Selfish - Emerge

Unselfish Self-Care as an
Engagement Strategy and an
Accountability Process at Emerge
Ted German, Ph.D.
Emerge Director of Training
Definition of Unselfish Self-Care
Abusers take specific steps to improve their life:
 so that they can be more respectful partners.
 so that they can be responsible ex-partners.
 so that they can improve their parenting skills.
 so that they can have a more meaningful,
productive and happy lives in terms of their
relationships and self-development.
Examples of Selfish Self-Care
“I need to go to the gym every night
regardless of whether or not this is unfair
to my partner.”
 “I am not willing to negotiate about when
and how often I go to AA meetings.”
 “When we have conflict I need to ‘take
space’ by leaving the situation despite the
fact that I am being controlling and
Effects of Selfish Self-Care
Abusers may deliberately exaggerate their
poor mental or physical condition as a
manipulation tactic to convince the
victim/survivor to take them back.
 Abusers may make emotional or physical
demands on partners that have a negative
impacts on their lives.
Talking About Unselfish Self-Care at
We routinely ask clients questions about health
status: last doctor visit, dental visit, and we solicit
group feedback.
 We ask clients about their employment status and
solicit group support and advice about concrete steps
the client can take to improve their situation i.e. job
training, choosing a trade, getting more education.
 Group leaders notice clients who appear to be
particularly stressed, depressed, anxious, and/or
troubled, and invite group members to offer concrete
support to those clients.
 We include unselfish self-care as part of our formal
long-term goal setting process that occurs roughly
half way through the program.
Unselfish Self-Care and Engagement
We’re not just talking about abuse.
 We’re showing that we care about the
client as a whole person.
 Group members giving each other
support and advice on self-care creates
positive bonds.
◦ Feedback relating to accountability for abuse
becomes easier to take.
How Is Unselfish Self-Care Part of
an Accountability Process to
When the abuser takes realistic steps to
take care of himself, he is less likely to
pressure his partner to take care of him.
 When an abuser takes immediate realistic
steps to improve his life, he is in a better
position to respond to the needs of his
partner, ex-partner and children.
Self-Care Improves Accountability
Abusers who have substance abuse or
mental health problems need treatment
for these issues in order to constructively
participate in the abuser program.
 Change is difficult. When abusers take
better care of themselves, they are more
likely to have a positive, constructive
attitude towards dealing with the
consequences of their abusive behavior.

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