Are We in an Abusive Relationship with Ourselves?

I read two blog comments and a couple of articles recently that made me sit up straight – very straight indeed. The topic was abuse and it made me realise how relatively easy it is to talk about abuse when it concerns an identifiable victim and a perpetrator as two or several people, when we talk about physical, mental, emotional, financial or sexual abuse. Even the term ‘self-abuse’ has become part of our daily language and we associate it with any kind of visible self-harm, as in cutting or under-eating for example.

But what about the application of the term ‘abuse’ when it comes to drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes or marijuana, kicking the dog in anger, spending hours gaming or watching TV, punching a hole in the wall, slamming a door?

It gets a little uncomfortable when we start talking about the possibility of describing as abuse pastimes that we might frequently dabble in, resort to, if not rely upon as coping mechanisms and for a sense of equilibrium. As forthright citizens, we might rightly say that we don’t inflict sexual, physical, mental, financial or emotional abuse – but what happens when we go a little deeper and examine the real quality of our daily lived life, what we do to others and especially, what we do to ourselves? And yes, I am not talking about cutting here, I am talking about drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco or any other substance, about going to bed later than what our body clearly signals to us, about asking our body to do the impossible, day in and day out.

Dr Eunice Minford, a general surgeon in Northern Ireland, asks in her article, ‘Abuse – just a way of life’ (1) whether abusing ourselves has become our everyday reality and is now considered normal. Her answer, by implication, is a clear yes; self-abuse in its ‘finer’ detail has become a way of life and is deemed normal. Sobering indeed.

The question is: what do we opt for and busy ourselves with, instead of addressing our deleterious food and beverage choices or our pastimes, from evermore entertainment to gaming and harming food and beverage choices?

Is it possible that abuse starts with self-abuse and our unwillingness to be honest and admit that a lot of our so-called ‘normal’ behaviours are in fact self-abusive? For example: when a child is tired and we refuse to let them go to sleep, but forcefully keep them up by any means possible, we would call that abuse and sleep deprivation. But we so easily do this to ourselves, pushing past the point of enough is enough and often right into exhaustion, if not ultimately a diagnosable illness. What’s the difference?

How can this be abuse if inflicted on another but not self-abuse when we do it to ourselves?

By Gabriele Conrad, Goonellabah NSW

References:

Related Reading:
Abuse – My Understanding So Far
Alcohol Abuse – What’s Normal?
The Art of Appreciation – Helping to Break the Cycle of Self Abuse

940 thoughts on “Are We in an Abusive Relationship with Ourselves?

  1. There is no doubt that our lack of understanding of the being that we are with in the body allows us to continue on a path of self-abuse, where we attend to the body for how it looks, or possibly how fit it is, or even getting it healthy, but not how it feels within. The Ageless Wisdom puts the body front and centre, and offers a depth of understanding of the soul within the body that is the marker of our truth.

  2. The more honest we are with ourselves the easier it is to identity what is abuse and the easier it is to make those changes to live a more loving and consistent life.

  3. Great question Gabriele, ‘Are We in an Abusive Relationship with Ourselves?, the answer for most including myself is yes, the more I understand about abuse, the deeper I am feeling into what is abuse, and every time I override what my body is asking particularly to go to bed, I am in fact abusing myself, thank you for the timely reminder.

    1. Any hurt left unattended to makes us the target of whatever wants to come through us, mainly in reaction and retaliation.

  4. “Is it possible that abuse starts with self-abuse and our unwillingness to be honest and admit that a lot of our so-called ‘normal’ behaviours are in fact self-abusive?” – yes Gabriele, the more you allow self-love to be the natural way of living, the more you realise the extent and truth of what you share here on abuse from self-abuse.

  5. It is when we start comparing the obvious abusive behaviours with what we consider our normal that we overlook where we are being self-abusive, on what in comparison may seem less, but however we want to re-interpret it abuse is still abuse and it comes with a lack of regard and responsibility towards ourselves and indeed flows on to effect everyone else. The more we accept the minor abusive behaviours the more abusive they will become so that what may have felt abusive becomes part of our everyday patterns.

    1. If something gets a little bit worse every day, we tend to turn a blind eye and, before we know it, we are faced with the full catastrophe.

  6. The more willing we are to be honest and more gentle and caring in how we treat ourselves the more we open up our awareness to be able to call out what is abusive even in its more subtler forms.

    1. As everything else, abuse starts small and is in the detail; when we let it slide and say yes (and that might mean not saying no and putting up with what is happening), we can easily go into free fall and all the way into what we would commonly call abuse and are repulsed by. But why did we let it slide to start with?

  7. Imagine a law that said all abuse was illegal, including abuse to ourselves. It seems to me the cycle of abuse will be never ending until we higher our standards in every area of our lives and understand that life is not truly about us, and that one action of abuse or harm such as simply overeating has much greater impact and reach than we could imagine.

    1. We sell out to another’s demands when we do things to please others and lose any authority – and our confidence as well. We become like a slave.

      1. That’s a great way to describe it – when we try and please others it becomes a matter of authority and of giving away our authority and personal jurisdiction to something outside of ourselves – it’s a bit like un-anchoring a ship in a turbulent storm.

  8. Such a powerful article Gabriele exposing the abusive cycle we can be in with ourselves. We have normalised the ‘self-abuse’ instead of seeing the harm we do to ourselves everyday is still part of the same energy of abuse, the more we call out this abuse the more likely we are to be open to seeing the larger forms of abuse around us. It all comes down to responsibility and being open to see the truth.

    1. And vice versa – the more we see the obvious and in our faces kind of abuse, the more the intricate nuances of abuse and self-abuse come to the fore and expose themselves.

  9. What we regard as abuse really depends of the level of self acceptance and love we have for ourselves, and the more that the love builds the more abusive patterns are discarded. There are many things that I catch myself doing which feel abusive to my body, like rushing in the morning and the way that I get into my car, which a few years ago wouldn’t have even crossed my mind as being abusive as the more obvious behaviours were still at play such as drinking and smoking.

    1. The more we see and feel, the more we see and feel – as we discard the more obvious abusive patterns, the subtler ones get revealed. And they are those we would not have noticed years, months or at times, even days ago.

  10. Lack of sleep can make us cranky and in that crankiness we can be difficult for others to be around – that in itself really is a type of abuse for both parties.

  11. I feel there are many behaviours we know are abusive yet we are quick to ignore them as we do not want to feel the true cause underneath as we have made it to be more painful than the harm of numbing, dulling or pushing ourselves to exhaustion as a way of coping with the tension of being disconnected from our essence.

  12. “self-abuse in its ‘finer’ detail has become a way of life and is deemed normal” and this is how we can avoid looking at abuse in the detail we need to to step out of that damaging acceptance, that abnormal ‘normal’ – clearly exposed as not normal with your great question around sleep: when a child is tired and we refuse to let them go to sleep, but forcefully keep them up by any means possible, we would call that abuse and sleep deprivation. But we so easily do this to ourselves, pushing past the point of enough is enough and often right into exhaustion, if not ultimately a diagnosable illness. What’s the difference?

  13. There are so many ways abuse is happening around us that it has become the normal and we have a gazillion ways of distracting ourselves from noticing it so it doesn’t impulse us to do anything about it, because when you do see it you cannot BUT get active. That is what is so clever about negating the energetic factor as being of any importance, because we can then only consider abuse as the more extreme forms of abuse we can actually see with our eyes and measure by the severity in that way.

  14. A great call and question to ask. We have the tendency to look for the culprit in others but how is the relationship with ourself, how are we treating ourself, as that is what we bring to everybody else.

  15. It’s so true that what we might consider abusive towards others we normalise in our relationship to ourselves, a great example being what you’ve shared Gabriele about sleep deprivation, and another being just how hostile our thoughts can be throughout the day – if we said some of these thoughts out loud it would be a serious concern.

  16. Self-abuse has indeed become so normalised in our world. At this point I can see not many people are willing to recognise how harmful self-abuse is. It has become a way of life that so many people have accepted and often don’t think to question it because everyone else is also living the same abusive way. If we self-abuse then we are adding to the energy of abuse that could potentially do greater harm elsewhere where we may not see or witness. But in the world of energy we in fact contribute to a pool of energy that harms another human being if we say yes to abuse in any shape or form. When we understand this, then it calls us to take another look at our level of responsibility and all our choices.

    1. With self-abuse, we normalise it by our behaviours and add to the pool of energy that keeps reinstating it every moment by humanity world-wide. We aid and abet what we in truth abhor so it is recirculated throughout the world and amongst all people.

  17. Great questions here, how can it not be abuse if we do it to ourselves as well, but the really uncomfortable thing for me reading this was how we can use abuse to ‘rely upon as coping mechanisms and for a sense of equilibrium … now this stopped me for I know that I can easily go into self bashing thoughts and then the food usually follows, but to consider that I might use this as a coping mechanism … I do, and that’s definitely something to change.

  18. “Is it possible that abuse starts with self-abuse and our unwillingness to be honest and admit that a lot of our so-called ‘normal’ behaviours are in fact self-abusive?” I see it as for any moment or millisecond that we do not honour and be absolutely honests what are our feelings we are in abuse.

  19. Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine helped me to understand and see the abuse I had towards myself, before meeting Serge I really wasn’t aware of the levels of abuse I had towards myself. This allowed me to work on this bring loving ways in and so it continues and the more subtle choices are revealed with my body’s guidance.

  20. Thank you Universal Medicine and Serge Benhayon for opening my eyes to every form of abuse you have shared with us Gabriele, as I have partaking in all you are sharing in the most abusive ways!

  21. Could it be that we are so used to filling our emptiness with anything other than Love that we accept abuse in its many forms? Then even when we stop abusive behaviours do we let go of the underlying condition that caused us to go into what-ever that abuse was? And read on for there is an expanding on what is shared about the blogs from Eunice Minford referred to in his blog; “This might be a hard pill to swallow when its full ramifications are realised, as we can be stuck in the illusion that we are living relatively healthy and harmless lives but when examined energetically we are in fact abusing ourselves and others frequently.” This leads us to Gabriele’s question where does abuse start and it is most definitely with our-self.
    Then when all the cards are on the table about abuse we understand it has many avenues that it takes to keep us from our most Loving aspect and a lot of Soul-searching is needed to look into our behaviours 24/7 so we can open our-self up to healing many ill ways that have abused us on every level for life times. Until-True-Love is opened to us in its Truest-form, then many ways become open for us to live Lovingly to the best of our ability and it can be lived to a level that is not a momentary thing, but a Love that is, continually breaking down our abusive ways!

  22. All detail abuse we do to ourselves and others brings collective the energy to let abuse happen all over the world.
    This is why we are all responsible for what is happening.

    1. Great reminder that we are always contributing to the pool of energy rippling out from any behaviour and thus have a responsibility to not perpetuate what we don’t want in our lives anymore.

    2. Yes and this can feel like a judgement and harsh therefore overwhelming – where do you start when the abuse is not just in the confines of your home or community but world-wide? Yet it started by letting things slide in our own bodies and at home, therefore to have any impact on the greater plan we have to start with our own bodies in our own lives and build a body that can support the level of awareness we are struggling to embrace. Then we won’t be overwhelmed, we will know what we can do we must do with the full awareness that we never do it alone.

  23. We don’t see pushing ourselves to get a job done abusive but when we listen to our body it willing shows us that it is going against its natural rhythm, and I know I used to do this countless times during the day. To counter it I ate sugary foods but there was always a permanent raciness in my body. I am now so much more aware of all the different things in my day that can push my body out of its natural rhythm. What I am now learning to do is refine it even more. I recently had a session where I was in deep repose but after the session I carried on as I would normally do and fell over and injured my wrist and spine. This really showed me I had not truly connected to the next step that was being offered to me, and although it was not the usual way I would go into drive, I was still out of rhythm with where my body was at. I am constantly going to a deeper level of what self abuse looks like and how it shows up in my body.

  24. In truth, we don’t want to see the abuse we do to ourselves because of our attachment to comfort. We don’t want to let go of our behaviours to comfort us because they help to distract and numb ourselves from what is going on.

  25. ‘Is it possible that abuse starts with self-abuse and our unwillingness to be honest and admit that a lot of our so-called ‘normal’ behaviours are in fact self-abusive?’ That’s a yes from me, and for abuse to stop externally it needs to stop internally first. The body is an honest guide should we need some direction.

  26. A powerful message. Sharing on abuse and self-abuse the deeper insight and reality of what this actually means. The unleash the “accepted ” forms of abuse by exposing them for the exact same abuse they are compared to more obvious situations – where raw abuse is shown. Raw or unraw – abuse is abuse and we need to be more honest now: as keeping silent and unaware will only creates the toll to go further and increase all the abuse going on in our world.

  27. This is a massive and I mean MASSIVE topic Gabriele especially because most of humanity think they are not generally self abusive when they actually are and coupled with the rising illness and disease stats wonder why we are getting so sick. It is rare to treat ourselves with true love and care but could this in itself be part of the ill?

  28. It is a great exercise to check if what we are doing to ourselves or to another is something we would do a baby, as if not why do it to ourselves?

    1. Under the toughest exterior is the sensitivity of the baby and when overridden anything it possible. Though sensitivity is a quality that allows us to feel and read what is going on around us, it is a quality to embrace.

  29. ‘How can this be abuse if inflicted on another but not self-abuse when we do it to ourselves?’ When I observe a situation where someone may be choosing to over-ride the very clear signs of exhaustion and pushing on to get something done, I do not hold back in challenging what their body is really asking for and the freedom of choice available to them. If I am to apply the same situation to myself I used to be totally unaware that I too, am choosing abuse over self love. A willingness to allow space for deeply surrendering and to listen to what is needed changes everything, particularly different choices. Distractions serve the purpose of allowing abuse of self to continue – end the distractions and the abuse will also begin to disappear.

    1. Maybe it’s about ending the monopoly of the mind over the body that’s going to stop the abuse, more than anything else in this world of ours?

  30. “Is it possible that abuse starts with self-abuse and our unwillingness to be honest and admit that a lot of our so-called ‘normal’ behaviours are in fact self-abusive?” I would say yes, because they are a coping mechanism for the lack of true honesty. It is a way we have lived for so long now that to consider the level of abuse we consider ‘normal’ that should not be normal at all is challenging. Sticking our head in the sand seems to be the more popular answer – having been there for most of my life and still getting to know when my head is still there when I find a I have a mouthful of sand again eeeek!

  31. Some people can see self-abuse as okay because it ‘doesn’t affect anyone else’ – but in fact it does. Any form of abuse harms everyone – you cannot abuse yourself without abusing another in some way, shape or form.

    1. So true Jenny, this is a common way of thinking, that what we do to ourselves does not harm another or the rest of humanity. But when we understand how energy work and understand how life on earth work, then we cannot deny the fact that every choice we make does impact on everything else.

      1. We are very powerful but not ready for the responsibility that the awareness of this power brings to us. So meanwhile, we engage in delay, and delay, and delay …

  32. If we start from the marker that anything less than love is abuse we can see how far we have strayed and how much this can depend on the people we hang out with or associate with. My old life and the people that I hung out with regarded drinking excessively normal and not an abuse in anyway, if we could hold it together remain employed and live a life. I’m along way from that life, but also still a long way off the marker of being all about love so still generally in the self-abuse category.

  33. ‘self-abuse in its ‘finer’ detail has become a way of life and is deemed normal. Sobering indeed.’ Agreed Gabriele, especially when ultimately and truly we are such precious, awesome, loving and powerful beings.

  34. Could it be that when we do not deliver a Loving consideration to anyone so a level of Love is not expressed this is not only abusive but the start of a deeper relationship with abuse? So when Love is expressed from our essence then we are allowing our true self to evolve from a deepening level of expression.

  35. This blog is a game changer – showing us that there is so much more to us, and that indeed we are living in more abusive forms ourselves that we call normal, that actually are harming to us, even though it is acceptable form of self-abuse. Thank you for making this clear, better know what is true than being under the ilussion of not knowing.

  36. Your article requires a response Gabrielle. It indeed is a big subject, What actually is self-abuse? It seems that we settle to call self abuse when it refers to things like cutting and underrating but don’t want to go call out to the more refined forms of self abuse. Self abuse seems to be accepted, and even the norm. Why do we don’t we call out these more seemingly insignificant forms of self abuse as being self abuse?
    It is not that we self-abuse, and then nothing happens. It comes with a price. The biggest price being in the end being that it covers the love, light, power and all the beautiful qualities we are, by layers of what is not us. And then we start identifying with them as being us. Like: I am person with low vitality. While the honesty is that this low vitality is mainly caused by our self abuse. I am an example of a person who can see the relationship between my low vitality and my self abuse.

    1. And it is sliding scale – we put up with a little bit of something and then that little bit gets bigger and bigger, more extreme even and before we know it, we are into full-blown abuse and wonder how to put a stop to it.

  37. A great question to ask and to put into perspective how we treat ourselves. Everything starts with us, how we are with ourselves, and this is then reflected in every relationship there is.

    1. This is my experience Esther. There is no escape in the truth that you’ve presented, every choice we make relates to everything else in life. We tend to compartmentalise our life but it doesn’t work, and eventually we can see a pattern play out that is very difficult to avoid. So I agree, If we are abusive with ourselves our relationship with others will also be affected.

  38. As a handyman, come painter and jack of all master of non,,! I could never get-it how someone could punch a hole-in-a-wall or door as they would always have to get some work done and that I would or could never be that far out of control. Now I have an understanding that it is all to do with energy, so it makes much more sense, how some people get more lost than others? When we lose our connection anything is possible and a general snapshot of what is happening in todays world reflects the energy the majority are in.
    Living with respect and decency towards our-self has a huge knock on affect that can reverberate around the world, just like a pebble that is dropped into a crystal clear lake the ripples carry to the furthest reaches and return.

  39. I have just read an article about competition and comparison and see in a clearer way how aligning to the competitiveness that is set up in our societies is a serious form of self and social abuse, disregarding and dismissing our qualities and value in place of scoring ourselves against others.

  40. I like your comparison in your blog – we would never tell a child, to stay up late, but for us, it is often normal to push to the boundaries and we only go to bed, when we don’t have a choice any more, the tiredness has overwhelmed us. This doesn’t make sense. The good news are – the more we are connected to our bodies, the more we receive the messages from the body which tells us when to go to bed.

  41. I know I can be abusive to myself in ways that would not usually be considered abusive. For example the way that I talk to myself sometimes, with negative chatter, and the food I can choose to eat as a result. Anything that is an imposition on the body that has not come from a true impulse can be abusive. If I put myself down or allow feelings of not being good enough, that is abusive. Anything that results in me feeling smaller or believing myself to be lesser than others is abusive. Learning how to love ourselves is an ongoing process, and involves listening to the body, talking to ourselves lovingly, and allowing ourselves to be all we can be, without arrogance and without imposition on others.

    1. Oh the words we use – we just have no real clue about the foundation they lay. Listening to the body and speaking to myself as I would to a delicate, precious baby has been a life-changing experiment for me.

  42. Sleep deprivation is one thing that we do learn from a very early age and it is probably the first form of abuse in our life. Then that sets us up for a continual barrage of abusive behaviours that we all consider to be normal.
    So observing the way the current young-one are nurtured without having to go through any sleep deprivation, and thus there is little other abusive behaviours thrust upon them, which brings a more socially acceptable way of living that is virtually abuse-less. Maybe one day a study will be done on the long lasting effects of sleep deprivation and the unfold abuse we live in our later years?

  43. Once I begin to look at the many ways I abuse myself with the seemingly little things like eating food I know doesn’t agree with me or not resting when I need to and pushing through something with gritted teeth, I realise that it is more damaging than just that moment as I somehow still hold a demonised conception of myself in a way that makes me think that I deserve to be punished when my body reacts to the treatment I am giving it instead of simply not doing these things. This comes from the idea of being ‘a sinner’ that I was indoctrinated into believing from an early age by the catholic church. Having written this I realise that I am investing in this as it gives a sense of self. A false sense of self that is!

  44. Are We in an Abusive Relationship with Ourselves?” such a great question and imagine if we all asked ourselves that every day, it would be exposing and if done honestly could have the power to expose the ways we let ourselves down through not honering ourselves in a higher or more evolving way.

  45. ‘How can this be abuse if inflicted on another but not self-abuse when we do it to ourselves?’ It is self abuse but this is only a symptom of the consequences of the start of self abuse. This starts with reducing the self awareness connection with one self and then what is abuse is not recognised as abuse as ones self awareness is not their to alert oneself to the abuse and therefore it goes un-noticed.

  46. Wow Gabriele what a real understanding to look at of the start of abuse in the world coming firstly from how we treat ourselves as individuals and the start of this to call out and see our responsibility with ourselves and to deepen and treasure ourselves lovingly offering this reflection and way for others to feel also. True responsibility and very inspiring and much needed.

  47. We do consume substances that are toxic and impact in our bodies sensitive bodies homeostasis, and then call it normal, caffeine, alcohol, etc…we do not really ponder what is happening to us when we choose them, because our bodies heal and do well, until they don’t and when they don’t we raise up our arms and often say why me? We pollute ourselves regularly in many ways – emotionally and otherwise and it is something that I am only just grasping the significance of….

  48. For me self abuse is really the start for abuse in every way. Thank you for sharing your experience with that so eloquently in your awesome blog Gabriele. If I am talking to my self in a judging or bashing way I am abusing myself – I was not aware of this fact for a long time and was wondering why I felt not simply good. Since I know it my live changed a lot. I do not allow myself to talk to me in this bashing way anymore instead I am looking what I can appreciate instead – not so easy I have to say but it is working and now I am less hard to myself and to others – that means also less abusive.

    1. Negative self talk is so pervasive that it takes on forever finer and more subtle nuances, as in assuming that one is always in the wrong and needs to make amends for example, without reading the energy of what is coming towards us.

  49. Gabrielle, reading this article I can feel how there are so many subtle ways that we abuse our bodies. For me the abuse can come in the form of trying to fit in and be liked and saying yes rather than saying no to something that doesn’t feel OK for my body – saying yes to please others. This form of compliance and overriding of my body feels very harmful and unloving.

    1. It is simple isn’t it when we listen to our bodies, they know when something doesn’t fit, our bodies feel and register everything. In whatever way we are not being true to ourselves there is disharmony.

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