“A Definition of the Word Abuse” is excerpted from The Spouse Abuse Tutorial located at http://www.comcom121.org/abuse.

We begin with a definition of the word abuse.

If you do a Google search for “define: abuse”, you’ll get about 30 definitions, no two are the same; there is no agreement about the definition of abuse.

In my experience studying the subject of abuse for over 33 years, I have found no two teachers or judges that have the same definition of the word abuse.

All the energy and money spent on preventing, eliminating, reducing, or controlling abuse is to no avail until we agree on its definition.

As you read About the Spouse Abuse Tutorial you will end up with an expanded definition of the word abuse.

Here’s the definition of the word abuse we'll be using throughout the tutorial.

Abuse: Any interaction, any communication (verbal-nonverbal-psychic), that detracts from the aliveness, well-being, or serenity of another.

A way of acting, to include silence, withholding the truth or parts of it, avoiding (not answering a question), lying, frowning, pouting, smirking, stink-eye, thwarting, insulting, putting down, invalidating, condescension, raised voice, frightening, upsetting, shocking, yelling, screaming, jabbing, pushing, shoving, jerking, grabbing, yanking, pulling another's arm in upset, spanking, slapping, bringing to one's senses with a loving firm slap, hitting, punching, or kicking.

Equally important: It is abusive to create space for the above. You have an effect on others. You communicate merely by standing silently in a crowded room. Living from mediocrity abusively saps everyone’s energy; without your enthusiastic commitment to having life work anyone around you follows your lead and unknowingly succumbs to imperceptible, yet never the less, suicidal behaviors such as doing/eating things you know are not healthy. With each interaction you either add or detract from another’s aliveness. Leaving someone as they were in effect saps their energy. Both you and they arrive home exhausted instead of energized from the day’s interactions. It is unethical to sap another’s energy.

Space: Space here refers to your ground of being. It refers to the effect you create merely standing in a room. It’s the unconscious signals that emanate from you; some people call it one’s aura. Without you in another person’s life, the content of your life and theirs would be different.

Knowing you have no business being in a personal relationship, that you need therapy, that no one around you can be happy in your present condition, and going another twenty four hours without getting help, is abusive to anyone in your life. With abuse there are no victims, only co-creators—each participant lying about their cause in the matter.

Creating space for abuse is also called entrapment http://www.comcom121.org/abuse/about4.htm#entrapment.

2 Communicate: How we communicate (verbal, nonverbal, psychic, intentional, conscious and unconscious)…our leadership-communication skills…generates the results we produce for ourselves and all with whom we relate. You cannot not communicate. It’s mostly our unconscious nonverbal communications that cause abuse. It’s the silent waves of thwarting disrespect, condescension, self-righteous judgementalness, and unhappiness that emanate from us that invalidates another. It thwarts their potential. It hurts them. Until you commit yourself to mastering communication you will hover in mediocrity doing your imitation of communication, which keeps everyone around you stuck in mediocrity.

3 Mediocrity: Doing complete work generates energy for yourself and those around you. It inspires. Doing sloppy incomplete work detracts from your aliveness; it creates disillusion in those with whom you relate. For example: Anyone who resorts to regular use of mind-altering drugs is surrounded by others stuck in mediocrity. No one is in communication with them. There are no exceptions to this phenomenon. Lying, pretending you’re not a leader in your family and community produces undesirable consequences. Living from mediocrity is the breeding ground for abuse.

Note: This definition is still being refined. Add your comments or feedback here or on “Need help creating definitive definition of the word abuse.” http://www.bigislandforum.org/forums/index.php?topic=88.0

Author's Bio: 

Kerry has been a leadership-relationship communication skills coach in Hawaii for 33+ years. He is president of Community Communications a 501(c)(3) nonprofit education organization.