
Who is this trauma response quiz for?
This trauma response quiz is designed for anyone who wants to know what their trauma response is and how it affects their behaviors and relationships. Knowing your trauma response can help you understand your reactions to stress, identify when you’re being triggered, and empower you to take steps toward trauma recovery.
Answering this short, eight-question trauma response quiz will help establish which trauma response you most closely align with. However, this quiz isn’t a diagnostic tool and doesn’t replace advice from a licensed mental health provider. After taking this quiz, it may be helpful to talk with a mental health professional who can help you process the causes of your trauma response and provide you with tools to manage past traumas effectively.
What are the types of trauma responses?
Fawning trauma response
You try to prevent conflict with others by pleasing them. You agree with everything others say, try to get them to like you, and put aside your own feelings to avoid arguments or problems. You use this people-pleasing approach to feel safe, especially with people who are abusive.
Freeze trauma response
When someone or something is making you stressed or causing you harm, you shut down—physically, emotionally, or both. You become numb and try to disconnect from what’s going on around you because you hope that the stressor will go away if you don’t respond.
Flop trauma response
Stress or the possibility of harm makes you feel so overwhelmed that your body physically shuts down. You might faint, feel extremely tired, or skip an event because you’ve lost motivation. Like the freeze trauma response, you may also disengage emotionally, but when you flop, there’s always a physical reaction.
You bottle up your stress and then vent to friends, co-workers, family, or even a social media audience all at once. Trauma dumping can feel intense for you because you’re letting so much out all at once and intense for the people you’re talking with because they’re hearing a lot of your feelings all at once.
When something stressful or traumatic happens, you blame yourself—and often hold onto that blame for a long time. You hold yourself responsible for traumatic events and stressors as a way to justify why these things happened in the first place, even though you don’t actually have control over them.
Is your trauma response genetic?
Many factors can impact a person’s trauma response, and researchers are increasingly exploring if genetics is one of them.
For decades, researchers have explored how trauma itself can be passed down through generations—a term known as “intergenerational trauma,” first popularized in a 1988 study of the children of Holocaust survivors. In the past several years, research has explored how this intergenerational transmission of trauma may be due to epigenetics, which are environmentally-caused changes in the way your genes work.
Just as trauma may be genetically transmitted, the way we respond to trauma may be, too, research shows. For example, a 2016 study of twins (a common way researchers study genetics and heredity) revealed there’s a genetic risk factor for developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after trauma. And research indicates that some trauma responses may have more of a hereditary component than others. A 2004 study exploring the “faint” trauma response (akin to the flop trauma response) shows that it seems to have a strong genetic component.