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.

516 thoughts on “Abuse – my understanding so far

  1. 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.

    1. The way we heal our hurts is also something we can feel responsibility and purpose for, knowing that the choices we make to go deeper into self abuse when hurt, such as with overeating or drinking alcohol, set a standard and reflection for others. If we can learn to turn to love when we feel hurt, and deepen into our self loving and self caring behaviours, we can then offer a very needed way for humanity to see that we can respond to ourselves without abuse, harm or self destructive behaviours, and we can in fact be very loving with ourselves in challenging situations.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. After becoming a student of Universal Medicine and studying there for some years I too have come to this awareness, but before that I was not aware and allowed a lot of abuse in my life I then accepted as being normal. That said means that as people we can have a different experience with abuse and what we call abuse or not, all dependent of how much we allow ourselves to be aware.

  4. These days I just love being me even with all my imperfections. And when I do make a mistake I learn form it and move on, whereas the old me would have went into self-bashing…. love does make life fuller, sweeter and richer and in choosing love the tap is always open.

    1. This is a learning. Learning to be imperfect and be OK with that. I am not sure where the need to be perfect comes in but perhaps it is in the energy that says we are never enough because we know we have stepped away from the all we were made from (Love) to a lesser form of living that is striving to go somewhere, rather than surrendering back to the Love we are from.

  5. ‘we have not committed to love, and nothing but love, as our foundation, our basis of life’. My hands go up here, but I am re-imprinting my wayward way, and choosing more responsibility, and as I do, I can feel so much more love for myself – which means I have more love to share – which means the more I will be given!

  6. There is a fair bit of push back with using the word abuse because we have benchmarked it as being an extreme, but we need to bring it back to the level you have said here, paying attention to the small moments that gather momentum to be abuse.

  7. Before Universal Medicine I didn’t even consider what is said here as a possibility. I mean it didn’t even come up as a possibility or question. I just accepted life as it was and did my best to get on with it, even though I could see things were getting worse I just hoped that it wouldn’t be as bad for me. Turning a ‘blind eye’ has never worked and in fact it has seemingly made things larger and I still don’t have a clear definition or what ‘abuse’ truly is. I can tell you what I think it is at this point and yet my awareness around this word and how it plays out in life is continually changing. Even as I sit here there is a consideration of how this word or how these actions play out in life. We can no longer just bandaid things and in that the people around Universal Medicine are going deeper to ‘out’ things like this in their lives and not just being part of an existence that is seemingly continually walking over them.

  8. My understanding of abuse so far has supported me to see where abuse is present in my life and learning to expose it more and more. Being more loving with myself has supported me to say no to abuse and to being open to recognising what is abuse no matter how small or large.

  9. So many words have been bastardised or changed in their meaning to hide the fact that what we are living is far removed from the essence that we are. If we make abuse about excess and violent behaviours instead of all that is not loving then we can call the low grade abuse love.

  10. The perceived privacy of ‘behind closed doors’ is one of the biggest indicators to me of a behaviour I need to change. How prepared are we to not live in this way? From what we see in the world today we really need to ask what are the consequences of me not choosing to live more aware of the harm that is done when I do not live from and with love in a way that does not see the borders of my walls as an excuse to change my behaviour.

  11. And with this understanding we can allow ourselves to turn towards love and make it a marker in our life, simply always living by the deepest love we know, which then will deepen with every move we make.

  12. Our level of what we consider to be abusive does change, the more we turn up the love and treat ourselves with more love, care and respect. The more we make all our choices about love, the more the abusive ones stand out, and start to feel less normal and more uncomfortable.

  13. Where there is love and “nothing but love” there is no space for abuse of any form. But in the world we live in today there are few that live the love that they naturally are so leaving so much space for abuse to flourish in. And it doesn’t matter if the form of abuse is considered to be minor, it is still abuse filling a space that is calling out for love instead.

  14. I agree Brendan, beginning the conversation about abuse is what is needed in the community to bring more awareness to the subtle and not so subtle forms of abuse.

  15. Learning through Universal Medicine presentations that “anything that does not come with love is abuse” has brought about a huge level of tenderness and love into my life.

  16. Why are we abusive? I feel it is because we have unresolved hurts and the abusive action stems from protection in reaction to protect us from feeling those hurts.

    1. ‘For me anything that does not come with love is abuse’. Spot on James, so many have come to accept abuse as a ‘norm’ in society, but it is far from normal to be harming ourselves and others with abuse in any form.

  17. It’s such an important conversation as abuse is prolific in human life now. If we have a marker that says anything that is not love is abuse, then we can begin to see abuse in all of its subtleties – including self abuse. If we categorise violence as abuse but not rudely speaking to one another, which is perhaps one of the beginning foundations for physical abuse, then we allow abuse to proliferate because atrocities grow from such subtleties.

  18. What abuse is capable of infinite refinement to the point that not being loving is abuse. I made a simple joke today but I quickly realised that it was abusive. The other person didn’t find it funny and felt hurt by it. Another lesson!

  19. In order to change the current status of the word abuse, we must raise the bar. The deeper and more loving we are with ourselves, the less likely we are to treat anyone else with anything but love. So, it is for us as a collective society to lift the current standards and pave the future way of what is acceptable and normal behavior towards ourselves and one another and what is not.

    1. Yes I agree Sarah, we have to lift the bar of what is acceptable, what is loving and not devalue loving, caring, tender behaviour because it has become less valued. It is us, as a collective society that allows that to happen, for the bar to be lowered so let’s, as a collective society raise it back up – by lived example.

      1. The reasons that we have all allowed the bar to drop so low, are of course varied but I know personally, I like to inter-change the word Love and Right and this has contributed to the lowering of the world bar. My classic approach is…, well I told that person what I felt was the right thing to say, this is how I justify myself but in truth I should be asking myself, is what I have just said LOVE? Every time I open my mouth, I should ask myself is this love? This type of program is free and will be a game changer.

  20. Yes is human life normal or have we lowered the bar on what is acceptable and changed the meanings of what it means to be abusive? Is it true that abuse only exists in the extremes or are we avoiding cleaning up the mess that a so-called normal human life creates?

  21. The unpacking of what is abuse and how I have perpetrated it is a hard pill to swallow, but nevertheless it needs unpacking, it needs every ounce of abuse to self and abuse to others to be seen, for once it is seen it can be resolved.

    1. Yes and that is where love comes into it isn’t it Heather. When we start to see what we have done we can be wracked with guilt and shame – well I have been. The way through that and to learn to address it in a different way is to understand why we did what we did, to bring an awareness of the steps that ended up in that behaviour and to see the behaviour as the end result of movements, choices, not dealing with the original wound etc rather than the issue in itself.

  22. It is vitally important for us to deal with our undealt issues, otherwise all our encounters will be abusive as everything we do or say will carry the energy of our unresolved emotions.

  23. What you have presented here James is normal behaviour of most people and abuse as the accepted norm. If we really explore this abuse it is there from the time we open our eyes in the morning to the time we close our eyes at the end of the day. When we really ponder on our day, it is another cause to exhaustion and then we turn to stimulating vices to keep us going – another form of abuse. This cycle is never ending until we make the decision to break it.

    Since 2014 when I first met Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine it became more apparent how abusive I was to myself and others. And everyday I see more and more of the subtleties of abuse and the antidote is Love nothing fancy, just love that is within us all. With consistency and taking more and more responsibilities and accountability, I am re-imprinting and replacing abuse with love and providing that reflection to others, they can but not ignore it. What they decide with this reflection is their choice and responsibility.

  24. How committed are we to love? How consistently committed are we to love? For in fact if we’re not we allow abuse somewhere, and if we commit to love then indeed any abuse stands out like a sore thumb, ready and waiting for us to bring love to it. Abuse is the absence of love, how willing are we to see that?

  25. “anything that does not come with love is abuse” this is one of the profound teachings I have learned from Universal Medicine and the starting point is with me and how I treat myself and therefore everyone else and the Universe I share with all.

  26. ‘Anything that does not come with love is abuse.’ Thank you James this blog highlights the way we have made a lot of abuse in society ‘normal’, which has led many to accept even more abuse and a lesser version of love that has harmed many, many people. It is time we take responsibility for any abuse in our own lives and choose to heal this as this reflects to others there is a different way and that abuse is no longer acceptable in any way, shape or form.

  27. This is something as a society we need to look at, continually exposing those deeper and less obvious forms of abuse and eradicating them. It’s the comparison between abuses and their subtlety or extremity that allows so much abuse to exist, for example if it’s not as bad as being bashed then it’s ok. Coming back to love we realise no form of abuse is ok.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. “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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. ‘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.

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