Are you living with false hope?
They had been friends for years. Good friends. There was a a lot they had in common and they understood one another very well. When Cheryl got upset, though, she would do an inner dive and Pat might not hear from her for weeks. This pained Cheryl greatly and she still hoped that the day would come when Pat would call her up and reach out for support.
When they had been married, he had invariably put his needs first, giving short shrift to her wants and desires. He was the major breadwinner and though she worked too, he behaved as if the money was his and expected her to ask before spending while he purchased all kinds of expensive toys without a second thought. Since their separation, she had hoped that he would be fair and collaborative in dividing up the assets. She was terribly distressed when she found out that he had no intention of trying to work collaboratively and showed no willingness to make the division equitable.
Her adult son had always been rather self centered and often forgot important birthdays and holidays. Nevertheless, the mother always put a great deal of effort into choosing gifts for him and hoped that the day would come when her son might surprise her by showing up with a card or present without having to be prompted or reminded.
She knew that her Dad wasn’t much good at giving warm fuzzies and that he had very high expectations and seldom gave compliments. Nevertheless, she worked tirelessly to gain his approval, often getting the highest grades in the class in addition to performing incredibly well at sports. Despite her desperate attempts to win him over, more often than not his response was to find the one flaw in her performance or to ask: “And where did you lose the other 2 per cent?” Knowing this, she still felt disappointed each and every time he failed to acknowledge her successes.
They had gone out on several dates by this point. Most of the time, she had talked about herself and seemed oblivious to the fact that she had shown little if any interest in him. He was very attracted to her and listened attentively to all she had to say. Though he felt empty and rather invisible by the end of each encounter, he told himself that next time she would be different and that she probably was just nervous. After all, a girl like her had to have a caring, sensitive side.
There is good hope and bad hope. It is good to be positive and to think the best about people. However, when despite all evidence to the contrary, we still cling to the idea that things will be different, we have become enamored with “false hope” and are headed for trouble. In relationships, it is so easy to get caught in the trap of hoping that someone you care about will be different and change. Unfortunately, this is a wicked kind of denial and results in incredible disappointment in the end. If anything, people are who they are and more often than not, people are consistent. Hoping that someone you love will be different next time, is not only unfair to them, it just sets you up for a nasty fall.