How Do you Handle Criticism, Rejection, and Stress in General

The four physical/emotional responses to stress are: fight, flight, freeze, and faint. You learned to react from the ways you were treated when you were a child. These patterns are deeply engrained. The following quiz can help you find the pattern of automatic reactions that you may want to change. It will also help you appreciate the growth you’ve made in breaking painful childhood cycles. To find your current pattern, be curious, not critical, with yourself as you consider each statement below.
To make it as accurate as you can, recall a recent situation when you thought someone was angry at or rejecting of you, or you felt betrayed.

Here are the basic responses to stress: Find Your Style

Any break in belonging or trust triggers an automatic and powerful Stress Response. Whenever we feel threatened--even in a misunderstanding with someone we love and trust--our brain chemistry goes on high alert, as if our life were threatened.You can't stop the response, but learned from childhood to model what to do with the impulses.

    It is possible for the identical situation to evoke an immediate reaction of fight, flight, freeze, or faint in different people. Each response is designed to protect you from harm. You probably have experienced each of these responses at various times--sometimes coping with a single event. But everyone has a predominant style. This determines our individual Protective Style. Some get angry easily, others get anxious, many shut down, others leap for the ice cream, drugs/alcohol, or spending. The good news is that we can change, improve our relationships, and grow in healthier responses.

    To find your current style, recall a recent situation when you felt someone being angry or rejecting. Whether or not you fought back, you were stressed out!

Examples: unfair blame, perceived disrespect, the possibilty you've been betrayed.

Mark 0 (low) to 5 (high) to reflect how descriptive each is of your response.


____ I get angry so fast, I can’t control it. I feel like I want to break something.
____ My heart instantly hardens against them. I obsess being right, they’re wrong. ____ I KNOW I am angry. My body gets hot, I may yell, or sit and seethe.
____ I get busy. I accomplish while I am muttering to myself.


____ I want to just walk away. I think never want to see them again.
____ I make escape plans. To avoid discussion I act like I don't care, get quiet.

____ I do anything to avoid a fight. I’m willing to say I’m wrong even when I’m not.
____ I call friends, tell them I can't handle it anymore, but then I don't act.


____ My mind is a blank. I’m afraid to speak, or I just echo what was said.
____ I feel punched in the stomach, unable to take a deep breath.
____ I keep repeating "this isn't happening" or something like that.
____ I can’t move. My mouth is dry. Sometimes I feel like a robot. I disappear.


____ I don't hear what is being said when people are angry. I get dizzy, go to sleep..
____ I start eating, drinking, turn on TV, get stoned, anything to not feel.
____ I just wait until the bad part stops, I can't remember what really happened.
____ I feel like I'm in a dream much of the time when times get rough. It'll pass.

  Scoring: Add up the scores in each of the four categories. Rank your Protector’s stress response to stress from most common to least frequent for you presently. Notice how it may have changed from your childhood pattern, and again as a younger adult. How would you LIKE it to flow?

  Example: I often saw anger lead to violence when I was a child. I made a choice to never get angry. I used food to numb me into faint. The pattern that resulted was: 1 faint; 2 freeze; 3 faint, and never, ever fight.

Now I can admit when I'm angry, having learned how not to hurt other people. My present order of reaction is: 1 freeze; 2 flight; 3 fight; and I seldom escape to faint.