It's Not Selfish to Practice Self-Care After Verbal Abuse

December 21, 2023 Cheryl Wozny

Practicing self-care is not selfish. If you struggle with caring for your needs, you aren't alone. Individuals who are targets of verbal abuse often neglect themselves because they are hypervigilant about their abuser's behaviors. This increased alertness can cause extreme sensitivity to your environment, causing you to overreact in some situations. Living in this continuous state of fear and anxiousness drains you mentally and physically, creating a self-care deficit. It's important to learn that it's not selfish to practice self-care.

Verbal Abusers Try to Prevent Self-Care Because They Are Selfish

If you've experienced verbal abuse, you may recognize the overwhelming feelings of despair, fear, and low self-worth. Abusers will use their words and actions to reinforce these emotions, to keep you under their control. Finding ways to put yourself first and care for your needs can help you heal from verbal abuse

At one point in a past verbally abusive relationship, I started to gain some inner strength. I began to seek methods for healthy self-care, including private therapy, going to the gym, and forming relationships with people who were beneficial to my life.

Unfortunately, my abuser saw this independence as a threat and tried to forbid my involvement in these activities. Thankfully, I had a great support system in place that helped me break free from my abuser and move forward in my healing journey. My eyes opened to what life could be like as a healthy individual without verbal abuse. 

Therapy Helped Me Recognize Self-Care Isn't Selfish

Of course, I still had deep-rooted feelings of guilt and low self-worth years after escaping verbal abuse. Although I was no longer in a verbally abusive relationship, I didn't think I deserved to put myself first. I was raising children who needed me, and all my efforts went to them. 

Thankfully, the therapy I received helped me recognize that practicing self-care isn't selfish at all. I am not the best version of myself if I am overworked, exhausted, and mentally depleted. I am a better mother and wife when I take some time to focus on my physical and mental health. 

Some ways I incorporate self-care into my daily life are: 

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Eating well
  • Avoiding excessive alcohol
  • Participating in exercise
  • Journaling
  • Going to therapy regularly

It can sometimes be challenging to balance putting myself first, managing a work schedule, and caring for my family's needs. I am not perfect, and there are times when I still neglect myself. However, I am slowly finding the ideal balance that allows me to focus on my needs while managing my work and family life while knowing that it isn't selfish to practice self-care.

Putting your needs first isn't an easy task. It may take time to understand how much better you function when you make the time for self-care in your routine. In the end, we are all better people when we regularly care for our mental and physical needs. 

APA Reference
Wozny, C. (2023, December 21). It's Not Selfish to Practice Self-Care After Verbal Abuse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 20 from

Author: Cheryl Wozny

Cheryl Wozny is a freelance writer and published author of several books, including mental health resources for children titled, Why Is My Mommy So Sad? and Why is My Daddy So Sick? Writing has become her way of healing and helping others. Find Cheryl on TwitterInstagramFacebook, and her blog

Leave a reply