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.

439 thoughts on “Abuse – my understanding so far

  1. My level of what is abusive has changed, what was once normal is now seen as abusive. Even small behaviours, ways of communication with others if done in a non loving way is abusive.

  2. When we define abuse in gross terms we immediately create an acceptable norm that is anything other than these gross acts. If we see abuse as physical violence, forced sexual activity, theft, imprisonment and the like, we ‘give permission’ to apparent lesser forms of abuse by default. What we must come to realise though, is that abuse begins in small ways, with what we see as less impactful loveless acts towards both ourselves and others and that these gross manifestations are simply the more overt reflections of abuse. The fact is ‘abuse begins at home’, in our own choices to not be self-loving. When we address our own lack of self-love, then we will naturally address abuse too.

  3. There is so many subtle ways we can cause abuse to ourselves and others, a topic I explored yesterday with a friend. One of the suggestions was when we get out of sorts and start to react, it can be because a picture we have in our head, an image or story we have created isn’t coming to life like me might want it to. If we are creating a scenario of how things should be, what is it we are actually avoiding being in appreciation, acceptance and understanding of – that we want to create another reality?

  4. Actually you can describe not being love and living from there as abuse, as we come from love and anything lived less than that is not only abusive to our wellbeing but also to all others we are with. While maintaining an abusive behavior we actually are the examples and excuses for others to do the same and behave in the same loveless way as that is what we are showing to the world.

  5. ‘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’. Most definitely James, this feels totally true to me. Great blog.

  6. Not being honest with another about how you feel in any situation is abusive. This is something that I have clocked recently. Honesty is a first step to deepening our relationships with one another and if we are not choosing this everyday, then we are essentially abusing each other, for we know that there is more to our relationships. Otherwise they stay in a situation where they are empty and there is no growth, no love. If there is no love there is only abuse.

  7. To admit such would highlight to what extent we have not chosen to be Love, right down to the smallest details. I know I am a ways off this but it does help bring understanding to a current relationship where I feel a deeper level of abuse but they do not see it as abuse. It comes down to our own levels of responsibility which differs from each person.

  8. Such a great point about our level of commitment toward Love and how if depending on that will depend on the level we are willing to abuse another without responsibility. If we didn’t feel so entitled to blaming others for our choices, that we conveniently claim are not ours, we’d certainly be living with a whole greater level of respect for one another.

  9. The more love that is built in the body the more you are aware of what abuse is. What is not of this love is abuse.

  10. The way we interrupt the word “abuse” is so extreme these days: anything that is not extreme can be written off as not serious, I am so glad Universal Medicine is educating us all to raise the bar on how we treat others and ourselves.

  11. A well-informed summary of abuse – well written James. I would like to read more about abuse and unpick it bit by bit like James has. It’s something in this world that is rife and deeply entrenched in our relationships. As it has been concluded for now – abuse is anything that is not the energy of love. It makes a whole lot of sense to end abuse by committing to having a love-filled relationship with yourself.

  12. “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. “this is a huge statement James encompassing everything in life, i like the words ‘ misuse of energy, I too have lived a life of abuse with myself and others, the mere fact that I have not lived from the love I now know myself to be means that anything apart from that love has been abusive, thank you for a great sharing.

  13. James you bring up some great points here, abuse is abuse no matter what form it takes. We have come to categorise abuse and make out some abuse is unacceptable which allows other forms of abuse to be acceptable when the truth is No form of abuse is acceptable no matter how small it may be.

  14. I have recently come to understand that abuse can also mean different things for different people. It doesn’t mean it is always outwardly abusive in the way we’ve come to think of that word, but in essence if something does not come from the true love we are, then it is abusive to all around, and to ourselves.

  15. The etymology of words is always a great resource to use to understand what a word was meant to represent when it was first used. To contrast this with our current practices and understandings of it is always an interesting exercise that tells us how much we have walked away from what the word truly represented.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s