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The dilemma of hope....


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#1 library_lady

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 11:56 PM

Throughout this week, as I've been reflecting on my thoughts and feelings, I keep returning to a feeling of dissatisfaction with how nice Mr. Furious is being (for him, anyway). I am not a masochist; I absolutely wish I had fled the first time he called me the b word or broke something in the house. However, I feel thwarted by his good behavior because I find myself so easily slipping into the mindset that maybe things aren't so bad. I start to have hope, I begin to trust him and let my guard down, and from there I slip down the slope of self-blame: I begin, against all reason, to accept responsibility for the abuse. I begin to think that maybe I did do something to deserve being treated like garbage. It's very easy for me to doubt myself when he is acting like a decent human being.

I hate it! The only thing that pulls me out of that rabbit hole of self-indictment is to run through a mental list of many of the atrocious things he has done and said to me over the years. This, too, I loathe because it forces me to relive the past horrors of our relationship.

I know that the ability to hope and trust proves that I'm generally a good human being, but it certainly makes it easy for him to hurt me again when he is so inclined. I can't put any faith in this hope, because there is no happy future for our relationship.

I find myself wishing he would be abusive again just so that I could feel justified in leaving him. I actually dislike the niceness because it makes me more vulnerable, and I still have to keep going over and over his past transgressions so that I won't get completely broadsided when the rage monster surfaces again.

#2 SteffieB

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 12:14 AM

I can so relate to what you're saying. At first, the good times are what you live for and what you think is your real relationship that all that bad stuff interrupts and damages. It takes some time to realize that the opposite is true...the bad stuff is more real and the nice stuff is the bait that keeps you hoping. After a while, I found myself resenting him when he was being really nice or would do something nice for me. I would think "That didn't come from his heart. He doesn't think highly enough of me to think that I deserve any of that. He's just playing a game on me. Any minute now, he's going to start finding fault with me and putting me down again. Oh sure, joke and laugh with the woman whom you think treats you soooo badly, right." I would be unable to really enjoy the good times because I knew what pain was coming when he took the good times into a nosedive and abused me again. I found myself getting angry at him for pretending, because I knew after a while that it really was pretending. He was having to hold back his real self in order to create the illusion of a relationship. And it works to a point too, because as you say, you start wishing they would show their real faces so that you could feel justified in ending it. And that's crazy, really. I mean, if someone shoots your dog on Wednesday and mows your yard and weeds your garden on Friday, you wouldn't be okay with them and feel badly about being angry at them because they did something "so nice" for you two days later. We get conditioned to accepting that sort of thing in an abusive relationship, though. We get Stockholm Syndromed so hard that we need for them to be mean so that we can leave, when really all we have to do is decide that we're leaving because it's an abusive relationship and the nice guy act is just as much abusive as the yelling and name-calling is.
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#3 Rachel

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 05:23 AM

I mean, if someone shoots your dog on Wednesday and mows your yard and weeds your garden on Friday, you wouldn't be okay with them and feel badly about being angry at them because they did something "so nice" for you two days later.


Well put Steffie.

The best hope we have is to get out in one piece and be able to recover from the abuse. The nice guy act is confusing, but it's pure manipulation. It's part of the grooming. If they were nice guys, none of us would be on this board :)
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#4 oneness

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 06:56 AM

I know what you are going through...I really used to hate having hope in my relationship with O. Having hope about yourself, about your life getting better is a good thing. The false hope given you by the partner who you wish deep down in your soul would change is destructive in my experience, and Inlearned not to hope anymore.

Once O asked me what he hoped for our future...I told him I had no hope and there was no future - because he had not done the hard work to change. He did not like that and said we should go our separate ways....but I could not lie and give him false hope and he had failed me so many times, there was no way I was going to open myself up for that hurt again!

"hope springs eternal," not a good saying when you are hoping an abuser has or will change!

#5 maryliz01

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 08:15 AM

I can definitely relate to your feelings, thanks for posting so I know I'm not alone. One thing that has helped me is that I started writing down all of our interactions. Then I could clearly see the good and bad cycle. It used to be when he was being "nice" I could remember a few days ago crying and crying and him screaming or being cruel but couldn't remember all the details exactly.

Edited by maryliz01, 24 March 2012 - 08:16 AM.


#6 Hockymom

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 08:55 AM

I think every EA/VA member on here can relate to this in some manner.
I was always waiting for Mr Hyde to appear when he was being "nice".

#7 cocomama

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 09:01 AM

Yes my mr nice has reappeared and I hate it as well. I always think if you are really like this why aren't you all the time? Answer is he is a good actor. Lol I hate it even more when others fall for it makes me roll my eyes most of the time.

#8 Maddie_NY

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 07:10 PM

Hmm...yes, ditto. I used to drive myself nuts thinking "he loves me, loves me not". And I would keep hoping, till the next time. But I think the niceness had nothing to do with me and what I deserved, and everything to do with him. Brought flowers not because he felt bad that he hurt me, he did it to feel better about himself. And he was being nice whenever other people were around. Kill one bird with two stones....the guy seems sooo nice, he surely has a potential; and other people think he is nice too (in fact his mother once said to me "see how good you have it?")! So what's wrong with me? And the guilt surely followed...and resentment towards him. And so on...complicated and confusing.

#9 Kris

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 07:15 PM

Yes, I know what you mean! It amazes me as to how willing we are to let seriously bad behavior be "bygones" with just the slightest hint of nicer behavior. But Steffie, your example was so illuminating.

I guess this is one reason why it is so strongly recommended to go "no contact" with your abuser once you have gotten away. Unfortunately I don't have that luxury right now so I think I do have to be ultra careful not to get sucked into accepting less than I deserve just to keep the peace. We've been tentatively discussing the settlement terms and his idea of what is fair is not a 50:50 split, but I've been leaning towards not going 50:50 just to keep the peace. But you give an inch and he takes a mile... and maybe he's just a great actor or maybe he really believes it, but he carries on like what he is proposing IS "even"!!! I guess I am trying to be accommodating since we well may still be working with each other when the divorce is finalized. But... we'll see. At a certain point, it really doesn't matter to me anymore and in many ways it probably really would be better for me to not work with him.

In any case, for this reason and others I really do urge anyone who divorces an abuser to try to go no contact as much as possible!! Obviously sometimes that can't be done 100% if there are kids or the work situation is such, but still -- to the maximum extent that you can, it's probably a good idea to try to not have contact!

#10 thebewilderness

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 07:38 PM

Brought flowers not because he felt bad that he hurt me, he did it to feel better about himself.


Yes, I think that is it! Once I finally accepted that everything was always about them, no exceptions, I came to the realization that the nice person behavior was to show themselves that they were not the abusive person they had shown me that they were. I think that is why it seems so phoney. Because it is. They weren't actually being a nice person. They were just doing the stuff they thought a nice person would do.
Does that make sense?




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