Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will break our hearts. Robert Fulgham

In 2004 I wrote on the subject of abuse. (aka Misuse, insult, malign, deceive, harm – A very touchy subject when you look at it closely.) Whenever I am anything other than loving towards a person – including when I find myself not wanting to be with them, or annoyed by them, or looking down at them – I am probably showing it, and this is abusing their potential and the presence of their higher self. Look at how you feel when it happens to you!yelling

(“Be Kind to Yourself” by me – other tracks are at

This is what I wrote back then  – “Abuse is use of any means by which anyone illegally diminishes another person, makes a person do what they don’t want to, or stops a person from doing what they desire to do. However, behaviour can be implied to be proper and fair (i.e. not abusive) even where it is not against the law. It is the controlling thinking that defines using : hence ab-using. Unfortunately most abusers try to make it seem that their behaviour is supported by society in general.

You may have read of the twisted logic to attempt to justify self-behaviour of the …

  • Minister: It is morally right to hit children cause the bible tells us we should not spare the rod!
  • Caste punishers or racists: These people are not entitled to their rights, so it is OK to do to them what I would not agree is right for me or others.
  • Soldiers or terrorists: We are at war, which is condoned by the government/leadership, so my actions are correct!
  • Controlling partner: You are married, so you have to obey me!
  • Rapist or paedophile: I am doing this because the victim wanted me to be sexual with them!

 So going back to the old saying “Sticks and Stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you.” Physically…

However what about emotionally?

weeping angel

Abuse can also be

  • withholding love or care
  • forcing views based on the authority of external powers, especially God or other spiritual forces
  • demanding sexual activity by obligation
  • inferring that a child could be responsible for seduction, or deserve physical punishment
  • blaming the victim, so the victim believes they are the cause
  • where the majority of society believes it is right to control others  (e.g. China under the cultural revolution)
  • talking until someone is so befuddled and emotionally fragile (eg sleep deprived, argued out) that they appear to want or ask for something that later they realise they were tricked


Jumping back to this week, I read a book called “The Emotionally Abusive Relationship” by Beverly Engel. Beverly’s book was good, it outlined, supported, and greatly expanded the awareness I had many years ago. Reading it enabled me to process further the  understanding of the issues behind my divorce.

So, given that abuse does not continue unless the abused partner allows it (by staying), why do people (including me) allow themselves to be treated in ways that lower life energy, such as:

  • Accepting your partners demands they are right
  • Believing that they are superior to you
  • Trivial or unreasonable demands and expectations
  • Not putting up with unreasonable accusations and blaming
  • Withholding of affection or attention

If you picked up that some of these things are not behaviours but attitudes, you are correct! Beverly Engel says “We need to include the word attitude in our definition of emotional abuse”. Once we accept that attitude can be harmful, just like sticks and stones, it frees us to be kind to ourselves.

So this has been a helpful process for me, to understand how I was wrong in allowing myself to be put down or denigrated without standing up for myself.

“If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good.” Thomas J Watson