Survival Behaviors

Survival BehaviorUnderlying Emotional IssuesExample
Lying/StealingValue Issues“What I learned in my birth family and through the system about how to behave is very different from how your family behaves.”
Hoarding foodControl, fear of dependency“I don’t know when I’ll eat again. There was never any food in my house.”
Isolation, distancingFear of trust/attachment“I don’t want to get close to other people. They’ll just hurt me.”
Defiance, testingNeed of control“I feel that my life is out of control.”
Hitting, aggressivenessAnger, communication“I’ll hurt you before you hurt me.”
Bossy, stubborn,
Overcompensation“I am not a child! I have been taking care of myself and my brothers and sisters for years. Don’t trust you can to take care of me.”
Inappropriate sexual behaviorSeeking love, attention“This is the only way that I know to get close.”
Identity issuesPoor sense of self-esteem“Because of my abuse/neglect, many moves, or believing I was given away, I feel like nobody.”
Anger/DepressionUnderlying tension that can’t be identified or described in words.“I’m afraid to get close to you. You may hurt me too.”
Separation/AnxietyEmotional or developmental delays.“You will leave me just like everyone else has.”