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


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

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. ‘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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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?

  10. 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.

  11. ‘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?

  12. “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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. ‘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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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?

  25. 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!

  26. 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.

  27. ‘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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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….

  30. 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.

  31. 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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