The D-cycle of Defeat represents the internal decision making process that occurs when a person is confronted by an unexpected stressful situation. The duration of this cycle may be either short or long term depending upon the individual. The longer the cycle lasts, the more likely that the outcome will be defeat.

Denial is the beginning step of the cycle. The person does not acknowledge the presence of an immediate threat. Delay is the 2nd step. The person is aware of the threat, but is unsure of how to respond. Do Nothing is the 3rd step. The person is frozen in inaction.

The three steps become a cycle when they form a self reinforcing pattern.

- It won’t happen to me
- It can’t happen to me
- It is not happening to me
- It is out of my control

While walking down the street one evening, you notice a person following behind you. You look straight ahead, and continue in the same direction.

- I need more time to act
- I need more information
to act
- I am too afraid of the
consequences to act

You are now acutely aware of the person behind you. You are unsure of the person’s intentions. Therefore, you continue walking, anxiously waiting to for what happens next.

Do Nothing
- I am unable to act
- I don’t know how to act
- It will not matter if I act
- It will make it worse
if I act
Suddenly, you feel a touch on your arm. Your heart skips a beat. Your vision narrows. Time seems to stop. Your feet feel like lead. You are too afraid to turn, too afraid to speak, and too afraid to run.



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