Practicing Self-Care In Verbally Abusive Relationships

June 24, 2020 Megan Lane

Sometimes, practicing self-care in a verbally abusive relationship is the only thing you can do. While it's easy for friends and family members to tell verbal abuse victims to "just leave," the act of leaving a verbally abusive relationship isn't quite as easy. People who are observing our situation from the outside in aren't capable of understanding the complexities of our partnerships. There are so many factors that weigh in: children, fear, finances, lacking confidence, believing no one will love us again, our broken-down mindset, and so much more. These factors can make leaving our abuser much more difficult. That's why self-care in an abusive relationship is a must.

After the first time my boyfriend verbally abused me, I vowed over and over that I would leave him if he abused me again. Maybe I'm not as strong as I thought -- he verbally abused me twice in the past two weeks while he was experiencing hypomania, and guess what? I didn't leave. The truth is, I feel bad for him and ultimately, I feel bad for myself -- our relationship is becoming unhealthy because of the sporadic verbal abuse and codependency. 

When you are in a verbally abusive relationship and you can't leave or you're choosing to stay, you need to take care of yourself.

Why Is Self-Care Important in an Abusive Relationship?

In verbally and emotionally abusive relationships, we become so conditioned to think only of our abuser's actions, words, feelings, and behaviors. It doesn't matter if our partner is being kind or abusive -- our thoughts are centered on how our partner is acting, and how long the kindness or abuse will last. 

This is where self-care in an abusive relationship comes in. When we practice self-care, our attention is focused inwards, on ourselves, rather than on our verbally abusive partners. I have been using self-care techniques for the past two weeks and it's a nice change of pace. 

I deserve to feel loved and appreciated and so do you. When our partner isn't meeting our basic needs, and feeling loved and appreciated is a basic need, we can shift our focus and begin loving and appreciating ourselves instead. As we begin loving who we are, we become better prepared to leave our abuser once and for all.

Different Forms of Self-Care

Everyone is different. The kind of self-care I practice might not be something you're interested in. With that said, I want to cover several forms of self-care so that you have some options you can choose from.

I'm not sure where my relationship is heading. Is anyone else struggling with leaving their verbally abusive partner? Do you practice self-care on a daily basis? Let me know how you take care of you in the comment section. 

APA Reference
Lane, M. (2020, June 24). Practicing Self-Care In Verbally Abusive Relationships, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, February 20 from

Author: Megan Lane

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April, 7 2021 at 3:44 pm

Mine is an abusive friendship that mirrors my mother’s treatment of me. It’s been crap, as a primary relationship, but I find myself suffering irrational guilt and overstepping my own boundaries to, somehow, maintain it. I want out. And, I withdraw, when things hit rock bottom, but then, after awhile, let their fake positivity/sense of loss, draw me back in. Help.

April, 8 2021 at 11:43 am

Hello Michelle, I am Cheryl Wozny, the current author of the Verbal Abuse in Relationships blog here on HealthyPlace. Thank you for reaching out. I am sorry to hear that you are facing the effects of verbal abuse regularly. I want to let you know that recognizing these harmful actions is one of the first things you can do as a positive step in the right direction for your own mental health.
I applaud you for trying to remove yourself from this toxic environment. It is not an easy process, and many people will try multiple times before they are able to break free from verbal abuse. Please look inside yourself and realize that you are worthy of a positive and loving relationship in every aspect of your life. If a friendship is causing you mental suffering, removing yourself is the best option.
My advice to you is once you withdraw from this person, seek out more positive friendships and connections so that you will not be drawn back into their circle. There are many local resources that can provide counselling and help to get you through these difficult times. Please visit our Hotline and Referral Resource page here:… for an organization that can give you support when you need it most.
I wish you the best of luck on your healing journey.

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