Emotional Self Abuse – How it Works

How we abuse ourselves emotionally with politics.

In your whole life nobody has ever abused you more than you have abused yourself. And the limit of your self-abuse is exactly the limit that you will tolerate from someone else. if someone abuses you a little more than you abuse yourself, you will probably walk away from that person. But if someone abuses you a little less than you abuse yourself, you will probably stay in the relationship and tolerate it endlessly.”

Miguel Angel Ruiz – The Four Agreements

Narrative Stories

Something stood out as very toxic among a couple of people I talked with recently. They were very interested in keeping up with political issues. That’s very good and important. If we don’t consciously and actively participate in the political levers of power, then we are abdicating power to others, likely to decide for their interest and against ours.

However, some elements of the conversation were abusive. People were not abusive or disrespectful to me or others. A couple of people were emotionally and mentally abusive to themselves.

Here is how I saw that self-abuse happening.

I’ll use this from a conversation I had with John.

“I hate that President.”

This might apply to you depending on the political figure. It doesn’t matter which name you put in there. You can use the name of any politician or other person. I’ll use the term X as a placeholder to denote anyone you want.

Being an educated man, John followed with references to his policies, how they negatively impacted people, inconsistencies between his words and actions, and how it proved he was deceitful.

John is the kind of guy that wouldn’t want to have harsh opinions that are reactive. He had done his research and had documented plenty of justifications for his hate. This seemed to make his anger justified, validated, and in a way, solidified it with his opinion.

And so I asked John how he feels about all that hate he has for president X.

“I like it. I enjoy hating that guy”, John said adamantly. It was as if he were righting some wrong and accomplishing some good by all that hate.

And since John was a good friend, I listened, took time to understand him, and I let it sit. I would wait for my time.

It was a day or two later, when we had eaten and were relaxing after a stroll, that I asked him if I could share something and poke around in his business. He agreed. I mention this step of asking permission because I’ve failed to do it in the past, and it generally guarantees to destroy a conversation if I leave this step out.

When John thinks of the president, his mental image is in his own mind. It is a daydream version. This dream version is who John sees when he “thinks” about President X.

When John sends his hate to his dream version, “president X”, the hate is received by his own mind. John’s hate is received by himself.

John has a part of his mind creating hate and sends it to another part of himself that receives the hate. In effect, John feels the hate twice. Once when it is created and once when it is received.


This is Denial that Blinds Us.

The emotional self-abuse is then covered up with denial.

Then denial happens with the self-righteous moral superiority narrative on top of the self-abuse. We don’t notice how toxic we feel when we focus on how right, smart, superior, and justified we feel.

All the self-importance in having done the research, developed arguments, being morally right, and proving the other person as wrong/bad rings in the body as a feeling of justice and intellectual superiority. Feeling superior wraps around the hate and leaves one feeling “good” and “superior” about themselves.

This is ego at work through stories and beliefs. This is how the ego creates emotional self-abuse and tries to make us feel good about it so we don’t notice the toxic game of suffering it is playing on us.

I pointed out to John that he isn’t the virtual president in his mind. But he receives his hate through it.

It isn’t John’s essence or consciousness expressing the hate either. This is a dreamed-up image of his false self expressing hate.

Nor is John part of his mind that enjoys expressing hate. This is just another dreamed-up self-image from his ego mind.

The essence of John is the consciousness that has been entrained in these narrative stories with these false identities.

Change Your World

You might want to change the world and make it a better place. However, you will be much better at it if you aren’t toxifying your inner world in the process.

No change is made in the outside world by polluting your internal emotional world.

It will take a great deal to make your relationships, politics, or the world a better place. And you might need that energy you are wasting on toxifying your inner world to do it.

The first step to this change is the awareness that one is polluting the emotions of their internal world. The second step is to take full responsibility for that.

By taking responsibility, you will claim the agency for making changes.

The fourth step is then to commit to changing your inner world dream.

If you try step four ahead of the other three, you will not be effective in your change.

I hope you find that you weren’t doing such emotional abuse to yourself.

However, if you do, then I hope you find these steps helpful in changing how you treat yourself.

For practical methods to change these self-destructive narratives, start with the free lessons from my Self Mastery Course. 

Beliefs are like walls in our mind limiting what we can see as our choices


Peace be with you,

Gary van Warmerdam