Domestic Violence – have we Normalised this Abuse?

Why is it that when we hear the words domestic violence, people often look the other way or feel very uncomfortable? It’s as if we don’t really want to know that it exists and think if we talk in hushed tones, others won’t overhear what we are saying.

In the media and throughout the community it is not given enough airtime or is toned down considerably. In fact, it is now called ‘domestic violence,’ when in reality is it simply an extreme form of abuse.

The statistics for domestic violence in Australia are shocking to say the least and expose just what really goes on behind closed doors in our ‘lucky country.’ These statistics don’t include the many incidences that go unreported.

When one woman is killed in Australia every week by a current or former partner (1), it is not an exaggeration to say domestic violence is a serious issue that needs addressing. Even if ‘only’ one woman was killed per year, it should be enough to send alarm bells throughout the community and the media.

The more serious cases might be reported, but equally harming are the cases that are not reported and accepted as ‘normal’ or diminished in everyday society due to the woman feeling that they don’t have the strength to report such incidences from lack of self-worth or fears for their own life.

There are so many women who are living on eggshells, tip-toeing around their partner like prisoners in their own homes, feeling powerless and anxious about how to leave their situation without further abuse, and at times simply doing everything possible to survive.

Our governments and politicians work tirelessly to ensure that our borders and country remain safe and protected from any terrorist threat or attack. Yet that same focus and commitment does not secure the gates and picket fences of suburbia. The fact is, Australians are more at risk from domestic violence than they ever would be from a terrorist attack.

Sure, we need to do whatever it takes to keep our country safe from a terrorist attack or threat, but if we are considering the safety of our citizens, then we need to look at what is happening in our homes every day.

It seems we have ‘normalised’ this type of abuse to the point that it doesn’t affect us or we turn a blind eye. Some might suggest ignorance is bliss, but these households are anything but bliss for women and children. And this is not just about women and children – men also experience abuse at alarming rates as well. Our teens also need support with the abuse and bullying they are experiencing everyday via social media or at school. It is obvious that there is a real need for many to feel heard and supported to know how to cope with abuse, and in how to leave an abusive relationship.

To bring any true change, we could begin by speaking more freely about the subtle forms of abuse in our relationships with others and explore the abuse we are encountering in our own lives, no matter how small or large this may be.

What if looking at abuse at the smallest level and calling it out allows us to deal with the more harming forms of abuse? If we don’t look at the more subtle forms of abuse, we may never be willing to look at how we can heal and address the darker and deeper forms of it.

I know for myself, I wasn’t willing to look at the abuse I lived with in my own life. I was abusing myself with food, unhealthy behaviours, drama and those self-deprecating thoughts that I would continually beat myself up with. Is it little wonder I wasn’t more proactive when abuse entered my own relationship? It wasn’t until I began to address the abuse I lived with from myself and others that I realised the cycle of abuse I had come to think as me was in truth miles away from the loving and precious woman I am, and that it was time to really honour myself and treat myself with love and respect.

So the antidote for abuse in my life was this self-honouring – listening to what I was truly feeling and not dismissing myself or doubting myself in any way. The more honouring of myself I was, even in the simplest of ways, the more I felt an inner strength and deeper respect for myself. It was the simple things like eating more nurturing foods, having a walk, not allowing any self-deprecating thoughts, going to bed early, and surrounding myself with supportive and loving friends that made a significant difference to how I felt every day.

Then, over time, I became more willing to see the abuse I had accepted from myself and others without any judgment or self-bashing. From there, my commitment to not turning a blind eye to the abuse around me grew. I began to see all the areas of abuse, both large and small, that I had conveniently turned away from before.

I now know that when we stay silent or ‘keep the peace’ to avoid rocking the boat, we can end up staying in an arrangement that gives abuse a louder voice.

It is our silence that allows domestic violence to proliferate in society.

If we look abuse in the eyes instead of retreating as I once did, it becomes a powerful tool for change. It doesn’t need our aggression or retaliation, simply a willingness to stand up and speak out against even the smallest of abuses with each other and with ourselves.

And yes, it would be ideal to have governments, politicians and the appropriate authorities ensure that those who offend with this type of abuse, either in the community or online, are made more accountable for their damaging actions. But this must not take away from the fact of the responsibility we all hold, how powerful we are as individuals and as a collective, to stand up and say no to abuse in all its forms.

“The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” (Albert Einstein)

References:

  1. Aic.gov.au. (2017). Homicide in Australia: 2010–11 to 2011–12: National Homicide Monitoring Program report. [online] Available at: http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/current%20series/mr/21-40/mr23.html [Accessed 6 Dec. 2017].

By Anna Douglass, International Flight Attendant, Mother, dedicated student of the Ageless Wisdom, Australia

Related Reading:
Domestic violence … Are we All Responsible for the Cycle of Abuse?
“Why did you stay?” An Insight into Abuse
Behind Closed Doors

996 thoughts on “Domestic Violence – have we Normalised this Abuse?

  1. I’m not sure there is anything worse that not feel at ease or safe in your own home. So many people are under the pressure of domestic abuse in a variety of ways. How is it as a world we change this? The Ageless Wisdom teachings have shown me this starts with me, with changing my own self-abuse to care, and to being that point of inspiration for all I meet.

  2. Anna thank you for your blog, it is a great reminder of how easily we accept abuse both from ourselves and others, it is not until we start to observe and deal with our own self-abuse and honour ourselves, that we start to observe how dishonouring others are towards us too.

  3. We often think of domestic violence as being something someone else does but if we are dismissive towards those we live with in any way then that is domestic violence. The more we open up to what abuse really is the more honest we will become about how much abuse we allow.

  4. We do see domestic violence as something that happens to others and not worthy of reporting on or disturbing the reading population of the general public who subscribe to newspapers. But what if every day every single domestic violence case was listed on one page of a newspaper to get us to understand how prevalent it is and to what extent we are ignoring this issue. I suspect it would be an eye-opener for most of us.

  5. The levels of debilitating harm that comes from this abuse starts from the subtle doubts that over time have to use second guessing our true wisdom and allow the head to take over from the ever-responding body.

  6. I saw recently on social media that incidents of domestic violence rise when a country looses a big match. The world cup in football is now on and there will only be one final winner……

  7. This is a very beautiful article Anna. Beautiful, even though it’s subject is horrible, because of how you hold up the truth and let it be seen for what is.

  8. Verbal abuse has become a norm these days in all kinds of circumstances. People seem to think that not only is it their right but an acceptable practice to say what they want and in the tone they want. Often I think to myself, would you want your mother, wife or daughter to be spoken to in that manner? The crime here is that no one is born that way.

  9. To make abuse going it takes more than two. The abuser, the abused and the others who play bystanders because are uncapable of differentiating abuse and normal behaviour. Abuse, only grows where there is social permission for it.

  10. The sad truth here being that because we have not normalised love, we have normalised its very counter – abuse.

  11. wow, this post really struck a chord with me. I decided after 12 years of domestic abuse (which resulted in me having to relocate with my children) to finally be brave enough to write about my experience in the hopes that it raises awareness.

  12. We can get more used to hearing about a type of abuse or more used to seeing it if it is happening all the time solely because the shock or impact isn’t the same after a while, but we should never normalise it or think that it is ok in any way.

  13. Looking at abuse in the eyes instead of retreating immediately exposes it for what it is – the awareness of this is definitely a game changer.

  14. It is not ok to ignore any form of abuse. Not only for the sake of the one being abused, but the fact is since love , care and harmony is the true nature of every one of us, the one who is abusing is also showing the signs that they themselves are deep down not so well.

  15. ” But this must not take away from the fact of the responsibility we all hold, how powerful we are as individuals and as a collective, to stand up and say no to abuse in all its forms.” If we don’t stand up and say no we are ennablers and no better than perpetrators ourselves.

  16. There is a saying…”the abuse we walk past is the abuse we accept”. We don’t like to think that we accept a certain level of abuse, but in what you have shared Anna I can see that we do. Even though it may not be so obvious or in its extreme forms such as domestic violence. But through the care we show to ourselves, that which is not love stand out more and more.

  17. This is a very smart tactic and follows on from my earlier comment about addressing the microcosm so that the effects are seen in the macrocosm: “What if looking at abuse at the smallest level and calling it out allows us to deal with the more harming forms of abuse? If we don’t look at the more subtle forms of abuse, we may never be willing to look at how we can heal and address the darker and deeper forms of it.”

  18. It is very interesting how we can get de-sensitized to what we see around us or what we experience in relationships as being abusive. It also appears that everyone has different standards for what is acceptable and what is not – so for one person to step away from a physically abusive relationship to a verbally abusive one is a great step to celebrate however, the violence is still there and nothing has really changed. Same could be said for a person who steps away from a verbally abusive relationship to another relationship with is emotionally manipulative. This too is a great step in the ‘right’ direction (if there is such a thing), but once again nothing has really changed… Until such time that we say no to all forms of abuse in all their myriad of ways of masquerading themselves. And as Anna has shared, this begins with being honest about what standard we hold our relationship with ourselves at first and foremost at, and how we can grow and deepen this first. Hence the ripple effects of the changes in the microcosm and how this then allows for true change in the macrocosm.

    1. The more we see abuse the more we are offered the subtle ways abuse can be lived in our world. Seeing more allows us the choice to live a deeper connection to what we know is more loving and reflect this to others. A choice to say YES to more love.

  19. Abuse comes in so many forms… None of which are acceptable…… And when we start to know ourselves truly, who we truly are, it will most certainly disappear, because it is not who we are.

  20. Giving voice to what we feel is abusive in this world is a very powerful choice to make. It outs the subtleties of where it is in our lives and provides a platform from which we can make different choices, ones that do not include any abuse. Choices that others observe and maybe, if they wish to, they too can begin the process of eliminating it from their lives. Such a domino affect could eradicate abuse from our society.

  21. We are at a stage in Australia where the government has realised they are not going to make the targets they set for reducing the rates of domestic violence they set when Rosie Batty started her campaign. The truth is they really have not considered why domestic abuse happens. You share here how we have to be prepared to look at where we allow abuse in our own lives and what we have taken as normal and it seems to me this is the only way to address abuse in the world – by addressing what might be abusive in our own lives so we can actually see the level we have accepted as normal that is not normal at all.

    1. Well said Lucy, and hence until such time that we are ready to really look at it and deal with it honestly, it will remain as an issue. We can ‘battle’ it till we go blue in the face, but the reality is that so long as we have our attachments and reason for holding onto these violent situations, they will continue to plague us. For we hold onto them when there is something we get out of it, however strange this may seem as witnessed with many women who return over and over again to abusive relationships rather than saying no once and for all. I was once in an abusive relationship and stayed in it till such time that I had had enough, but at that point I was also willing to realise that I had to let go of my attachment to being in a relationship and the fact that I could feel how sensitive my partner was and I was scared of hurting him by leaving. And yet this was exactly what was needed for both of us to grow and learn and evolve. Bottom line is that nothing will change till we are actually truly ready and want the change.

      1. I am touched by your reminder that one of the reasons you found it hard to leave is because you knew how sensitive he was and you didn’t want to hurt him. It would be so easy to stay locked into the hurt of what he had done but what you shared is that there is so much more to a person than their behaviour.

  22. “The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” (Albert Einstein) I like this, as there is no judgment just an observation, which actually says, hey all we have to to is act upon the awareness that we have. Nobody asks you to come up with anything just live and express in the world all that you deep down know, feel and see.

  23. We all know that we deserve to live in a safe home therefore when we hear about domestic violence it goes against everything that we know to be true which is one reason why we want to turn a blind eye to it. The truth is we abuse ourselves constantly through the way that we live therefore we are going to accept abuse from others and not even call it abuse as it seems so normal until eventually it gets so bad that we have to take a step back and realise that if we stop abusing ourselves we will be able to say no to abuse from others.

  24. The moment I doubt myself, I have gone into abusing myself and this simple movement of dismissiveness that occurs instantly is deeply destroying. How can I do that to myself? And if that is not enough, I then can go into anger towards myself and feel sad because I am hurt for not speaking up.Yet, on the other hand I also feel an appreciation, an appreciation for that which has come my way to heal, something I have known especially recently but chose to avoid the responsibility to address it.

  25. Abuse is more easily seen these days, from TV news reports, newspapers, magazines… A kind of shock and sensationalised reporting of awful things… Maybe we have ‘normalised’ abuse as a way of numbing ourselves – a form of protection – from the absolute horror of it?

    1. Yes, I would agree, it is so prolific and even from organisations we have seen as good, that we numb ourselves or turn a blind eye just to cope.
      Yet each time we turn a blind eye we say it is OK because someone else is on the receiving end and it is not affecting us personally. My sense is that is how it works – it targets so it doesn’t get a mass uprising until it has such a stranglehold that even a mass uprising doesn’t have the footprint needed to address it and effect lasting change.

  26. Calling out abuse has to come from within ourselves first to have any truth and value in the world and makes all he difference to our imprint of abuse in the world to one of love .

  27. “I now know that when we stay silent or ‘keep the peace’ to avoid rocking the boat, we can end up staying in an arrangement that gives abuse a louder voice.” This is the stark realisation for those of us who thought that keeping quiet to not ‘rock the boat’ was the way forward, as we would not then have to deal with the potential onslaught of what may come our way. But it is clear that in doing this that the abuse is given the green light to continue as there is nothing stopping it.

  28. Saying ‘no’ to abuse always has to start with how we are with ourselves otherwise it is as if we are wearing a placard that says, “abuse me”.

  29. Domestic violence or any-form-of-abuse, simply can-not happen when we are energetically connected to our divine essence! So what energy are we connected to when we allow our-selves to be lesser than this divine connection? Could it be we are aligning to the ill energy because we do not understand how energy works? Or is it possible that what we understand about and the way energy works that we are unaware how it can effect us? And it is only when we have a purpose and commitment to True Love, which is our divine connection that we start to see the trees from the woods and thus how energy is working in and through us!

  30. I love what you say about self-honouring, Anna, as something that replaces abuse as we build it into our lives. ‘Not dismissing myself or doubting myself in any way…’ is a point of inspiration that I cannot yet claim to have nailed – self-doubt creeps in quite regularly and so being honest about the insidious abuse this is, stops me being complacent about it.

    1. I like that you have brought it back to being aware of the moment to moment abuse that is always trying to come back in to our thoughts. This lack of internal complacency about our own self-abuse feels key to not accepting the lowering of standards in society around things such as abuse.

  31. Abuse is so prolific in our heads that it has to turn outplay in life in the form of violence. Only when we live in a way that is living to ourselves first will we not even entertain abuse.

  32. Our silence indeed allows the domestic abuse in society starting form our own lives and all the simplest things that we do and allow to happen.. This is presented in a true and supportive way and understanding of the difference we can make in starting to honour and love ourselves more and more and in this the abuse becomes obvious and no longer acceptable for ourselves and hence of everywhere.

  33. Have we normalised abuse? Have we ever! It is shocking what we allow or turn a blind eye too these days as we don’t want to take responsibility and see that we are all a part of it.

    1. This is great Rosie, can I add to what you have shared by sharing about “responsibility”, and by being responsible we start to understand that what we are dealing with is an energy that is simply changing us from the decent and respect-full people that we are into abusive behaviours, and this will be when we turn the corner on abuse behavioural energies and see it for where it is coming from, then we will stop sweeping it under the carpet or maybe the rug will be pulled from under our feet so we will see clearly the mud we are in.

      1. Yes it is great to see that the abusive behaviour stems from an energy that we have allowed to run us as naturally, we are not abusive. It is not who we are.

      2. So if we do not know that we are being controlled by energy and thus we still come up with these terrible behaviours, could it be that we can come to a position where we hate these energies that control us and humanity?

  34. We have normalised drinking alcohol, even excessive drinking of alcohol. This then perforce normalises violence of all kinds.

    1. All my life I have been aware of the devastating knock on effects of drinking alcohol… I reckon we all are, but bury our awareness in a world that says this is ‘normal’… this is a tragic state of affairs.

  35. Domestic violence and abuse have been around for many millennia. Albert Einstein was trying to wake us up last century about it, but we have allowed it to continue. As the awareness increases, we will all start shouting louder that this cannot continue.

  36. “I began to see all the areas of abuse, both large and small, that I had conveniently turned away from before” – Anna this is very relatable, having dealt with much of the abuse i allowed in my life, i’ve been finding how the deeper the self-love and self-honour the greater the realisation is about the actual immensity of abuse i [and we all] live with, treat as normal, and is in need of healing – not through self-vilification or possible disgust but through deeper understanding and letting go to love.

    1. Absolutely Zophia the more loving we are the more abuse sticks out like a sore thumb, that which was hidden is now seen.

  37. When we support and empower people to regain their self worth, it becomes easier to weed out the lesser abusive behaviours and so debase the grosser acts. We all have a responsibility to raise the standards of engagement, so that respecting one another becomes a normal part of our interaction with our nearest so that they truly become our dearest.

  38. ‘It is our silence that allows domestic violence to proliferate in society.’ This is a super powerful quote and call to consider whether we are prepared to speak up about the ills we encounter every day or whether we are okay with going about our business in a chosen blindness and ignorance.

  39. Not to diminish the impact of domestic violence… but we as a humanity have made all forms of abuse our normal by not nominating it – and this starts with every one of us looking at our own lives in minute detail.

  40. If we look at the exponential expansion of obesity and the forever rapidly increasing waistlines, is this not self-abuse on a global scale? Are we also allowing to grow, that which fosters domestic violence?

  41. Why do we have domestic violence on a global scale if we call ourselves advanced human beings and how intelligent are we when we allow abuse to exist? It is way overdue for us as a race to address the course of abuse in mass. Universal Medicine is the first and only organisation that I know who understands exactly what is going on, why we abuse ourselves and each other, and openly shares the answers to the root cause of abuse and how we can arrest this energy.

  42. As a counsellor, I am privy to a lot of disclosure about what happens in families behind closed doors, and it still shocks me how common it is for family members to hit, thump, smack and even threaten with knives, never mind the emotional abuse of constantly diminishing and degrading one other. If this the reality of everyday life, we urgently need to examine how we are condoning this way of being in relationship and bring it to an end.

    1. Yes, it is shocking how common, how ‘normal’ it is. What utter desperation to feel the need to behave like this.

  43. I remember a time not that long ago when the police if called out because of violence in the home would discern whether it was violence between partners and if so would say this is a domestic issue and we cannot intervene! I know things have changed but how long was that state of affairs considered acceptable? The law of the land actually condoned a man beating his wife or vice versa.

  44. The more we address the minor expressions of abuse, the more we erode the platform for gross abuse to occur. This calls for an astute attention to the detail in life, to restore integrity to our every movement, word and step. Might seem a tall order, but when applied brings immense and very trustworthy change.

  45. When we understand what feeds abuse this will support us to heal the root cause. Albert Einstein’s quote exposes the evil behind what enables abuse and fuels it.

  46. As a society we normalise what we don’t want to deal with until a problem reaches such epidemic proportions and such a level of depravity – and more importantly, affects us personally – that we can no longer turn a blind eye and are practically forced, kicking and screaming and way down the track, to pay attention, speak up and say, “enough is enough”.

    1. Why do we have to reach a tipping point or the straw that broke the Camel’s back, before we stand up in unison and say this is enough? And, how many times is this unison of outrage a temporary form of relief, and then, we allow the issue to return so its slowly simmering away on the back burner of the stove once again?

      1. Very true Steve, why not speak up and say it as is it. This is exactly what I have been observing within myself recently… how selective with others I can be when the moment arises to speak up and how I can hold back until there is an emotion brewing within and before I know it, I have spoken up but it is far from loving. If I am going to speak up anyway, surely it’s wise to make it about energy, not hold back and just say it as it is – no drama and no big deal!

    2. And what lies behind our acceptance of abuse? What are we so desperate to avoid that we allow abuse of any kind to carry on? And when we do speak up is it as you say for temporary relief, Steve, or is to call out and take responsibility for true change?

  47. “how powerful we are as individuals and as a collective, to stand up and say no to abuse in all its forms” I think it is also our power that scares us and stops us from standing up, and that we dont really allow ourselves to feel the incredible horror and harm of the fact that 1 woman is killed every week from this type of abuse.

  48. The abuse of ourselves is so pernicious and common that we don’t even notice the criticism thoughts they are just normalised.

    1. This is pretty crazy Vanessa, society on a massive scale has normalised abuse but find it challenging to normalise love. Something does not add up here and we have a responsibility to expose what is going on.

  49. I can only imagine what if feels like to live in the constant fear of an abusive relationship, no one should have to live that way never knowing when it is about to kick off again. The statistics are appalling and that is not taking into account all the unreported cases. It really is a behind closed doors problem as without the stats or being directly involved in some way most of us go about our lives not knowing the full extent of the problem.

    1. The impact of the fear on the children is also unreported but seen clearly in schools where children with emotional needs often have born witness to domestic abuse like seeing their mother strangled, beaten, shouted at or constantly belittled.

  50. Abuse starts with the re-interpretation of words, so when we do not understand the energetic truth that words come with then we are abusing another not only with words but also our thoughts. So the depth of abuse goes beyond what is seen by the eye because it is also about a certain word that is not true.

    1. Greg you take this right back to its route, we see abuse as something extreme but what if we looked at abuse being anything less than love and truth? Now that shows us the real state of abuse in the world.

  51. It is a stop moment for me to think that every week a woman dies at the hand of violence from someone she knows. It is without question not acceptable for this to be the case, and yet as a society we allow it to be so. Blogs like this bring it to the attention of the world, thank you.

  52. The statistics are shocking and this is in just one country! But what are these statistics saying about us as a human race? What is it about us as a collective that feels that any form of violence is acceptable towards ourselves or each other? This blog is highlighting that something is seriously amiss with our current way of living where we do just accept abuse as part of normal everyday life.

  53. If love is our measure, then we have not just normalised Domestic Violence but many other types of abuse too.

  54. Abuse is abuse in any form and as we allow it in small ways this brings a tolerance that more and more extreme becomes acceptable as does the lowering of our values. Making changes in the smallest things can can make so much difference in the world if we all live and honour our truth and this is so beautiful bringing true responsibility to ourselves.

  55. We can normalise just about anything when we want to avoid responsibility so we need to look at what our relationship with responsibility is.

  56. My feeling is that people look the other way or look uncomfortable when domestic violence is mentioned as we all have a part to play in it… in all it’s varying shapes and sizes.

  57. “The fact is, Australians are more at risk from domestic violence than they ever would be from a terrorist attack.” And yet we spend billions on defence and preparation to go to war. We need to understand what leads to being so disconnected that we would even consider domestic abuse as a thing and start work there on our relationships in our own homes and our own lives. We have to start making it personal if we want to address the global problems that we deem more important.

    1. It is crazy and shows how much of it is about the influence of the political and media influence. With their focus on red herrings rather than the stark facts.

      1. Yes, that really gets my fired up, how much there is an agenda to distract us from the very simple way we can turn this pattern of abuse around. It simply takes a willingness to be honest and to make the difference in each and every one of our OWN lives, not focusing on what everyone else is doing but what WE are doing. One person at a time changing the world – kapow!!!

  58. When we accept – the ‘way things are’ without discerning from a true marker we lower the benchmark and allow abuse into our lives.

    1. And the thing is, we may on one level ‘accept’ the way things are, but deep down we know we feel uncomfortable about them, and that something doesn’t feel right. Chat to anyone on the bus, train, colleagues, clients, neighbours about life and it’s not long after scratching the surface of life that underneath that surface there is despair, sadness, disappointment, shock, anger, about so many things in life at this time. And while we are not talking about the way life is at the moment, this is all bubbling just below the surface. We do know when something is abuse.

  59. We become familiar with what we accept to not have to face our own responsibility. Starting to become responsible for what we are aware of is like turning on a light and seeing things for what they are, we can then start to make changes and to discuss what is no longer acceptable as our way of life.

  60. ‘What if looking at abuse at the smallest level and calling it out allows us to deal with the more harming forms of abuse? If we don’t look at the more subtle forms of abuse, we may never be willing to look at how we can heal and address the darker and deeper forms of it.’ So true Anna . We need to de-base what abuse is and not accept it in any form.

  61. I find that there is a huge difference in my response to what goes on around me dependent on whether I am in a state of seeking security, or if I am in a state of emanating love. Nothing shows this difference more than the moments when I find myself in an abusive situation. The security seeking self will either duck and avoid facing the scenario or judge and attack, and she always comes away affected by the event. The love focused self remains steady, observing and nominating the energy at play through the people, and words if spoken have power but no harshness.
    A world of difference, which points out the responsibility we each have in the self we take to any situation which in turn is dependent on the love and care we have been living.

  62. Knowing how to leave an abusive relationship is a key life skill that requires a great deal of honesty from society about every facet of what abuse actually is – in all of its gross and most subtlest of ways.

  63. Recently I stepped down from a voluntary work project that was not really evolving in which I could feel I had been hardening myself to force myself to lead in challenging temporal circumstances. This was in fact self-abuse, I can see that now. The greater love of others came in stepping away rather than bolstering up and trying to fill the gaps.

  64. It is abusive to think badly of ourself or another. The counter to this is to step back and do the reading.

  65. ‘To bring any true change, we could begin by speaking more freely about the subtle forms of abuse in our relationships with others and explore the abuse we are encountering in our own lives, no matter how small or large this may be.’ Great point Anna , we need to uncover what abuse truly means and get down to the detail of the effect it has on all of us.

  66. Have we not created the mess of language by improving things that were not broken? What is a single definition of most words? Many words in the dictionary show the meaning of the word and its first recorded use and how the meaning over time has evolved or mutated into something completely different. Now is that Bad, but it depends on which meaning you implied for ‘But’. The list of bastardised words would fill a book, oh, it has it is the dictionary! Love, religion, God and abuse have just become words without meaning. Lexiconically speaking, we have trashed our vocabulary, and this is just another abuse we have allowed into our lives!

  67. “…To bring any true change, we could begin by speaking more freely about the subtle forms of abuse in our relationships ….” Yes, there is always more space to explore and discover ways of bringing love into the way we live and move.

  68. It is fascinating that we use words to define and communicate things.. such as abuse. Yet at the same time what we are defining can be the subject of debate itself. i.e. what one person calls abuse another may not. Studying words and their meanings based on the quality they represent is the only way I can see to bring everyone back to a common playing field of understanding. When we apply this to the word abuse it can become the smallest of things like being spoken to in a harsh tone or an aggressive gesture.

  69. ‘Domestic violence’ …what does this term actually say? Do we tend to make less of this because it is happening with the 4 walls of the family home. Traditionally domestic violence has been swept under the carpet for generations, as so called ‘keeping face’ was more important than speaking up.

  70. ‘The fact is, Australians are more at risk from domestic violence than they ever would be from a terrorist attack’ we have a tendancy to point blame at others rather than looking at taking responsibility for our own choices.

    1. Great point Fiona, it is so easy to blame another rather than take responsibility for our own actions. It is only when we take responsbility for ourselves and the way we are living that things start to change around us and in the world.

  71. Self-abuse has to be really weeded out if we are serious about saying ‘no’ to abuse in our live. It is self-abuse that opens the door and this opening allows abuse to exist in our world.

  72. Domestic violence is indeed an extreme form of abuse that is being accepted and normalised with our diminishing self worth and honouring of who we all are by the way we are living in the world showing the changes that are needed to bring us back to the love and sacredness we all are.

  73. Mental abuse is rampant and yet we say there is no physical violence so it’s not so bad…words can cause so much damage when we internalise them, the harm can be hurt and effect the relationships of everyone. We should not underestimate the damage words can do when misused, abuse does not appear as a fist, that fist stems from a much deeper illness.

    1. Absolutely. ‘We should not underestimate the damage words can do when misused’… how many of us, in adulthood, still carry the scars and still react with behaviour that was set up by words directed at us in our childhood?

  74. What I am most shocked by is all that we accept because it is not the most horrific end of the abuse spectrum. We somehow feel we can excuse lesser forms of abuse, perhaps because we ourselves don’t want to be called to account and made responsible for our actions which ‘aren’t as bad’ as others.

    1. I agree! We seem to find it easier to look and comment on others than to make how we are in our own lives, with ourselves and our families equally important – be the change we want to see.

      1. Great point, it is all too easy to criticise, but what are we all contributing to, by our acceptance of anything other than love in any direction, for love is who we all are.

    2. Yes, well said Rebecca. If we demonise these extreme examples of abuse, we can hide our own transgressions under the cover of the ‘smoke’ we ourselves have created.

      1. Very true – many people say ‘but at this rate, everything will be abuse’, without stopping to consider that maybe the reason very obvious forms of violence occur is because abuse is rife in society as a whole in very passive ways we overlook and whilst it may be uncomfortable we have to face this

      1. But surely Jane we would need to recognise abuse in the first place. Many of us have for example grown up with abuse within our families so much so that it seems not pleasant but something you have to put up with. This has been my recent experience with a friend of mine, there is a lot of jealousy in the family towards them they know it feels hurtful but they are made to feel they are the problem child when actually it is the ones in the jealous rage against them. It seems to me we have lived with our lies for so long we have normalized them.

      2. Maybe that is why we have yet to really call abuse out….we don’t want to see what we ourselves accept in our own lives and therefore contribute to the whole.

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