Going DEAF: How We Involuntarily Respond to Conflict and Trauma

DEAF is an involuntary Nerve Fracture (trauma) response to conflict or confrontation, leading to excessive behaviours such as Defending, Excusing, Attacking, or Fawning, driven by fears of rejection, loss of control, or shame.


This reaction involves protecting oneself from perceived criticism or threats through defensiveness, over-explaining, or rationalising one’s actions. It is often seen in situations where a person feels unjustly accused or when their self-image (Ego) is threatened.

  • Get Defensive
  • Over Explain
  • Justify and Rationalise


Individuals might avoid taking responsibility for their actions by making excuses, lying, cheating, or passing the blame. This behaviour can stem from a fear of judgment or consequences and is a common method of avoiding a shame attack.

  • Lie
  • Cheat
  • Pass The Blame


Attacking is a more aggressive defence mechanism, whether through retaliation, stonewalling, or criticism. It puts the other person in the wrong, shifting focus away from oneself to regain control of the situation.

  • Retaliate
  • Stonewall
  • Criticise


This involves behaviours like appeasing others, over-apologising, seeking support, or playing the victim. Often referred to as “fawning” in psychological terms, it is a response aimed at mitigating conflict by trying to please others or evoke sympathy to avoid direct confrontation or aggression.

  • Appease
  • Over Apologize
  • Seeks Backup

A DEAF response makes us look weak and shuts us off to secure, high-status individuals. These individuals, in turn, may become deaf to our fracture response, exacerbating the triggered individual’s frustration.

When two individuals are caught in a DEAF reaction, they cannot truly hear one another as the fracture pain forces them to focus entirely on themselves. This results in a total breakdown of communication and connection.

Healing DEAF Responses

DEAF is a response stemming from a volatile nervous system (Nerve Fracture). To regulate your nervous system effectively, continuous practices are recommended, including:

  • Sleep discipline
  • Breathwork (with a pause before speaking)
  • Meditation

Additionally, working with a coach or therapist is crucial to address issues related to Ego and Emotional Fractures, where one might become obsessive or hyper-vigilant about other people’s reactions or rejections.