What does it mean and what is the behaviour of someone who is in self preservation after a breakup?

Each individual is different. No matter what the trauma, survival instincts click in to protect our thought patterns. It's a type of grieving and there are different stages of self preservation. No matter if the person is aggressive and loud by nature or quiet and introverted, each has a similar anger deep within them and, they may act out in different ways. The aggressive person (male) may get into fights, try drugs, drink more, or vanish for a while, while the female can, at times display physical aggressiveness by hitting, slapping, scratching, shouting, etc., and also, by using the opposite sex. Some women may even sleep around more not realizing they are actually trying to hurt the one person that hurt them, but in the process they are hurting the men they have chosen to have a quick relationship with. Males as well can flit around with many women without caring for their feelings, but not really aware of the reasons behind it all. The healthy way is to "go with the flow." First the tears, perhaps some depression or a feeling of "out of body" (not fitting into the environment around you), then anger and once the anger hits, then the healing starts. Many people can go through this process on their own, but, if they are depressed too long, blame themselves, turn to alcohol or drugs or act out by sleeping around and not caring about themselves (picking up diseases through sexual intercourse) or caring about those partners that are good to them, then it's time to seek out a good psychologist and learn coping tools. Sometimes, for some individuals coping methods are throwing themselves into their work, hobbies or general denial. Others may throw themselves into physical exercise (adrenalin rushes) and some may just become extremely introverted and shrink from society in general which leads to poor self esteem, a decline in work habits (whether school or working for an employer) and it just goes down-hill from there. There is no real wrong way to cope, but, if a particular individual realizes that they are depressed, can't sleep, are agitated, angry all the time and it's ruling their lives, then they must be mature enough to accept help through counseling. Sometimes it doesn't hurt any of us to get a "lube and oil" (as I call it) and find out if we are standing on solid ground no matter what the problem. Marcy