Wednesday, July 15, 2009


For over three years I've been working on approaches to stop the abuse of people with disabilities within service systems. Being in care should not mean being in danger. Where do we start with abuse reduction? Well, simply said. We begin at home. Not home, the house, but home, the soul.

I've been pretty public about having had a few very down days. I am ultimately responsible for what happens during the down times - not for the down times themselves mind, those come and go as part of the ebb and flow of simply living. But during down times I become a harsh taskmaster, a brutal critic, an abusive overseer. I hurt myself, purposely. I say mean things, with intent. I ridicule past accomplishments. Words that I once ducked when hurled by others, I now aim solidly at myself.

Abuse is not ok.

Nothing justifies abuse.

Even when the abuser and the victim live within the same skin.

I sometimes terrify myself with my lack of control over my ability to be cruel, my eagerness to draw blood. I constantly worry that that capacity for hatred and meanness will spill out of me and into the world. I fear the fact that I am often surrounded by those who have suffered brutality and who look to see if it's in me. I am regularly in contact with those who expect the worst of me even as I struggle to deliver the best.

And I worry, if that mean s'umbitch will unleash himself on those who's goodwill I value.

How do I protect them?

By learning to protect me.

How do I ensure their safety?

By learning to confront me.

I need to value myself as much as I value others. I need to despise the abuse of self by self as much as I despise the abuse of others by others. I need to see that kindness toward self is simply practice for kindness towards others.

Stop Abuse.

Of others.

Of self.

Of hope.


Glee said...

g'day Dave,

Here is an excellent book you could have a read of. "Thick Face Black Heart" by Chin-ning Chu.

Lotta stuff in this book seems weird and not very nice at times but if you persist with reading and have some good thinking time as well it does wonders. Well it did for me anyway!


rickismom said...


Kate said...

Sounds very profound to me.

One Sick Mother said...

Interesting insight.

Thank you.


ivanova said...

That's so great.

If you keep doing this kind of thing, I bet some day your motivation for "kindness toward self" will be different. It will be because you know you're worth it, not just as practice for being kind to others.

Yes, lavish a bit of your kindness on your own self!

Anonymous said...

Easier said then done!

Do we lavish abuse on ourselves in order to protect others from being the victim of abuse from us??

If we are mean to ourselves does it stop us from being mean to others??

Do people that abuse not have the filter that enables them to abuse their selves rather than others??

Not sure if this makes any sense but needed to reflect on this.

I am very hard and abusive to myself but send such love, kindness and compassion out to others. I often wonder if people can really see the true me? I hope not because that would make me need to deliver a whole shit load of abuse back on me.

Thanks for the place to rant and maybe start a healing process??

Brenda said...

Dave, you are so incredibly brave to share the way you have over the past few days. It's one of your many strengths, and a beacon of inspiration for me. Thank you.

theknapper said...

Your words are very begins with us!It's not easy to see our own ability to hurt others but if we want the world to change & live with integrity we need to see all of ourselves and to find out what we need to do with our angry/hurt/wounded places.

Anonymous said...

Destructive self talk is soul destroying. I find it creeping into my consciousness way too often. I have been called a pesimist but I heard an interview on CBC (can't remember who or what) where the fellow said he used to be a pesimist but is really a wounded idealist. This fits better with my view. One of my previous employers said that I had a hard time reconciling theory with practise. I think they meant it as something negative but I see it as a strength. I know (through education and experience) what should be and am upset when the practise falls short.

Herzblut said...


CJ said...


Larry Arnold PhD FRSA said...

I consider the use of the term "people with disabilities" to be offensive and abusive.

The social model opines that the disability is external to us, nothing to do with our impairments but the disempowerment, the disability that is done to us