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Like the snake video, the above video captures some essential elements of hardwired trauma responses. Notice how stiff the mouse is at the start of the video. I am increasingly appreciating how stiffness is a good early sign of immobilisation. Before I was only focussed on the loss of muscle tone as a cardinal sign, in fact both can hyper and hypo myofascial tone can occur in immobilisation.

Why does the mouse attack the cat as it comes out of immobility? Two passages from Peters Levine’s excellent new book ‘In An Unspoken Voice’ give an explanation:

As They Go In, So They Come Out: The Rage Connection

‘Similarly, when a well-fed household cat catches a mouse, the latter, restrained by the cat’s paws, stops moving and becomes limp. Without resistance from the mouse, the cat becomes bored and will sometimes gently bat the inert animal, seemingly trying to revive it and restart the game anew (not unlike Jimmy Stewart slapping his swooning heroine to bring her out of her faint). With each reawakening, chasing and reactivated terror, the mouse goes deeper and longer into immobility. When it does eventually revive, it frequently darts away so quickly (and unpredictably) that it may even startle the cat. This sudden, non-directed burst of energy could just as easily cause it to run at the cat, as well as away from it. I have even seen a mouse ferociously attack the nose of an astounded cat. Such is the nature of exit from imrnobility, where induction has been repetitive and accompanied by fear and rage. Humans, in addition, reterrorize themselves out of their (misplaced) fear of their own intense sensations and emotions.

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