I have encountered this syndrome my whole life and before living my life in truth, I actively participated in this practice. The turtle syndrome is the act of clumsily moving through life, unexpectedly striking out at someone around you then quickly withdrawing to avoid the backlash of your actions. You could also call this "lack of accountability for your own actions."
Right now, a few friends and I are having to deal with someone who invoked "the turtle syndrome." The challenge in dealing with this is that, unless your friends are enlightened and aware of this behaviour, they allow themselves to become victims to this behaviour. The victims feed the energy behind this action and even if the strike was not meant for them, they put themselves posthumously in the way of the strike. It's a very interesting situation to watch.
In other words, people make themselves victims of another's actions even when they were not initially involved. The big question of course is why? Why do people do that?
The answer is very easy: the drama feeds their existence. I say this with all the love in my heart for everyone. Some people (I used to be one of them so I speak from experience) invoke drama as a way to know they are alive and they exist. They engage in the drama to get some attention, any attention from someone outside of themselves. Everyone does it or has done it in their lives at some point so let's be careful lest we point fingers.
Why do people invoke the "turtle syndrome" in the first place? Ever heard of the expression "hurting people hurt people?" That's the reason. When life is peaceful and moving along nicely, you don't have the time, the energy or the desire to engage in drama. If you are hurting, you want someone to help you and because we are a society where asking for help appears to be a weakness, we lash out and hurt others instead. We mirror externally how we are feeling internally. Unfortunately, because many of us are driven by fear and lack confidence, we automatically assume this is about us, we take it personally and become wounded. The truth of course, is that the person who invoked the "turtle syndrome" is asking for help. Unless they choose someone who is aware and seeing the truth of the situation, they get retaliation instead of help.
What's the solution to the "turtle syndrome?" It's easy but it's difficult. If you are hurting, ask for help. It's amazing the amount of support you will get. Don't buy into the belief asking for help is a weakness. It takes a stronger person to admit they need help rather than dealing with it on their own. That's the definition for insanity. For those individuals who feel like a victim of "turtle syndrome," understand that it's not about you. It's about the turtle and that they are asking for help. Take yourself out of the drama and ask the obvious questions...what's wrong, how are you hurting and what do you need help with?
You would be surprised how quickly the turtle goes away and how much the other person will appreciate the compassion. Of course, most people will get angry and deny anything is wrong and that's a choice they make but I find most people do eventually admit they are hurting and need help. It's quite magical.
Remember, the human condition has many layers to it. The "turtle syndrome" is only one but in every layer, it's always about the individual and not the person on the receiving end. If we can all understand that, the world would be a much more peaceful place to be.