Hope that harms instead of heals.

Photo by  Benjamin Lambert  on  Unsplash

Photo by Benjamin Lambert on Unsplash

Hope is meant to give us a reason to keep going when the going is hard. It’s meant to remind us to look for the good in the bad. Sometimes we twist this and use hope as a reason to stay in harmful relationships.

Even when you have nothing else and everything has gone to shit, you can still have hope. We are encouraged to hope. Hope and struggle on. Cling to hope like a lifeline. Even when it would be better to let go.

Hope has been twisted into a way of keeping people in abusive situations. Society praises the spouse who stays no matter how bad the abuse is because there is always hope for things to change.

We hope they will become different people. We hope they will see how much we love them and they’ll stop hurting us. We hope things will get better and they won’t have that reason to harm with us.

We hope for a future where the people that hurt us are transformed. Usually in a way that is dependent on how much/perfectly we love them.

Hope worked in this way is harmful. It’s not the purpose of hope. Hope isn’t meant to keep us stuck in harmful situations. Hope is meant to help us survive them by getting free of them.

For it to do that, there needs to be a shift in what we hope for.

We can’t hope for other people to change in a way the leaves our safety and well being dependent on them suddenly becoming a different person.

That doesn’t mean never hoping for good things or healing happening for that person. It’s about not twisting that hope into a reason to stay in a harmful relationship. You can hope for good things while doing what is necessary for your well being and safety.

What are you hoping for in your life? Is that hope a lifeline leading to something better or is it a chain keeping you trapped?

If your hopes rely on someone else changing who they are, that is a hope that needs shifting. Try shifting to hopes that focus more on the situation changing instead of people changing.

My hope is that when the opportunities for these changes come, you will be able to act on them.