Hopelessness

Excerpt from Chapter 11 - Emotions

The third core element in trauma knots that usually must be faced is hopelessness. The strategy that one has been employing to avoid the trauma is clearly seen to be hopeless. The struggle to please Mom and Dad is seen as hopeless. The struggle to please others today will never produce the love that one needed when the struggle was adopted so long ago. Once this hopelessness is felt, then the urge to go one's own way is often easily followed.

One crucial psychological problem confronting disadvantaged African-Americans seems to me to be that of hopelessness. "This is a bigoted society that stacks all the cards against me. There is no way I can get ahead." Such difficulties with hopelessness are often compounded by the following belief in entitlement: "In whatever ways I feel bad, the government/society should fix." The fact that the chances of an African-American with a B+ or better average getting to college are better than the chances of whites being admitted needs to be broadcast widely by the media. Many African-American parents feel much hopelessness. Just knowing this fact (Bennett 1992, p. 196) about college availability would change a significant amount of hopelessness and would lead parents to be far more demanding of their children in terms of grades. Parents know a B+ average is easily possible for most high-school students, whatever the color of their skin. Feeling hopeless about society can also obscure a crucial need to feel hopeless concerning one's own parents.

Most everyone would do well to face his own childhood hopelessness concerning his own parents. This hopelessness stage is characterized by tears and grief. It is a difficult stage that we all tend to avoid, because it usually requires that we have faced all the unhappy, unsettling, denied feelings within the trauma knot under consideration. Happily, it is a stage of resolution.

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© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze

 

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Excerpt from Be Your Own Therapist: "Searching for others' approval (i.e., performing for others) is insidious and incredibly widespread. Often our behavior is so automatic that we don't realize that if we followed our own real desires we would act very differently."