Staring into the abyss (or gaze into the abyss) is a proverb, which is the short version of “stare into the abyss, and the abyss stares back at you.” The abyss is a dark, bottomless space where your worst fears reside. By staring into the abyss, you are waiting for the darkest parts of you to consume your thoughts.
You can use the expression “stare into the abyss” when you’re trying to describe the effect of understanding the dark side of you that you hide from everyone else due to social pressures and expectations.
The phrase is usually said when talking to other people about their behavior or others. The expression is a warning that letting your dark side control your thinking could lead to disastrous results.
The origin of the phrase staring into the abyss comes from the pen of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.
Beyond Good and Evil was Nietzsche’s most spectacular work, making the man one of the most highly-regarded members of early western philosophy. The book was published in 1886, and featured the phrase “stare into the abyss.”