Abuse – my understanding so far

by James Nicholson BNat, Somerset, England

The origins of the word abuse come from the Latin abus – ‘misused’; from the verb abuti, from ab – ‘away’ (i.e. ‘wrongly’) + uti ‘to use’. Yet we see that the law defines abuse as ‘the mental or physical mistreatment of a person, frequently resulting in serious emotional, mental, physical, and/or sexual injury’. In my mind, when I think of abuse I used to think of it as domestic violence – a man beating his wife; or sexual abuse, with the extreme connotations that I had been conditioned to think of it.

So what is it that we define abuse to be? Surely it should not only be any extreme action, and how can we define ‘serious’? Words and their meanings, over time, get changed to suit what we en-masse would like them to mean or define. Could it be possible that abuse, or being abusive towards another or ourselves, is simply any act, gesture, thought etc. that is not coming from and with love. From the Latin where the word takes its origins it could be expanded to be a mis-use of energy.

If we were to take this definition as being a possibility, then it would and does expose the level of abuse I have been with myself and with others. I could then say all my relationships, including friendships, have been abusive. Yet this level or form of abuse as a whole we put down to being ok, normal and an acceptable part of life… at least I certainly did.

The problem we here come to is that levels of abuse in relationships are seen as ok. We have graded abuse and put it into categories, we use excuses for it. Since when was it acceptable to treat a partner or family member any differently to someone else simply because it is behind closed doors? Since when is it ok to vent all your anger and frustration that you have, un-dealt with, towards those closest to you? Is it because you know you will get away with it … but still why on earth would you want to treat those closest to you, those that you hold dearest to you, at times with such distaste and utter contempt? I know my mum over the years has copped a lot from me.

What causes us to be abusive? Could it be that one of the causes of our abusive tendencies can be simply expressed as ‘a reaction to our unexpressed thoughts and emotions that we would have liked life or situations to be, being expressed at a later date’ – so it is like a venting, a coping mechanism. Whether it be getting really annoyed during a conversation, and not really saying what you felt to say, then leaving the room and slamming the door. With the resulting displacement of energy sending shudders through yours, and whoever else’s body that is nearby.

There are countless examples of what I would now call abuse which prior to my involvement with Universal Medicine I would have seen as an acceptable norm. For me anything that does not come with love is abuse. Any hidden agenda, form of control, any remark or action that is not loving, is abusive. Why do we allow it to go to more extreme forms of abuse before we do anything about it? What is it that allows us to let ourselves and others get away with it?

Whilst I am not here trying to present any answers, simply possibilities, could it be that underneath it all we have not committed to love, and nothing but love, as our foundation, our basis of life. If we were to, then surely anything that is not love will stand out like a sore thumb.

484 thoughts on “Abuse – my understanding so far

  1. Could it be that we have not committed to love – this is true for me. I was oblivious to how energies play out and that there was a choice to be made. I allowed whatever came through me to act it out as my ‘personality’ or ‘temperament’ and claimed that there was nothing I could do and it was others’/circumstance’s fault that I would be that way. And I am aware if I am not consciously choosing love, I would still let it slip and allow abuse. It is a relationship that needs to be built consistently and diligently, and it is a commitment.

  2. It is easy to see the abusive behaviours that are glaringly obvious, but not see the small steps of abuse that lead up to the extreme behaviour. As we start to bring self love and self care into our lives, our understanding of abuse expands to the point where we realise that anything that does not come from love is abusive.

  3. This brings to light the total responsibility we all hold in the way we are with ourselves and to heal our hurts, as from this point the way we relate to others and the world is determined and magnified. As the fact is that our bodies are moved by the quality we are aligning to, the quality we allow to move us. And if it is not love, it is loveless, which is abusive to who we are in essence.

  4. On another note, while reading this so many relationships and interactions came to mind and how I can clearly see they are abusive…. yet I sat here feeling thirsty and needing to use the washroom. As it is said ‘same same’ just different… or less severity but still abuse.

  5. I could have written something about every line you wrote James, powerful stuff! This though stood out the most for me because it is such a sneaky form of abuse, “Any hidden agenda, form of control, any remark or action that is not loving, is abusive.” that is often overlooked and masked sometimes as ‘caring’ and being dutiful.

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