Don’t Abandon Hope

I belong to a survivor email group, through yahoo. Something happened there a couple months ago. It was very upsetting at the time and it still is. Someone wrote to the group and wrote that it was stupid for survivors of abuse to think that they could stop abuse, any abuse, to change anything, to have a positive impact on the world, that abuse never will be stopped.

I was one of the people who wrote back expressing the opposite belief. Several people believed that she must be uncaring. I was one of them. She wrote back claiming to be caring, claiming to care about survivors, that she was a survivor, and that we all need to abandon hope in order to move on and to have a better life. She wrote that survivors were hurting themselves by believing they could make a positive impact on the world. Which pretty much proved to me that she didn’t and doesn’t care about survivors. 

I used to think that nobody told others to abandon hope. It sounds so, I don’t know, Old Testament or something you would read right before being cast into the fiery pits of hell.

Sometimes abusers join survivor groups. Sometimes victims are still acting out their own powerful programming. I don’t know what the real deal is with this person. But they are wrong.

Myself, I’m a pretty positive gal, one could even say hopeful about most things. At the same time I tend to grasp a lot of the issues/problems/challenges I am going through and tend to understand many political issues, perhaps not with as much depth and knowledge as I would like. Do I think I can stop all abuse? Do I think that I can stop any abuse? Don’t know. But I will keep trying.

There’s a story I heard some time ago, it’s just a story, but it is sort of one of those stories that when you hear them, you know, you just know that is what you think, that that story is a part of you, and that it matters to you and perhaps it always will.

This woman, okay I changed the gender, but the concept works for me better that way. This woman is walking down the beach. The tide is going out and leaving many starfish stranded on dry land. You can see they are trying to move towards the water, but slowly. Many will die before getting to the water, from lack of oxygen.

There is a group of people standing around and talking. One woman is walking down the beach and is picking up one starfish at a time and throwing it back into the water. She keeps doing this until she reached the group standing around. They point out to her that there are miles of beach ahead of her and there is no way she can make a difference.

She picks up the next starfish, throws it in the ocean. Turns to the group, says, made a difference to that one. And moves down the beach, continuing to throw starfish back into the sea.

Can I make a difference in someone else’s life? Can I make a difference in another survivor’s life. Can I stop abuse, even for one person? Can I change the world?

Don’t know. But I make a difference in my life. Having hope makes a difference in my life.

8 thoughts on “Don’t Abandon Hope

  1. I love the hope of the starfish story. We never know the difference we can make in someone’s life… even something as simple as a smile can give hope. A smile is an acknowledgement that you matter, that you’re seen… when you’re low, that can make all the difference.

    Take care,
    CG

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    • Hi CG,

      “We never know the difference we can make in someone’s life.”

      I agree. I don’t need to know the future either. I just need to know that I am living a life with a purpose that I find has value and that is good enough for me. I usually find that people who try to get others to stop spreading awareness and who advocate for something good are doing so for negative and unhealthy motives.

      Even if I can’t help stop abuse, that is no reason to stop trying. I am not trying for some grandiose goal, however even if someone’s goal is to stop abuse, that is a good goal, as far as I am concerned.

      Trying has value all by itself. For all of us. For everyone who tries to stop abuse, in their own life, in their own family, in their own community, in their country. We can’t all get up and help pass a law, but we can each do something to help that happen. But we can change our own life, we can heal, we can be friends to others, we can speak our own truth, we can love ourselves and the world.

      People change laws. People make things safer. People change the world. Abusers change the world, not for good. I want to change the world, for better. I stopped abuse in my life and if I hadn’t believed in it and that I deserved it, I might still be involved with a long string of abusers. My life is different, for the better, and I want to pass it on. It seems like a good goal to me, one worthy of me, a path of healing, and a path with heart.

      Good and healing thoughts to you.

      Kate

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  2. Well, if she has chosen to abandon hope, then it is waiting to be picked up and cherished by someone who values it and can give it generously to others. You’re one of those people, and it’s beautiful and wonderful that you are.

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  3. Yes, we all do our bit as we can and that’s the only way I know that things get better.

    I think that the woman on your list has it wrong, but there is something similar to what she’s saying that I believe might be true. I think the grieving process around the abuse often ends with acceptance, which means to me that we ‘give up all hope of a different past’. Sometimes survivors go flailing around trying to change things, because inside we hope (sort of magically) that we can somehow make what happened to us not have happened, if we can fix it for others. I think accepting what actually happened, happened, and we can’t change that is more practical, and then go on to change what we can.

    Good and healing thoughts to you,
    SDW

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    • Hi SDW,

      I agree with you. Grieving is important. We can’t change the past, but we can change the future. We can have a positive impact on it. You make an important point. Thank you for your kind words.

      I believe that the people in the group, though they are grieving and healing, are trying to make a positive change for other children, through beliefs, education, awareness, and advocacy, though they were not protected and safe. Being able to have compassion for other children, I think, is an important part of healing and a necessary one to have in conjunction with compassion for self and your own inner child and/or parts. A part of healing that not everyone reaches or cares to.

      Telling survivors to abandon hope just seems like asking us all to be dead inside. We may have been that way as children, as teens, as adults, but we aren’t like that anymore and nothing will make that seem okay or desirable again. Having true and pure emotions, like compassion and empathy, calls to us to live a life we could not live when we were children, one where joy and hope and change happen. I want, with all my heart, to live in that healing space.

      Good and healing thoughts to you as well.

      Kate

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