In a novel I am writing, one of the characters wishes to express her change in feelings towards another.

“I’m not asking for her sake, but for ours,” I say honestly. A few days ago, I cared about what happened to her. I almost viewed her as an ally, so my concern wasn’t merely __________. But, I have no sentiment for her anymore.

So, I would like a word that means could fill in the blank. Something that means survival-based, or for one's own survival, (sorry for my poor expression here). I'm near positive there is a word for this; I've heard it before. But, right now, the only word I think of is pathological, which means obsessive/compulsive, and that is not the word I need. One-look's reverse dictionary bore no results. If anyone could assist that would be great?

  • "selfish" seems pretty obvious. Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 11:52
  • @MaxWilliams Or, less pejorative, self-interest[ed].
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 12:34

1 Answer 1


You might go with self-preservation:

The protection of oneself from harm (Oxford Dictionaries)

This fits in your blank as follows:

I almost viewed her as an ally, so my concern wasn’t merely self-preservation.

It seems to meet your desiderata of something "survival-based" and "for one's own survival."

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