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Dutchess_III's avatar

What is that reflex that causes some people to be violent in the first second after they're awakened unexpectedly?

Asked by Dutchess_III (36138points) July 6th, 2014

Is it just a primitive instinct? Does every one do it? It’s just dangerous to wake me up, and the kids know it. It’s that first 2 seconds… is so reflexive, and it is nothing like me. I never struck out at my kids in anger….unless they wake me up. I literally can’t help it.

One time I had fallen asleep in front of the TV, which is something I almost never do. My beautiful, little five year old Corrie came down stairs to tell me someone was at the door…and I clocked her upside the head with the TV remote. :( Boy, did I feel bad about that.

When they were younger the TV room was right off of my bedroom. They’d get up and watch cartoons, and the volume would be on 2. Literally.

Well, I was awakened this morning by a calm voice trying to tell me something. I rolled over and looked up, and there was Chris, 6’4”, talking to me. Maybe my eyes narrowed for a split second, because he flinched and held up his hands and backed slowly away!

He wanted to know if I could watch Zoey today. After I woke up, of course. So I did.

Corrie said he was crazy. He should have poked me with a broom, at a safe distance, with an exit immediately available.

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15 Answers

dina_didi's avatar

I think it is normal to react when somebody wakes you up unexpectedly. In nature you should protect yourself from somebody who wanted to attack you and this is the way you are protecting yourself when you are not conscious. Does that happen when the alarm clock is ringing?

Dutchess_III's avatar

No, it doesn’t happen when my alarm goes off, but I’m expecting that. I have a good sense of time and often wake up just before it goes off.

dina_didi's avatar

I think a good way for others to wake you up is to set an alarm clock to ring. In this way they will not have any problem and you will not worry about being violent to them. I hope this will help!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, I’d have a problem with an alarm clock ringing unexpectedly! But people don’t have to wake me up very often so it’s all good.

GloPro's avatar

I would ram you from across the room with a remote control toy plane.

You might remember I’m a sleepwalker. I went to bed the other night and woke up wearing most of my jewelry. Necklaces, bracelets, the works. So maybe when you lash out you aren’t awake and reacting unconsciously. Stranger things have happened. It’s good that you, and the fam, know this about you.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s wierd @GloPro! The remote plane would probably be a good idea. By the time I got to you I’d just be cranky, but not violent any more.

Kids used to put my cell phone on my pillow, then go to the neighbors to call me!

GloPro's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yeah, plus it would be fun for the twins. They could sit across the room and laugh and laugh. Revenge for all of the times you landed that airplane spoon in their mouths.

filmfann's avatar

Fight or flight?

jerv's avatar

The shock of going from a dream to reality can be a perceived threat. As you cannot run, you will fight until your mind kicks in and consciously becomes aware of your surroundings. That often takes a few seconds.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It seems to happen the worst if I have just drifted off to sleep. One night, years ago, I was sick and I took some antihistamines to help me sleep. I had to work the next day. It was summer time (man I hated summertime!) and the kids didn’t have school or anything the next day. So I went to bed and had just fallen asleep when Chris, who was about 15, busted the bed room door open and yelled, “CAN I GO TO WALMART WITH CORRIE TO GET SOME TAMPONS?????” I came unglued…. :(

snowberry's avatar

It’s a sleep disorder. There are specialists who specialize in such things. You could call a sleep clinic to find out more.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

My reflex is from experience of being awakened by an intruder with a baseball bat to my skull. Do not, I repeat, do not awaken me without first knocking on my locked door and stating both of our names. You will be severely punished, in a permanently hurtful kind of way. A number of my friends have learned this the hard way.

johnpowell's avatar

My first instinct is to say yes to everything. One time my sister borrowed 900 bucks when I was between sleep and awake. I keep cash in empty cigarette packs taped under my desk. I mumbled something like cash under desk sleep and passed back out.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s not causing any kind of problem, @snowberry. It’s only happened for real about 3 times in my life. The other morning was not one of those times. Chris was just ready in case it was!

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