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Survivor self-care


Self-care for survivors

"Self-care" means looking after yourself. It means treating yourself as person who deserves care. 

Caring for yourself is often challenging for people who experienced child abuse or childhood trauma. That’s because you were harmed by another person. Sometimes it was done on purpose. Other times it happened because that person had their own issues which stopped them caring for you.

When an adult neglects, hits, insults, abuses or ignores a child, the child comes to understanding that they aren’t worth much. Often this happens time and again. This often means that the child grows up believing that they don’t deserve to be loved or cared for – that they are unlovable or worthless. So does the adult, who that child, becomes.

Learning to care for yourself if you are survivor, means seeing yourself in a new way. It means seeing yourself as a person who deserves to feel comfortable, safe and worthwhile.

You don’t have to do anything complicated to care for yourself. It can be very simple things, every day, if you can.  It’s good to try to do one or two caring things for yourself each day.

It can be a good idea to have some things for you to do in the moment (e.g. when you are faced with challenges), each day as an ongoing practise and things that will improve your wellbeing in the long term. This can become a toolkit that helps you become stronger and more able to manage life’s challenges.  For example you might have a range of different in the moment strategies that help you feel settled when faced with difficult situations. On top of this you might do some things each day that help to nurture you (e.g. spending time with your pet, making time for friends whose company you enjoy, listening to some of your favourite music.  Then the long term goal might be to develop a skill that is interesting to you (maybe woodwork, an art class, learning to surf etc.) or focussing on your health (e.g. learning to cook meals that nurture you, doing an activity that keeps you fit) or working on a project that builds on your future.

Strategies which help you care for yourself can stop you being overwhelmed by strong emotions. They can help ground you and help you regain control over difficult emotions, such as anger, shame or distress. They can help stop you reacting and spiralling out of control.


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Health Direct


Head to Health


“Blue Knot Foundation has a key role to play in the building of community capacity in care provision to those who have experienced childhood abuse and trauma in any environment.”

NIALL MULLIGAN Manager, Lifeline Northern Rivers

“I think Blue Knot Foundation is a fantastic support organisation for people who have experienced childhood trauma/abuse, for their families/close friends and for professionals who would like to learn how to more effectively work with these people.”

Psychologist Melbourne

“It's such a beautiful thing that you are doing. Helping people to get through this.”


“It was only last September when I discovered the Blue Knot Foundation website and I will never forget the feeling of support and empathy that I received when I finally made the first phone call to Blue Knot Helpline, which was also the first time I had ever spoken about my abuse.”


"At last there is some sound education and empathetic support for individuals and partners impacted by such gross boundary violations.”


Contact Us

Phone: 02 8920 3611
PO Box 597 Milsons Point NSW 1565
Hours: Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm AEST

Blue Knot Helpline
Phone: 1300 657 380
Hours: Mon-Sun, 9am-5pm AEST

For media comment, please contact:
Dr Cathy Kezelman
+61 425 812 197
+61 2 8920 3611

For media enquiries, please contact: 
Jackie Hanafie
+61 3 9005 7353
+61 412 652 439


The information and resources on this site are provided for general education and as information and/or a guide only. They do not replace, and should not be used as a substitute for, counselling, therapy or other services, and should at no time be regarded or treated as professional advice of any kind. Personal needs and circumstances should always be carefully and thoroughly considered to determine the optimal approach in each individual case.