Those who are forced to resort to the third level of safety are typically those who develop PTSD. Despite going through a traumatic event, if an individual has a strong support system and can escape the event (i.e., they are not held or trapped against their will), there is a low chance of that individual developing PTSD.
Level 1: Social engagement.
This is the first thing we do when we feel threatened: we look to those around us for help, support and comfort.
Level 2: Fight-or-flight.
If no one comes to our aid, we will revert to the “fight-or-flight” response, wherein we either fight off our threat ourselves, or we run to a safe place.
Level 3: Freeze or collapse.
If we are unable to fight or flee, we will turn to our last resort for self-preservation: we will shut down and expend as little energy as possible.