by Patty Hite
The dictionary states: Hope is a belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life.
I take this as meaning that I have to believe in a positive outcome. I have to believe in the healing methods in order to overcome the effects of my abuse. I have to believe.
I’ve always had someone or something invade my thoughts about hope. My abuser told me, “I know you are hoping that you can escape from me, but you won’t.” “I know you think you are smarter than me, but you’re not.” “I know you think you can stop me, but you can’t.”
When my daughter had leukemia, the doctors told me, “There is no reason to hope because she will die.” “I don’t want you to waste your energy on having false hope, you need to prepare yourself for her death.” “You think you are in hope, but you are actually in denial.”
My family told me, “Just get through high school. You’ll wind up getting married anyway.” “No, you can’t move back home, you made your bed, now lay in it.”
The loudest voices came from inside me. “I deserved to be abused.” “If I was a better wife, maybe he wouldn’t beat me.” “I have nowhere to go, I might as well just take it.” “If the kids would pick up their socks, I wouldn’t get so angry.” “If I smoke enough pot, I can drown out the pain.”
Now that I know there is a way to change my belief system into a new me, the voices still continued. It was a constant battle within me. Like the good angel and evil devil sitting on each shoulder. One would tell me I can do it. The other would tell me to give up. I battled with this for a long time. I would make great steps in healing, and then I would pull back. Take a few more steps, then pull back.
I remembered a dream I had shortly after my daughter was diagnosed with cancer. A robber broke into my home and grabbed my daughter. I heard a voice say, “If a robber came into your home and grabbed your daughter, what would you do?” In the dream I said, “I would fight with everything in me.” The voice said, “Then fight and choose life.”
It was this dream that kept me fighting for my daughter’s life. I spoke life into her. I wouldn’t allow any negative talk around her. The doctors and nurses were not allowed to talk about her prognosis in her room. Family and friends who visited were only allowed to speak life around her. I spoke daily to her about her future. She would ride a bike, go to college, get married and have babies. To this day, she doesn’t remember being sick, but she does remember believing that she would be okay.
This is what brought hope back to me. This is why I refuse to allow a negative thought in. If I can fight for my daughter’s life, then I need to fight for mine. This is a life and death choice as far as I am concerned. It’s dying to the old and living for the new. It’s saying goodbye to the voices of defeat, blame and shame and saying hello to the voices of value and worth, ability and trust, love and justice, creativity, knowledge, assertiveness and boundaries.
We have to believe in the steps we are taking toward healing. We have to have hope that we can overcome the effects of our abuse. It is more than just believing in hope, it is doing everything it takes to achieve healing. Re-visiting our abuse, reliving the pain, the emotions, the thoughts, and how we reacted to that abuse. It’s learning how to live a life with boundaries and making decisions. It’s accepting healthy relationships and learning how to trust. It’s doing. It’s being a partner with healing.
When the voices of defeat whisper in our ear, we need to be strong enough to tell them to shut up. To not obey them, and to have the courage to overcome them. It’s refusing to allow defeat to hold us back and keep us from hoping for a better life and a much improved us.
We are free now. And as adults, we are able to choose life. We are able to choose a new life.
As a survivor of emotional, physical and sexual abuse, Patty Hite has been tenaciously pursuing her healing for over thirty years. She’s a passionate advocate for all survivors and dedicates her life to inspiring emotional wholeness in others. As a former victim of spousal abuse, she’s delighted to find true love with her husband of five years. She’s blessed with four children and six grandchildren.
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