When someone has suffered any kind of rape or abuse it can affect their behaviour. There are very good reasons for a survivor to behave in certain ways.
There will always be some thoughts or feelings behind our behaviour:
- Fear that the ‘secret’ might slip out
- Thoughts that others may reject them
- Fear of being questioned
- A feeling that they cannot trust anybody
- Trying to control anxiety or exposure to triggers
- Trying to block out memories
- Trying to ‘keep the box shut’ by distracting themselves
- Fear of seeing the abuser somewhere
- Fear of having an anxiety attack in front of others
In order to change your behaviours, you will need to believe it is important enough to make that change and have confidence in your ability to make the change. Identifying the thoughts and feelings behind the behaviour will help us to understand and work on your reactions as a whole. Some of these thoughts and feelings can help survivors to cope and to process what has happened safely. Others may cause the survivor further distress or be harmful.
You could try writing down some of the behaviours that you find yourself doing. Ask yourself what the reasons behind those behaviours are and try to think about how they are making you feel in the short and long-term.