Understanding The 5 Human Stress Responses Can Help Us Create Powerful Relationships

By Alistair Horscroft, The Mind Academy

In short there are two relationships that we ‘need to master’ in life:

1) Our relationship with our self
2) Our relationship with others

Virginia Satir, one of the original models of excellence that Bandler and Grinder modelled at the start of NLP was a world renowned family therapist who observed that there where 5 ‘stress responses’ that people default to in ‘stressful’ situations and they directly impact on the quality of their relationships with self and other.

As you make your way through the 5 types, honestly evaluate which one you might be when stress occurs. You will also most likely notice the stress responder type in your significant other, family, friends and work colleagues.

The 5 Stress Responses:

1. The Placater

The Placater is first of all concerned about how they will be perceived. Their center of attention is on themselves and particularly on how others see them. Their response to stress is largely to avoid it or to subjugate themselves to a more dominant energy. When confronted with ‘uncomfortable truths or realities’ they will generally try to avoid talking about them, often go to extraordinary lengths to avoid any such confrontation and ‘placate’ the other in any way possible to get back to the status Quo. The placater feels nothing without the agreement, support and energy of another.

The Body Language of a Placater is: Subjugated, often with palms up in defense.
The Underlying Need For a Placater is: To Feel Worthy


2. The Blamer

The Blamer, blames. When stressed they disagree, they try to assert their rightness and often resort to high emotion, raised voice or shouting and can even go as far as bullying. In reality when things are not going right or their way they feel powerless and uncared-for. They often feel all alone in the world and that nobody will ever do anything for them. When they feel stressed, their feelings of isolation increase further. As a result, they compensate by trying to take charge, bluffing and hiding their alone-ness in attempted leadership.

The Body Language of a Blamer is: Pointing the finger, assertive and overbearing.
The underlying need for a blamer is: To Feel Successful


3. The Computer

The Computer feels exposed when showing emotions and seeks to avoid emotions and emotional conflict. When faced with stress, the Computer resorts to logic, becoming super-rational and ultra reasonable. They work very hard to keep up the appearance of being super-cool on the outside inspire of often feeling great discomfort on the inside. The computer dissociates from their feelings and hides behind intellectual and rationality.

The Body Language of a Computer is: Cool, calm and collected often with a hand to the face in a thinking pose.
The Underlying need of a Computer is: To Be Vulnerable


4. The Distracter

The Distracters mind become easily overwhelmed and confused by stressful situations. In words they make little sense and their body language is uncomfortable and unnatural. Instead of taking some positive action, they grasp at straws, as there mind is easily confused and unfocused. They respond to the stress by becoming more confused and can talk and act erratically. In some cases they might even shift between the three previous types of Placater, Blamer and Computer in an attempt to find some respite and be left alone.

The Body Language of a Distractor is: Out there, angular, awkward
The Underlying need for the Distractor is: To Fit In and Be Accepted


5. The Leveller

The leveller has done enough work on themselves or has been brought up with enough emotional and inner needs being met that they are able to see stress as normal and respond to it in a balanced pro active way. Satir observed that they are comfortable with ambiguous and uncertain situations and even engage with threats rather than fighting them or running away. Levellers ‘tell it as it is’, without exaggerating or minimizing the situation. They are comfortable with their own feelings and are able to discuss them.

Becoming The Leveller…

So now that you know the 5 stress responder types, the work is to become the Leveller. To do this we need to fulfill the needs of the 4 others within ourselves and understand that when another person is reacting the way they are it is because the situation has struck a ‘lack’ within them that they attempt to deal with by taking one of the 4 positions.

The bottom line, however, is that people are always trying to meet deeper more empowering needs through their behaviors but often simply do not have the skills or awareness to do so. When we realise the need we can work on meeting it more successfully and fully within and if inclined help others to do so for themselves.

By doing this we start to master both our inner relationship with own self and our outer relationships with others.

Soul Sessions salutes Alistair Horscroft, The Rogue Guru,
and the proud owner of The Mind Academy

When and where will we meet again?
Fresh soul here online (almost) daily ~ A Grand Love Story Blog
April 10, Sydney? In person at next live Soul Session ~ Sex, Love & Domestic Bliss (or lack thereof)
Any time day or night? Soul Sessions Facebook page

LeeUnderstanding The 5 Human Stress Responses Can Help Us Create Powerful Relationships

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