The Power of Hope

by Annie Kaszina on December 22, 2006

It’s easy to underestimate the power of hope in a relationship.

A sense of hopelessness keeps women in a bad relationship long after they should have left.

With
the help of their partner’s carefully chosen words, they know that the
future without him holds nothing for them. (After all, he’s told them that a
future without him holds nothing often enough.)

Isn’t it amazing the way we confuse conviction with authority?

He’s
so convinced that your future without him is hopeless, that you believe
it. Not that he’s ever had any particular talent for foreseeing the
future but, hey, as you lose your own sense of certainty his becomes
more and more powerful.

So here’s the thing: women in an abusive
relationship don’t lose all hope, they just invest it in the wrong
place. They invest it in the pipedream of the relationship finally
blossoming. And with every disappointment, they ‘learn’ once again that
hope is futile.

Actually, hope is one of the great motivators.  It’s only misplaced hope that is futile.

One reader wrote this week asking: “How do I find the strength to leave?”

If you have no hope in what lies ahead, it’s almost impossible to find that strength.

It’s
all a question of focus. There is definitely a rock bottom. As long is
you remain in the relationship it is a movable bottom. An abusive
partner has a talent for lowering it time and time again. You lose the
energy even to dream.

Of course it takes strength to leave. But
never underestimate the strength it requires to stay. It’s like being a
boxer constantly knocked to the ground by a more powerful opponent,
only to struggle up to standing to get knocked down again.

The torment you know feels less intimidating than the torment you don’t.  That’s just the way you’ve been programmed to think.

Once
you drag yourself out of the relationship, your strength starts to
return – or, more correctly, you start to become aware of it.
Self-respect and self-reliance will follow in its wake. So will dreams
and hope.

It doesn’t happen overnight.  But you’ve been through worse and the journey becomes more and more rewarding.

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