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.