After the Webinar: An Introduction to DV, TBI and Strangulation Q&A with Rachel Ramirez

Webinar presenter  Rachel Ramirez answered a number of your questions after her webinar, An Introduction to Domestic Violence, Traumatic Brain Injury and Strangulation. Here are just a few of her responses.


Audience Question: Is it possible to train your brain to not respond in the 4 F responses? The fight, flee, freeze, and fawn. 

Rachel Ramirez: I think that. Oh, I mean. I think that that is very, very individual. I think a lot of it depends so much. I feel like every answer. If anybody has any questions about your brain, every single answer is, it depends because people’s brains are so complex and so complicated. I think one of the things that we have to remember is our fight, flight, and freeze responses. Those are really a part of our survival instincts. They are such an important part of our brain. I think sometimes they get a bad rap because we know that sometimes they’re not the smartest part of our brains, because we are alerted by a lot of things that actually aren’t dangerous. But I think a part of it is just really helping our brains better understand and again have that opportunity to have exposure to things. And you know, I’m just going to go back to my simple like, you know how people who have been bitten by dogs, not everybody who’s bitten by dogs are scared of dogs forever, but depending on who you are, depending on your background. A lot of it when we talk about that exposure. So, if you’re bitten by a dog when you’re a kid, but your brain has the opportunity to see hundreds of more dogs that don’t bite you. Then it does get retrained. If anybody has ever been in a car accident, even a minor car accident. I don’t know if you remember, like the first time you got in a car after you were into someone, and you were all like, “Oh, I don’t even want to drive,” because your brain is like “Oh, last time this happened it was bad. We shouldn’t do this.” But you have again that exposure. You drive more. You’re like, “Okay, I’ve done more of this driving. I’ve gotten used to it. This does not always happen.” So, I think that there are. I mean, I think it’s one of those things. Don’t underplay those trauma responses that we have. They’re amazing gifts that our bodies have given us to help us survive. But I think that when you’re talking about really working with a —– therapist. I know EMDR has helped, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. You can tell I don’t do EMDR. But that has helped lots of people, but I think it is also just recognizing that that is really an important part of you being able to survive in the world. It is really just like… we’re not the only ones who have fight, flight, and freeze responses. Deers have them, all animals. all creatures have them.


Audience Question: How do you encourage somebody to seek treatment and understand how serious their injuries are if they’re in the mindset of downplaying the incident? 

Rachel Ramirez: Well, I think that one of the things is, I think we talked about CARE, We build that connection, build that relationship. I think we don’t want to think about it as our job is to make people get treatment because something that’s really important to understand about concussions, like I said, as I said, there’s no test for them. You don’t go to the doctor, get medicine, and it gets fixed. I think what we need to do if people are downplaying them, of course, they’re downplaying them because their experiences of violence have been downplayed by their partners. Like they often haven’t been believed. They’ve been told it’s their fault. But I think again, providing people access to supportive access to information, I think really, really helps and really really matters. I don’t think that we should consider ourselves, I think, how we should define success on this issue is really about how I provided information and education to people. There’s a lot of reasons why people might not be doing that right now, and might not be doing that right away. I also want to throw like one of the downplaying, I think that’s another trauma response. Many of us are getting a survival response like we get through things by thinking, “Oh, my gosh! That wasn’t that bad!” You know, my workout this morning was terrible, and I got the, and I was like, “Ooh, that was like I did so good! That was not nearly as bad as I thought. Yes, it was as bad as I thought.” But that’s how we do those kind of things. So, I think again. But I think it’s also what we do know is like, we don’t know if, for you, you are not. If you’re strangled, you are not guaranteed to die. You know. I think we want to not be alarmist, we want to be serious. But I think having people have access, so providing them with some of access some of the tools that we showed on our website could provide people with the opportunity to really think about that. And really also just help put this on my radar that you know, this might not be something that you can get medical care for right now, or you get evaluated. But you know, and maybe once we get housing figured out, maybe once you get some of these other things figured out. Then we can go toward that. I also want to know how many of you have something you should be going to the doctor, that you haven’t done? Anybody else like me like was the last time I had a physical. I’m like, “Oh, I’ll do that next week.” That’s also very common. So, I think, again, being able to provide some of that fact-based information that, again, isn’t alarmist. But having people have access to that information, and also supporting them with being able to do that because sometimes it might not be as easy as that person can just call and make a medical appointment and get there on their own, and do all that kind of stuff. They might need support in a different way because of the impact of their brain injury.


Click Here to Watch a Recording of An Introduction to Domestic Violence, Traumatic Brain Injury and Strangulation. Here

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