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.

524 thoughts on “Abuse – my understanding so far

  1. I have a similar definition of abuse to what James shared in this article, basically that anything that is not based on, or coming from love is a form of abuse, ‘ abuse, or being abusive towards another or ourselves, is simply any act, gesture, thought etc. that is not coming from and with love.’

  2. When we buy into that is just the way they are, and we just accept it, what are we doing? How can we make conditions to accept abuse from some but not others? Is accepting abuse in our life, especially when it is conditional, the same a smoking… where we are choosing something that will shorten this life?

  3. We can poison ourselves with our thoughts as much as we can poison ourselves with what we choose to put into our body. When we use the word ‘poison’ it shows us clearly that it is abuse.

  4. We use abuse in so many ways to get our own way, to make other people feel inferior so the abuser can feel better about themselves. So many people are dissatisfied with their life because it hasn’t turned out the way they expected or wanted and I have a feeling that rather than take responsibility for the choices made they blame other people, friends, family, work colleagues or work. Anything to avoid the responsibility that they are living the consequences of ill choices.

  5. I like the title “Abuse – my understanding so far” – if we wanted to understand the ‘ab’ bit deeper, we need the ‘use’ bit to be defined as a livingness to be able to know what does not sit within that definition. What would be the right use of our body, our will? – Which is basically about moving according to The Divine Plan and that in itself is a process of forever expansion.

  6. When we broaden the definition of abuse as “a mis-use of energy” and anything that is not love, we really open up the topic. Bringing it to a quality of energy we feel everyday and whether we are, or are not connected to our soul, is a much clearer definition for me to explore.

  7. Abuse can come in many forms and what I would call abuse today I would have found acceptable yesterday, without batting an eyelid. This tells me that it pays to re-define what abuse is and the more you love yourself the definition of what is abuse changes.

    1. Sensitivity to and awareness of our body really supports this, as many things can bring a feeling of harm to ourselves on more subtle levels, but without awareness of ourselves we may not feel it.

  8. James is it also possible that abuse is anything that keeps us away from our Soul? Or “misuse” of who we are to keep us “away” from our most divine connection? So as you have shared anything less than Love is abusive. Our essences being that Soul-full place of the love we innately all are!

    1. Thanks for you comment Greg, it’s a great expansion of the topic of abuse being “what keeps us away from our Soul? Or “misuse” of who we are to keep us “away” from our most divine connection?” It brings a tremendous responsibility with the depth of care we can bring to ourselves and others.

      1. How important is it to have a True understanding of what words mean and not only temporary, as they all originally were felt energetically, seeing everything is energy. We have all been taught to shut down our True feeling and replace them with emotional feeling and thus we feel we are those emotions, good and bad. So when we look at abusive behaviours it sticks out like a sore thumb. We are not our emotions, thus living a deeply-appreciative life that is full of Joy sheds a huge light on the small candle that the fleeting emotional flame brings.

  9. There are so many things we do in daily life that are abusive – towards ourselves & towards others. We often don’t even think about the fact that we are abusing ourselves with food and drinks, with our interactions and the thoughts in our heads – our stance can be abusive to our body if we have slouched in our chair or inverted our shoulders. All of that is abusive, right to the smallest detail, yet, we look at the extremes and shake our heads, instead of looking at our lives and seeing the abuse that’s there…

      1. A lot of friendships and family relations which are abusive are considered loving…

    1. We may not clock that we are being abusive, maybe our standards have fallen so low, and then we think it is a ‘normal’ behaviour, ‘when is it ok to vent all your anger and frustration that you have, un-dealt with, towards those closest to you?’

  10. Thank you for the root meaning of abuse. When I look at the words ‘away’ and ‘to use’ it reminds me of a more subtle but true use of the word abuse. When I am away from myself, use my energy or body in any way that is away from my essence then that is abuse. This not only affects me but everyone else.

    1. So true Fiona, as our reflection is our greatest form of communicating, then everything we bring from our essences reflects Love, so others can feel we are not away with the pixies.

  11. At the core of the very being that we are, the essence of each and every person, lies a space and configuration that is free of abuse. Should we choose to live from this essence our life and lives would transform accordingly. What a gift each of us can offer ourselves.

  12. Obvious forms of abuse are a great start to understanding what abuse is, but in reality it is the more refined versions, the finer forms of abuse that then can grow into the more obvious ones but more importantly that feed the more obvious ones. So really the roots of abuse are found in the refined ways which are important to nip in the bud in order to get rid of the more obvious forms. It is our responsibility for each and every one of us to look at our standards and see where the abuse could be coming in, in all its myriad of disguises.

  13. If we are all honest we know what abuse is and how we use it. We all have a responsibility to ourselves to be loving and that normally naturally follows for us to be loving towards others, however how many of us can honestly say we put love first every time?

    1. This is great Sally and expanding as a possibility from what you have shared, maybe it lies in the appreciation we have ‘misused’ and ‘taken away’ from our innate Loving essences or Soul, and ‘wrongly’ used our spirit to play-down our divine roots, therefore our lack-less-ness-of-appreciative-ness of our divinity?

  14. I agree with what has been shared, that abuse is an excess of outward expression of the stagnation of not being willing to be love. Personally it then became the engagement into the pictures of love and lacking the greater commitment and love towards myself and then others. “From the Latin where the word takes its origins it could be expanded to be a mis-use of energy.”

  15. I think many of the reactions we experience when we talk about abusive behaviours, in any form, come from us resisting love and by that resisting being more of ourselves. When we are in relationships, be it with a partner or in a friendship there is always a constant calling to be more of ourselves.

  16. That is very true.. When we have such movements, it shows us that underneath — we have unresolved layers that do not hold truth or the love in our lives that we are worth. Meaning that we have empty pockets, where doors are no longer sealed, but an entry for the lovelessness. Hence, The Way of the Livingness simply proves a supportive way of living (with practical everyday tools) how to build more love and truth in your foundation in your life. So that the emptiness gets filled up by our own choice to bring love back in. How profound and powerful is that?

  17. “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?” Great questions to ponder on. Could the constantly making excuses for ourselves and others when there is any form of abuse, be from not wanting to deepen the love for ourselves and therefore not deepening the love, openness and intimacy with the other person. Each person is affected, the one being abusive and the one accepting the abuse, it is the same poison. Both are abusing themselves.

    1. Yes, giving, or receiving the abuse, both are forms of abuse, ‘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?’

  18. It appears to me that the starting point of abuse, the little forms of abuse many of us inflict on ourselves every day, has been overlooked with the focus on the more ‘shocking’ abuse that we see reported regularly. But isn’t abusing ourselves in any form, minor or otherwise, shocking? So perhaps going back to the beginning, back to when we are young, is the place to start to begin to understand why anyone would want to abuse themselves or another in the first place.

  19. There is opt out we often use, where we think our level of abuse is somehow fine, but we’re avoiding the responsibility of who we are – we’re made of love, yet we live in a way that is less than that love and we at times see that as our right, in fact we can champion it. The truth here is we want to do things on our terms, in our time and we do not want to face the fact that we’ve championed abuse because it’s suited us. There’s an honesty needed here to see and feel that the abuse we’re tolerated adds to the cesspool of abuse all of us as a humanity can access. We need to start cleaning up in our own back yards.

  20. You are so right in saying that anything that is not love is abuse. There seem however to be many different levels of severity of abuse, all depending on our own past, and our current sensitivity to what is not true. A wise man has said that what is not loving is harming.

  21. When reading through your words James it becomes clear that not expressing our truth results in the abuse we have in the world. We learn to deal with things and all find a way and flavour we seemingly favour or that ‘suits’ us, but with that we basically invite abuse in as we open the door for endless versions of how life could be that however has nothing to do with the truth we know deep down – our natural way of being.

  22. We tend to think of ab-use as an action primarily directed to someone else aimed at imposing something through force (physical or otherwise). The action targets the body and its energetic makeup. It targets the target’s particles. It is about bringing them together as much as possible, so the person feels just human and re-acts from there. Yet, you cannot ab-use other unless you have ab-used yourself first. Ab-use is therefore, an action executed from someone who is divine but chooses to play human to make sure that someone else who is also divine acts humanly.

    1. Stopping being abusive starts with self, how are we with self…’you cannot ab-use other unless you have ab-used yourself first. Ab-use is therefore, an action executed from someone who is divine but chooses to play human to make sure that someone else who is also divine acts humanly.’

  23. What I got from reading this blog today, is that abuse is a result of those moments where we do not accept the love that is on offer each day. Every time we reject that which is being offered, is abuse to our being and all the people we live with.

  24. As human beings we tend to use a sliding scale for what we call abuse or not, while in truth there is only one truth and that is simply abuse is when we act or behave not from love.

  25. James, this is a great topic to open up for us to ponder on. I am beginning to become more aware of how many times during my life (and there were many) where I was less than love either with myself or with others, amounted to nothing less that abuse. This is a very bitter pill to swallow but now through reading your blog I know that I can turn this around, through ensuring henceforth that all my expression come from a loving foundation.

  26. The thing is, we actually do know what is abusive, we feel it deeply. We just don’t register that we do, until we choose to consider what is shared in this article.

  27. As I move continually, on a daily basis deeper into the love that is inside of me I become aware of another layer of abuse, that maybe just yesterday, I would have classed as normal. This awareness is a very personal one for each of us and only comes to light when we take steps towards the love we are that this article brings to our attention.

  28. There are layers and layers to this I am starting to unravel. How willing are we to see we have been abusive to those we love? When you talk about the low levels of abuse we have taken as normal, acceptable and just OK like “so it is like a venting, a coping mechanism” then I have had a few when I have been tired, irritable, stressed, rushed. None of them have been OK and yet when you let one little one slide what is to say you don’t let the next, and the next and the next till it is much larger?

  29. It almost seems like the more people avoid expressing the love that is naturally and innately inside of them from birth, the more they resort to abusive behaviours to vent their frustration or resentment for dealing with their own hurts in this destructive way.

  30. This is a beautiful pondering on what abuse really is. I love the wording ‘a mis-use of energy’. This makes it so clear that every move I make that is not founded in love will be abusive.

  31. We flippantly use the term abuse to think of what we receive from, or do to another, but since when is abuse just this? We are way more abusive with ourselves than we truly realise and given our limited scope of what we term abuse, it would seem we are also trying to cover up the fact.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

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