I feel like there is a word for this, but I cannot think of what it might be?

For example: let's say you know someone who is constantly in trouble with the law. They're very naive, foolish, and self-destructive. They associate with some other very unsavory types of people and you wonder what else might be going on with them. You've put up with their nonsense and have enabled them long enough. No matter how much they've hurt you and no matter how much it kills you to see them throwing their life away, you reluctantly decide that it is time to part ways with them and save yourself instead, as they apparently will do nothing to help themselves. You are concerned with how continuing to have a relationship with this person will affect your life; your security, safety, peace of mind, and freedom.

"I'm torn between my feelings for you and my _______"...

3 Answers 3


Your sense of self-preservation.

Protection of oneself from harm or destruction.
from TheFreeDictionary.com


Well being. This encompasses health, peace of mind etc

how well a person's life goes for the person who lives it. 



The word selfish has this meaning, but selfish describes two very different concepts, and English is one of the only languages in the world that doesn't have separate words for them: Doing something that is beneficial to yourself. Doing something with no regard for its consequences to others, or that is deliberately detrimental to others. One meaning connotes malevolence, and the other does not. There really should be two different words for these two different ideas, and in many languages there are, but not in English.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.