I’ve been thinking a lot about self-abuse lately. It’s part of my healing process… dealing with my past experiences of abusive relationships. (yes, there has been one… or two… or three)
And it all starts with myself: my relationship with myself.
Self-abuse is the other side of “abuse”. If you have an abusive relationship with yourself… well, let’s just say that it makes it all the more acceptable to “you” to end up in an abusive relationship. Because you don’t know any other way of relating to yourself. To you, abuse is “natural”.
Self-abuse is at the root of “self mastery”, aka: the process by which you whip yourself into submission so you do something, or stop doing something. (please read Havi’s post on self-mastery. I only know this because of her)
Self mastery looks like saying to yourself “you are going to sit down and do this thing or else! I want no messing about! And I don’t care how you feel about it, you are doing it. Because you have to stop being so sucky.”
This is what I’ve been noticing lately
- Forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do, is a form of self-abuse.
- Forcing yourself to “conform” to what other people are doing, when you don’t want to, is a form of self-abuse.
- Forcing yourself to “like” and “enjoy” what you’re experiencing, just because it’s what other people say you should like and enjoy, is a form of self-abuse.
- Not listening to your pain and discomfort is a form of self-abuse. Not giving legitimacy to your own feelings is a form of self-abuse.
- Withdrawing your own approval of yourself until you “work hard enough” or “get somewhere”. Is a form of self-abuse.
- Forcing your body to respond in a certain way, to adopt a certain shape, is a form of self-abuse.
I may have to write more about each one, but this is a very sensitive topic, so we’ll leave it here for today.
An exercise (if you choose to accept it)
If this post has resonated with you in any way, here’s what you can do:
- Take a few minutes. Say to yourself “I’m going to find out more about this self-abuse thing”. Give yourself a set of time, say 5 minutes, with no distractions or interruptions.
- Spend a few moments just breathing and being there, not doing anything else. (Not surfing the web, or listening to radio)
- Go back to the list above. Read every example carefully and try to see if any one of them “jumps” at you. Notice if any of them make you go “OH” or “OUCH” or “No way, no way, no way” or “pfff, that’s not self-abuse, that’s just how it is”.
- You can write it down somewhere and come back to it in a few days time. And see how you feel after some time has passed.
And if you have any questions, I’m here to help.
This topic is… well, it’s as tough as things get. Being in this process of “finding out about yourself” can sometimes be very difficult… and painful.
Try to be gentle with yourself. As gentle as you can possibly manage.
It’s a process… an ongoing process… and it does get easier in time.