Hope. The one thing we think we lose but is never actually lost. It sometimes just lingers in the background. Hope never dies, but simply just fades in the midst of life. Hope is the thing that we held on to for so long in such a traumatic time in our lives. Hope those things would change. Hope those things will get better. Hope that the love that was once there returns back to us. Hope that we survive. And even the hope that we’ll make it out alive.
Hope is the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that things will turn out for the best. Hope is our lifeline during difficult times. Hope gives us something to live for. Hope gives us the strength to survive. Hope is what gets us through each and every day. Hope is an anchor for the soul. Hope is that breath of fresh air that we so desperately need. Hope is the fuel to the fire that burns within us. An Emily Dickinson quote reads: “Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops… at all.”
After leaving a domestic violence relationship the feeling of hopelessness sets in. This comes along with the feelings of shame, embarrassment, guilt, unworthiness, self-blame and denial. The hope we once had gets trampled on by all these other emotions. Therefore, finding it hard to get a grasp on it. Overwhelming emotions wash over us when we first get out. Like any traumatic event, you don’t really see what happened until you have stepped out of it. That is why when a survivor is free from their abuser they experience the shock factor or the aftershock of the events that took place.
While in the relationship the victim doesn’t quite see what is going on. What do I mean? His or her brain is so distorted from the emotional and verbal abuse. They actually believe all the things that were said of them by their abuser. The victim has low or maybe even no self-esteem. From being told that they are nothing or will never amount to anything so many times they start to believe it. When told that no one will love them they end up believing that as well. The injuries of physical abuse heal, but it is the invisible wounds of the emotional and verbal abuse that still remain for long periods of time. With the proper help, these wounds too will heal.
So how do you get your hope back? How do you bring hope back to the forefront? You do it by first acknowledging what you have gone through. Remind yourself that none of it was your fault. Remind yourself that you never deserved any of the abuse. Look in the mirror each day and tell yourself that you are worthy, you are beautiful/handsome, that you deserve the best and nothing less.
In my previous blog “Trust Afterwards” I mentioned setting goals and achieving them. Set realistic goals. Start with one area of your life and set an achievable goal. Maybe something like getting a job, or going to the gym, taking up a class of one of your favorite hobbies (art, music, sewing, fitness classes, etc.) Also, when you achieve a goal reward yourself. This will instill hope and will also empower you.
The greatest example you can give yourself is remembering that you did make it out. Remembering that you successfully followed through with your plan. You were in a horrific experience and you survived. Through surviving that, you can and will survive anything that comes your way. That alone deserves some celebrating.
There is hope. There always will be hope. Hope never leaves us, it never abandons us. We just have to sometimes dig a little deeper within ourselves to grab hold of it. Once we do, we once again become an unstoppable force. We once again realize that we can do anything we put our minds to and set our hearts on. We once again see our worth. We once again see the beautiful person that we have always been.