Aftermath of Toxic Relationships: Why You Feel ‘Selfish’ For Being Good to Yourself?

Aftermath of Toxic Relationships: Why You Feel ‘Selfish’ For Being Good to Yourself? aftermath of toxic relationships: why you feel ‘selfish’ for being good to yourself?
Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Have you found yourself almost feeling…guilty for simply taking care of your own needs after leaving that toxic relationship? Like you want to look for a better job, go back to school, seek therapy — do normal human things — but somewhere deep down it feels “selfish”?

You might even hesitate to do little things that make you happy, whether it’s picking up a new hobby, making positive or meaningful friendships, or just having quiet moments of self-care. It’s like your mind is constantly screaming to you something like: “Who are you to take care of yourself like that after the mess you came from?” or “How selfish of you to be happy when other people like your mom, family or ex-partner are suffering?”

If these absurd guilty feelings have been creeping up on you, you’re so not alone. It’s a sickeningly common side-effect of life when you’ve been stuck in a toxic relationship or family for a long time.

The Deeply Ingrained Belief Undermining Your Worth

At the core of this struggle is a persistent, deeply ingrained belief that was beaten into you: that you don’t actually deserve to feel good or tend to your own needs. Your toxic ex’s or your family’s constant devaluing, belittling, and emotional abuse embedded that cruel premise on a subconscious level.

So now, even though you’re free from that misery pit, that internalized script is still playing loudly in your mind’s basement. It’s that looping record that keeps telling you that you’ll be punished for “selfishly” practicing basic self-care — because for so long, putting yourself first was the ultimate sin in that distorted reality you got stuck in.*et9czc*_ga*MTkxNjcxMDU2NC4xNjg1MDA1MjYw*_ga_6LJN6D94N6*MTY5ODczNDU3OC4yMjQuMC4xNjk4NzM0NTc4LjAuMC4w

The thing is, our beliefs extremely powerful in shaping our present behaviour and circumstances, even when they’re rooted in utter delusions. That’s how impactful and real emotional abuse can be — it rewires our psyches to mistreat and deprive ourselves of the basic things in lives which ends up perpetuating the very oppression we escaped. It’s more like you leave a toxic environment only to find yourself or your belief system being the toxic environment.

The Power of Those Beliefs in Limiting Your Growth

And as ridiculous as it feels to think “I’m selfish for trying to be well” — that subconscious fear can truly hold you back from progressing and growing into your potential post even after leaving that toxic environment. You might subconsciously self-sabotage:

· Avoiding going after career goals you’re worthy of

· Feeling afraid to outshine or prioritize your needs in relationships

· Struggling to receive acts of kindness, praise or love

· Self-destructive thoughts enforcing you “don’t deserve” happiness

· Avoid any kind of therapy because if you work on yourself, you will be happy and freer, and that will sound very selfish so you prefer the suffering.

All these because that internalized programming is still running the show, keeping you small and you end up denying yourself a wonderful like much like what your toxic ex or your dysfunctional family did to you. A broken inner belief system now makes it seem like you’re being mistreated by proxy, but the one unconsciously doing the mistreating is not anyone else but yourself.

Challenge Those Ridiculous Beliefs — Self-Love Isn’t Selfish!

Here’s the beautiful truth though: Not only are you absolutely deserving of being good to yourself, but practicing radical self-care, boundary-setting and pursuing your dreams is actually the highest form of recovery after abuse.

By challenging the absurdity of those negative and oppressive beliefs that your mind is feeding you, you’re slowly overriding them and giving yourself a chance to lead a happy life.

Does it really feel uncomfortable, even selfish initially? Of course — you’re unlearning patterns entrenched by years of conditioning. But keep pushing through those growing pains. Over time, actively taking care of yourself will feel as natural as breathing again.

Because at the end of the day, what is more generous and unselfish than finally allowing yourself to exist as your authentic, joyous self? To thrive as you were always meant to before someone’s darkness obstructed your path?

You being free, alive and in alignment with your spirit’s spark is the greatest gift to this world and those around you. How you love and care for yourself is how you’ll teach others they’re allowed to as well. You may feel selfish at first but keep at it — it’s a better kind of selfishness than selfishly ignoring yourself and giving others the leeway to exploit you.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns, then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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