If No One Is Around To Receive It, Is It Still Abuse?

Sarah Saxby

Sarah Saxby

I'm an intuitive coach and visionary focusing on personal transformation and spiritual business coaching. I'm here to support your creative endeavors, develop holistically, and empower your highest sense of direction so you can see what you have been missing to achieve personal and collective potential.

If No One Is Around To Receive It, Is It Still Abuse, featured image

I’ve pondered this question many times. It’s like the saying about a tree falling in the woods. I mean, someone has to be around to hear it, right? If no one is in the woods, does it even matter if it makes a sound or not?

It’s the listening that gives it meaning and power, I would think. Then we could ponder the many different perspectives on how the tree falling actually sounds. Loud, not so loud, creaking, snapping, booming, all that. But at the end of the day, it’s the individual that receives the “falling tree” communication, processes it, and gives attention to it, or not.

I believe this can be similar to abusive relationships. Now, when we were kids there was very little we could do to get ourselves out of family situations. That was pretty much our base and foundation from where we learned our behavior, where we were hard-wired, conditioned, and prepped for the upcoming world of human interactions.

But now, flash forward 10, 20, 40+ years and we still find ourselves in less than desirable encounters and relationships. We still begrudgingly agree to do things we don’t want to do. We still allow people to make condescending and or inappropriate remarks and laugh it off as if it doesn’t matter…or deeply hurt.

We still self-sacrifice and put ourselves and our needs last to make sure our environment remains “positive,” although temporarily. We still work in environments where we’re taken advantage of and held over a barrel because of the need for an income.

The question I’ve been asking myself lately is… WHY? Why not speak up? Why not ask for what we want? What are we afraid of? Why do we allow this to happen?

a sad woman slump over a table with a book and cup of coffee beside her, representing the article "If No One Is Around To Receive It, Is It Still Abuse" by Comfortable Hell

I recently had an interaction with someone who VERY inappropriately made some sort of jackass comment about me wearing lingerie for him.

Now, in my brain, the first thought was WTF just came out of his mouth? But, because of the awkwardness, my fear of confrontation, and also my resistance to making him feel really stupid, I pretended like I didn’t hear it and just kept talking about something else.

As I think back, I ask myself why I didn’t just say “ummm, what did you just say?” Also, “why would you say something like that?” It seems so incredibly simple, but I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to experience such discomfort, so really what I said to this guy was “it’s ok for you to say stupid shit like this to me because I’m a punching bag of nonsense. Please, carry on.”

I’ve been so mad at myself over this particular situation because I had such an opportunity to stop abuse in its tracks, but I didn’t stick up for myself… AGAIN!

As I write this, some clarity just showed up (I love when this happens).

Take this lingerie sitch, for example. If I actually turned the tables and asked this joker why he would EVER find it appropriate to say something like that to me… he might get mad at me. He might not like me anymore. He might make my life harder. He might think I’m a bitch and tell other people that I am, too. Oh, God forbid.

I mean, so what if he’s mad or feels like an ass. So what if he thinks I’m a bitch for setting a boundary… I’m sure he’d find some other way to dislike me in the future for much less of a reason. Why does that matter so much to me?

I can do all of the positive affirmations in the world, but at the end of the day, I still want everyone to like me. If they don’t, I am worthless.

You know, I heard one of the teachers at the Kabbalah Centre say once that if you arrive at your deathbed and everyone likes you, then you did something wrong. People who really change the world are going to have haters and most certainly have to be strong enough to take it.

If I set boundaries, stick up for myself, and help others achieve their potential and there are still people that don’t like me, guess what? I’m on the right track!

If I would just stop making myself so freaking available and open to take in and accept these abusive people, they will cease to exist. It’s not abuse if I refuse to receive it.

image of a smiling black woman with text overlay of a quote from the article "If No One Is Around To Receive It, Is It Still Abuse" by Comfortable Hell

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