The outer behavior

The outer behavior is like the tip of the iceberg, only the part of the strategy that comes to light, the part that other people notice. Behind every behavior there are also all the previously discussed inner reactions that are barely visible to others. All forms of behavior are controllable, i.e. if a form of behavior has led to success several times, it is preferably used in new situations, even if another one would actually make more sense. Over time, the behavioral form becomes an integral part of the life strategy.

1. consumption

The most important behavior is consuming. This behavior is the prerequisite for survival. Even the first cell could only survive because it assimilated components from its environment. Consumption is not only limited to food, but also to objects, sexuality, life experiences, people, knowledge, etc. Consumer behavior can be balanced or extreme and one-sided. Some people consume excessively, others only minimally or not at all, as in the case of anorexia.

2. communication

Since humans are social beings, communication plays an important role in their behavior. Communication takes place everywhere and everyone has their own way of communicating with others. Here, too, there are different gradations between extremes, such as complete lack of communication and the all-dominant flood of communication. There are people who strike a balance between communicating and listening, there are those who only listen and there are those who only talk.

3. the escape

The behavior of flight stands for the movement from one place to another. If we want to get something, we speak of attraction rather than flight, except when we speak of “flight forward”. In danger, flight is the most biologically sensible reaction. It uses the least energy and is the safest. Every living creature therefore first tries to flee from danger before deciding to defend itself. You can choose to flee yourself in situations that are unpleasant but not life-threatening. For example, an early, friendly farewell at a social event is a covert escape. In the case of a truly life-threatening danger, however, the escape is forced by the system. If no real escape is possible, a virtual escape can also be used. This happens when you are still physically present, but your thoughts are elsewhere, e.g. in daydreams.

4. the defense

If escape is impossible in the face of danger, the individual tries to defend themselves against the threat or to get it out of the way. This naturally costs a lot of energy and the risk of dying in the process is much greater than when fleeing. Defence is often interpreted as aggression because others do not recognize the danger perceived by the system and do not notice the individual’s underlying fear. As with flight, defense can also be observed in various gradations, ranging from verbal, self-chosen defense as a tactic to forced, unavoidable aggression in life-threatening situations.

5. the inhibition of action

If none of the previously listed actions are successful, this leads to the individual’s inability to act, to inhibition. His system is convinced that there is no possible solution and he gives up. In the animal world, we can observe this as “playing dead”. Most predators only catch live animals that are moving. If an animal plays dead, it is not perceived as prey by the predator. This saves the prey animal’s life. In humans, we speak of inhibition. If this situation lasts longer, changes to the body can also be observed, which are often referred to as disease. It is the system’s last attempt to find a solution to the problem by changing parts of itself. The behavior of inhibition becomes life-threatening when the individual remains in inhibition because he or she is convinced that there is no longer a solution. Experiments on mice have shown that if electric shocks are used to prevent the mouse from remembering the hopelessness, physical symptoms do not occur. So the important thing is not that a person acts, but that he acts because he is convinced that this action can be successful. Otherwise they will give up the search for a solution, and that is fatal.

Composition of the behavioral building blocks

In the composition of the behavior blocks, we see that the three lower blocks are linked together. This is intended to show the natural sequence in which the forms of behavior take place in nature when the individual is exposed to danger: first the attempt to flee, then the attempt to defend oneself against the danger or to clear it out of the way, and if all this is of no use, the abandonment of the action and waiting for better times. In modern trauma research (Peter Levin), it is assumed that post-traumatic symptoms can only arise if the action that could have prevented the trauma was not carried out. The solution is “frozen” so that it can be “thawed” again at a later opportunity. Only then would the information be permanently deleted from the system. A person’s behavior is the outward sign of their life strategy. It is possible for a single person to have developed several life strategies that they use in different life situations. In the case of severe traumatic experiences, it can even come to the point where the life strategies are understood and experienced as independent personalities, with their own, often contradictory physical characteristics and symptoms.


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