False Hopes and Stockholm Syndrome
Date: 5/2/2011 8:13:48 AM ( 10 y ) ... viewed 2656 times
A "false" hope is an unrealistic wish that has no chance of becoming true, and becomes an emotionally paralyzing focus. False hope factors heavily into the cultivation and intense perpetuation of Stockholm Syndrome with regard to domestic violence and abuse.
Again, CAPS are intended to emphasize, and not interpreted as shouting.
So, is Soulful suggesting that maintaining "hope" is a bad thing to do? Heck, NO! Hope can be a powerful and positive healing energy. But, "false" hope is an emotionally crippling endeavor when an unrealistic wish becomes an internal focal point that supercedes reason, and replaces a human being's responsibility to take action to facilitate change. The old addage goed like this: If wishes were fishes, nobody would ever go hungry.
In situations of domestic violence and abuse, false hope for an improved or healed environment is cultivated by the abuser, whether it is intentional, or by pure random success. To put this concept into perspective, we need only to consult the basic principle in the overall development of Stockholm Syndrome: the ABSENCE of abuse is inerpreted as an intentional act of KINDNESS. The false hope is generated when the abuser makes promises that they have no intention of keeping. For instance, the victim begs the abuser to get counseling and the abuser responds by saying, "I'll get counseling when I can afford it." The carrot of counseling is dangled in front of the victim with conditions applicable: WILL go when there's extra money. Now, the victim is accutely aware that family finances are in the proverbial pits, and that there will NEVER be extra funds available. BUT' the abuser has made a promise, and it's interpreted by the victim to be valid, so the false hope is generated and the victim falls into compacency - the abuser's going to get help, so everything will be fine.
In my case, the early days were full of all sorts of promises from securing employment, to paying off private "loans" to friends and family, to maintaining moral support to me in finishing my degree. Of course, all of the abuser's promises were never realized and he LEARNED to avoid making "promises," and would give vague assurances, instead: maybe, we'll see, if you _____ I might consider it, etc.
How many victims have heard the assurance, "THIS time is going to be different," from their abusers? The false hope that it WILL be different removes the responsibility of action from the victim, and this is to be understood because the VICTIM has been named as the party responsible for every aspect of abuse that they are subjected to:
* If you had just agreed with me, I wouldn't have had to hit you
* You buy too many extras, so I can't trust you to get groceries on your own
* If you would do what I wanted, I wouldn't have to force myself on you
* If you would just take care of the kids' discipline, they would RESPECT me
* If you would just STOP getting sick, I might be able to save some money
And, so on.
After a while of the barrage above, anybody would perceive the ABSENCE of abuse as an act of KINDNESS and put all of their faith in false hopes that "things will be better." When reality finally causes that fish to smell, victims realize with cruel clarity that things will NEVER get better and experience the dashing of their false hopes, so why even bother to hope, at all? It is a grave, and sometimes fatal, error to place hope upon the word of someone who has proven over, and over, and over that their promises are entirely empty and devoid of meaning. It will NEVER change and it will only get worse, guaranteed.
In order to take control of their lives, victims will identify and NAME their abusers as perpetrators of damage, take positive steps to exit the situation, and extract themselves from the relentless consequences of Stockholm Syndrome. It isn't easy, especially when we compare existing in an abusive environment to the Salem witch trials: if you just5 confess to being a witch, we'll demonstrate kindness and mercy by lopping off your head instead of burning you alive. "If you just believe me THIS time, you can relax and not expect to be raped or beaten if you stand up for yourself or the kids."
We cannot Survive on the empty promises of an abuser, nor trust to false hopes that the abuser will miraculously WANT to stop their objectification of their victims. We are only able to facilitate change within our own Selves, and that means taking control of every aspect of our own lives WITHOUT keeping the abuser in our lives. Yeah, it's scary to change, and we have been programmed by our abusers to believe that we cannot Survive without their "move," income, spiritual mandates, etc, via the climate of Stockholm Syndrome. But, there comes a time when even an abused animal that's chained and beaten can try to flee their abuser. It CAN be done, and living in an environment that is FREE of abuse and violence is the greatest kindness that we can gift ourselves with.
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