Dealing with Abuse Survivor Burnout

December 9, 2021 Cheryl Wozny

When you are trying to heal and recover from an abusive situation, one unfortunate circumstance that can result is survivor burnout. In my experience, it can sneak up without any warning and interfere with every aspect of life. 

What Is Survivor Burnout? 

Much like feeling burned out from working too hard at your job, survivor burnout is when the body is emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted from an extended stressful situation. Survivors of verbal abuse can use a lot of energy trying to function each day and deal with pressing anxiety trying to move forward. 

Some signs of burnout I have experienced on my healing journey include: 

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Feeling continuously overwhelmed 
  • Feeling that spending energy on myself or activities I like is a waste of time
  • Every day feels like a bad day 
  • Feeling unappreciated or unnecessary 
  • Lacking purpose 

Many of these symptoms can go hand in hand with depression and anxiety. I have noticed after years of therapy that I cannot put everything into a nice, neat box and put a label on it. Unfortunately, the lines between survivor burnout, depression, and anxiety can overlap and get blurry sometimes. 

How to Minimize Survivor Burnout

So, if you believe that you have reached the point of burnout, what do you do now? Tackling this heavy burden is no easy task. I still have situations where it sneaks up on me even though I have been on the path to healing for years. It can be a long process, but when you stick with it, the results are well worth the work you put in to better your mental health

Some key ways that can help you minimize survivor burnout include: 

  • Get enough rest. I have noticed that I am more apt to react to stressful situations without thinking when overtired. I ended many stressful days by going to bed early, only to find that I could face the problem better in the morning. 
  • Talk to someone. Letting my partner know my struggles helped us figure out how to get the professional help I needed to heal and function better.
  • Learn boundaries. I am slowly learning how to say no to things and not aim to please everyone or try to do everything on my own. 
  • Find a distraction or worthwhile activity. I dabble in cross-stitch, a needlepoint craft I gave up years ago. Once I started looking for something to calm my anxiety, I found myself going back to this delicate and time-consuming art. Only a few minutes can calm my nerves, and I have something productive at the end. 
  • Be kind to yourself. This element was extremely difficult for me. I am my hardest critic. I want to do everything and the best way possible. Unfortunately, I am still learning how to be kind to myself and realize I need a break from my own expectations. 

As you heal from abuse, burnout can happen again and again. The important thing to remember is that you can overcome it and continue on each day. Many resources are available to help you in your community, and virtually, so you do not have to face these hard days alone. 

APA Reference
Wozny, C. (2021, December 9). Dealing with Abuse Survivor Burnout , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 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

Struggling mom
July, 5 2024 at 11:23 pm

I survived 15 years of just about any abuse u can think of from my husband he almost killed me. Now im free but im suffering from the abuse from my 13 year old son. Ive reached out to everyone. Theres no community mental or behavior health available in my area. The juvenile officer says its my fault and i should control my child. The police say they cant do anything, thr hospitals nolonger will even admit him, the mental health facilities wont even take him no more because thry say its not helping,school isnt any help and they say the medication wont help and i think it actually is just making him worse. Hes tormenting me daily, he has destroyed every home, now we live at my moms who now wants us to leave because he tares everything up, he has the bedroom and i have to sleep in a hot garage, cant take another min of it.

March, 22 2024 at 8:55 am

I was badly abused as a child and I didn't receive therapy for all it caused until almost forty years later. Now, because I never addressed it, I have so many more hurdles to overcome on a daily basis. I'm doing well but I struggle with very challenging issues now. My counselor only sees me twice a month when I need so much more counseling. I feel burnt out at times and then I see that my issues are significant. I'm going to have to call my counseling center for more counseling or something.

March, 22 2024 at 7:09 pm

Hello, Dawn. I'm Cheryl Wozny, author of the Verbal Abuse in Relationships blog at HealthyPlace. Thank you for reaching out and sharing your struggles. Each healing journey is unique; improving the relationships in your life can take time and effort. I'm glad to hear that you are seeing a counselor currently. I understand the challenges of getting help and support that works with your timeline and healing goals. I encourage you to explore our Resources page here… for additional services that could be beneficial. Be well.

September, 16 2022 at 8:16 pm

I don’t know how to snap out of this exhaustion from abuse. I have experienced pretty severe torture. It’s like I’m not on the same consciousness wavelength even awake. My life has changed significantly for the worse. It’s like I’m not quite presently me. I have been isolated a long time.

September, 19 2022 at 12:08 pm

Hello Becca, I am Cheryl Wozny, the current author of the Verbal Abuse in Relationships blog. Thank you for reaching out about your situation. I can understand how you can lose yourself when there is abuse prevalent. I encourage you to check out our resources page… for hotlines and referral options in your area. Finding help and support is beneficial for healing, especially if you are isolated without help.

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