Having wrong hope is dangerous and self-destructive, especially true when you are in a relationship with an abusive, controlling, demeaning, or narcissistic person.
For 20 years, I was unaware I was in an abusive, controlling, demeaning relationship with a narcissistic man.
I was living overseas in the Middle East, disconnected from my family, friends or any other support source.
There was no Internet where I could do research to try to figure “it” out.
For those 20 years, I didn’t have either the awareness or the vocabulary for what I was experiencing.
I felt bad most of the time. I took on the responsibility for how I was being treated. “If only” I could change like he wanted me to, then it would be better—because that’s exactly what he told me in many variations for over 25 years.
I wasn’t expecting to have to defend myself in my marriage.
The Wrong Hope
I kept hoping he’d change.
I kept hoping I’d change enough to please him.
I kept hoping that he’d take responsibility for his behavior.
I kept hoping that he’d apologize.
I kept hoping that he wouldn’t be so angry all the time.
I kept hoping that if I loved him enough and did everything he asked, he’d be happy.
I kept hoping that I could make “it” better.
I kept hoping he wouldn’t insult me, demean me or cut me to the core with his razor words.
I kept hoping that I could make the marriage work. I was successful everywhere else, why couldn’t I make my marriage successful?
I hung onto that false string of hope for more than 2 decades–a hope that I created in my mind of what I wanted my life to be like with him.
That wrong hope nearly killed me.
I became physically ill on many levels.
I was emotionally exhausted all the time—I didn’t know cortisol, the stress hormone, was flowing non-stop through my body with no relief.
I became depressed and eventually took anti-depressants.
I had anxiety from being on hyper alert worrying about his next outburst.
The stress bottled up inside me like a pressure cooker with nowhere to go, but it did.
My body “exploded” inside. My body was breaking down. In my early 50’s I walked like a crippled hunched over 90 year-old woman. I could barely get out of the car or walk up the stairs.
I experienced widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues.
These were symptoms of Fibromyalgia which I experienced for over 15 years before I was finally diagnosed when symptoms became debilitating.
I hoped because I wanted this marriage to work out. Marriages are supposed to work out. And, I wasn’t going to be a statistic.
I was turning myself into a pretzel to make this marriage work.
I had to have hope it would work out, otherwise, what then?
What would become of me? Of my daughter?
If you have or had these same fears or doubts, then get on a call with me. There’s nothing worse than thinking you should figure it out alone. Get started here now:
Fear overwhelmed me thinking of the alternatives. I had not worked for anyone other than him for decades except for a few consulting jobs. Few bank accounts were in my name. I was overseas for heaven’s sakes in a part of the world not open to women’s rights.
So I continued to hope he’d change. That was easier than thinking how I could be on my own.
To complicate my view, there were enough sweet interludes of peace and calm for me to hang on to the hope he’d change for good.
Yes, his sweet moments that were better than anything else, that made me doubt myself more and him less.
I set in my mind that this marriage had to work out.
I didn’t associate my illnesses with my stress and falsely directed hope.
Then before I was 50, I had a full hysterectomy.
I continued my life of misdirected HOPE until I became obsessed with suicidal thoughts.
I never executed on those thoughts because I didn’t want to leave my daughter alone with her father.
How I hung onto what I wanted.
How I misdirected blame onto myself because of what he’d tell me.
Thinking that I was in control of another’s life.
It took decades to understand that I could not make him love me the way I deserved to be loved.
To have him care for me with kindness and respect.
My mind went crazy trying to reconcile who I thought he was when he offered little glimpses of sweetness and his other side that was cruel, demeaning, threatening and scary.
How could that be the same person?
False Hope said, “Keep trying, Rosie. After all, he’s not always bad.”
This hope was based on fear—my fear that I couldn’t live without him and his support.
The body was not actually processing hope, and producing the good neurotransmitters.
It was processing fear and producing stress hormones.
And that’s the same for you: That’s why you truly never feel hopeful. You want to feel hopeful, but you are not hopeful. The body knows the truth.
Are you, somewhere in your life and relationships, hanging onto false or wrong hope?
What happened or is happening to your body?
I’ll continue next time on my story of Good Hope, when one day 25 years later, a sliver of Good Hope that was buried deep underneath the layers of abuse whispered to me.
If anything I have shared rings true for you, take the step for yourself and reach out now.
You don’t have to wait 25 years before you take action. Even if you have your physical freedom, but you feel you are still being held back or are afraid to date again, then reach out. It’s your time to create your life. You deserve to be treated with kindness. It’s a beautiful thing.
Get started here now: