How do you deal with disappointment, unmet expectations, especially re: relationships? LONG
Post ReplyPost New TopicPosted 1/31/2013 by kerribell in NSBR Board
 

kerribell
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Posted: 1/31/2013 2:33:28 PM
Without going into too much because it would definitely sound like I'm having a complete pity party, which I really am not but I am struggling to work through sort of an epiphany of sorts. In some ways I feel like I had a break thru this morning because I've been incredibly sad, frustrated, on the verge of tears for weeks, maybe months, but just really couldn't figure out why and then this morning while thinking thru a series of events from the last couple of days and last night, I realized that one of the biggest things I struggle with is that I honestly have not ever been chosen by another human being. I have for years wondered why relationships with people were so important to me and why I was such a people-pleaser and why I get my feelings hurt rather easily and this morning I really feel like I realized it's because no one, ever, has truly and simply chosen me. I honestly feel like the people I love and who are important to me just really don't feel the same way about our relationship. I don't know if that makes sense...but I feel like I am always the one initiating contact and making sure that we continue in relating with one another. I just feel like I am rarely thought of and just sort of looked over. And, for the most part, I've come to terms with it...I really have; I love these people and I want to be in a relationship with them, I just want to stop having expectations of them; stop feeling disappointed when they don't relate with/respond to me the way I would like them to. How do I stop feeling disappointed and suffering thru unmet expectations? For example...my mom...most of the time I am totally okay with the relationship we have even tho my mom is not someone I can call and talk to really about much of anything, because she just doesn't do well with emotional stuff and I tell myself I'm okay with that and whatever relationship we have is better than nothing, but then there will be a day where I feel crushed by sadness that I don't have the type of relationship with my mom where I can call and express the fact that I'm struggling with an issue with one of my kids or even call and say, "hey, I miss you, can I come for a visit?" She is very emotionally detached and although I know it's really more about her than me, it still hurts and I just want it to not hurt anymore.

I feel like this is rambly and probably doesn't really make sense, so I can provide more insight or examples if anyone needs them to help me figure out how to practically stop feeling let down by people.

Thanks for letting me get this off my heart.

Blessings,


Kerri Bell
wife to Chuck, hardworking IT guy!
mom to Cayla, Chase, Jonathan, Joshua & Christian
follower of Christ, wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend

Mallie
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Posted: 1/31/2013 2:39:09 PM
I'm not a psychologist, but based upon what you've written about your mother, I'd say:

1. See a psychologist to help you work through:
2. Your mother set up a dynamic in which you learned to be a supplicant for her attention and love because who you were was not enough. You had to please her and give her time/attention/whatever in order to win her love. Since she's never given it to you, she's essentially holding that carrot out for you and you keep running for it. And that has led to:
3. You may have unconsciously chosen to replicate that dynamic in the rest of your life's relationships.

Annabella
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Posted: 1/31/2013 2:47:12 PM

I honestly have not ever been chosen by another human being.

You said you have kids, are you married? Your friends don't call you to hang out?




bobomommy
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Posted: 1/31/2013 2:47:22 PM
Awww Kerri, I'm so sorry that you are feeling disappointed in your relationships. I have felt like this in the past.

I agree with a PP about seeing a counselor. I'll keep you in my prayers, sweetie!


Suzette
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moveablefeast
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Posted: 1/31/2013 3:33:24 PM

no one, ever, has truly and simply chosen me. I honestly feel like the people I love and who are important to me just really don't feel the same way about our relationship. I don't know if that makes sense...but I feel like I am always the one initiating contact and making sure that we continue in relating with one another. I just feel like I am rarely thought of and just sort of looked over.


This to me sounds like the core of what you are trying to communicate. And I really do understand and identify with this. So much.

Here's where I am with it - two sides of e same coin.

First is that expectations are straight from the pit of hell. The more you can separate your feelings from these expectations, the more free you are to love people genuinely.

Second is that we all need to be valued and our presence desired by other people - we need them to think of us, we need to feel important. We do. I get that.

So the solution is finding the balance in between.

My advice is to work on seeing your own value separate from how other people behave. Truly.

And then - just thinking off the cuff here - what if you actively worked on cultivating deeper friendships with one or two people, maybe in a group? What if you set up a girls' night out kind of thing once a month, made it a standing date, to relieve all of you of the need or obligation to seek out that time - and see where it might take you from there?

Just my brief thoughts, for what it's worth.

kerribell
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Posted: 1/31/2013 8:58:51 PM

First is that expectations are straight from the pit of hell. The more you can separate your feelings from these expectations, the more free you are to love people genuinely.


I totally agree with this...I just don't know how to separate my feelings from expectations. I do believe i love people and serve them genuinely without expecting anything in return, except the affirmation every now and then that they are thinking of me or that our relationship is important. Maybe even that is expecting too much? I don't know....


You said you have kids, are you married? Your friends don't call you to hang out?


I am married. We have a pretty good marriage, but it hasn't always been easy. I have always felt like he "settled" for me (long story!) although I do believe he has grown to love me and we have grown in our marriage and are committed for the long haul, but it isn't the love story or "soul mate" relationship that others might have. And yes, I do have kids...4 great boys and a step-daughter and I have a pretty good relationship with my boys (step-daughter is a different story, which breaks my heart). As far as friends...I really don't have any close friends here. I don't know why...in time past, when we lived overseas with the military, I had many close, strong friendships but have not found really any good friends since moving back to the states several years ago and certainly not since moving to SC 5 years ago. I have some "acquaintances" that seem nice enough, but they definitely don't call and wanna hang out.


what if you actively worked on cultivating deeper friendships with one or two people, maybe in a group? What if you set up a girls' night out kind of thing once a month, made it a standing date, to relieve all of you of the need or obligation to seek out that time - and see where it might take you from there?


This is something that seems sorta doable and is good starting point.

Bobomommy...thanks!

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond and letting me vent. I do appreciate it!



Kerri Bell
wife to Chuck, hardworking IT guy!
mom to Cayla, Chase, Jonathan, Joshua & Christian
follower of Christ, wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend

MikeWozowski
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Posted: 1/31/2013 9:37:10 PM
i kind of feel the same way.


i have friends, and people like me, but nobody ever really makes an effort toward me.

i guess i have just gotten used to it.

HannahRuth
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Posted: 2/1/2013 9:28:50 PM

My reading of this is that you are expecting far too much of others in a relationship.

To me to give in a relationship is what you do. What you receive in return is not up to you but to the person giving back to you. They may feel that they are giving it their all but you are not feeling the same way. It is you issue not theirs.

Only you can can make yourself happy. Others add to the mix but if you are relying on others then you are only going to be disappointed - which is how you sound to me.

Maybe you need to step back and really look at what you have and how others add to your life. Maybe counselling would help you with this.


KathrynPea
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Posted: 2/1/2013 10:00:55 PM
I wonder if the beginnings of your marriage is part of this? You really glossed over that. I think it is an integral part of why you feel the way you do.

KathrynPea
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Posted: 2/1/2013 10:01:31 PM
I wonder if the beginnings of your marriage is part of this? You really glossed over that. I think it is an integral part of why you feel the way you do.

Oregon
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Posted: 2/1/2013 11:30:08 PM

First is that expectations are straight from the pit of hell. The more you can separate your feelings from these expectations, the more free you are to love people genuinely.


Moveablefeast, if you feel someone hugging you right now it is me! Thank you so much for these powerful words and I completely get and needed to hear this.


3kidmama
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Posted: 2/1/2013 11:49:56 PM
Have you ever figured out what your "love language" is? The idea behind it is that most of us have different ways of expressing love to others. I show love by giving gifts. I love to put energy and time into thoughtful gifts of things, time, $$, whatever - to the people I love.

On the other hand, my dh feels most loved when I express how much I appreciate him. When I let him overhear me casually "bragging" to our daughters about what a special thing he did for me... he just melts! The flip side of that is if I express disapproval over something he's done for me - it can really wound him.

Now, dh is always telling me and people around me how special I am, how much he appreciates me as a wife, mother etc. That's obviously very sweet, but I feel MOST fully loved when he takes time to really think about a gift that is special just for me (it can be something as simple as a bag of gummy bears ). With that simple gift, he just "spoke my love language" of giving! But when I hear him telling me (or others) how much he appreciates me, I know he is expressing his love for me in HIS love language - that I love that too!

OP, it may well be that the people you love in your life think the ARE communicating how much they love you. But if your "love language" and theirs are different, you likely won't feel it (and neither will they).

Some love languages are "words of affirmation", "giving gifts", "acts of service", "physical touch" and "spending quality time".


Just wanted to toss the idea out there as something that might possibly be helpful? There are several books on love languages if you are interested in reading a bit more.

I"m truly sorry you are hurting tonight, OP! ((((((((((Hug))))))))))

benem
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Posted: 2/2/2013 1:52:16 AM
I know how you feel to a certain extent, mostly because I am unmarried and child free. Therefore I don't even have an immediate family like most people do. I have to accept that for every loved one and friend, I can never be number one just because, they all have their spouses and children.

I focus on being the best daughter / sister / auntie / friend that I can be.

One of the biggest things, for me, is that I believe in love. Love in all it's forms, as opposed to just romantic love or just parental love. I believe that it is always wonderful and important to express love, to create love, to share love.

This helps keep me from feeling bitter and resentful, that it all goes "one way". It doesn't have to come back to me from the person. I can live them and show it in my best way, and that is separate from what they might do.

I hope that makes sense. I'm on my phone.


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Scrappin Bunny
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Posted: 2/2/2013 8:53:32 AM
From someone who has gone through counseling for a similar issue, I think Mallie (first repy) nailed it. Give counseling a shot. It's not a forever thing, but it can take a little time to find the right counselor.

kerribell
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Posted: 2/2/2013 10:04:27 PM
Again, thanks to everyone for taking the time to respond! A couple more thoughts...


My reading of this is that you are expecting far too much of others in a relationship.
You're right...I'm acknowledging this by even posting what I'm struggling with. How do I not expect too much from others? I will say, though, that I don't "want" anything from anyone other than to be told I'm valued and thought of...as stupid and silly as it might sound to some, I just feel like I'm always the one sending the text or making the phone call or making the gift or whatever to let someone know I'm thinking of them or love them. It just gets a little old not being on the receiving end of the same, but I would be totally fine with just a text message saying "thinking of you." I don't want stuff or gifts or excessive amounts of time..... but, still, how do I not have expectations because it's probably not going to happen.

3kidmama...I have read the love language book and know about and understand them. My love language is words of affirmation...not words telling me how great I am, but words affirming and encouraging me that I'm important and valued. It's the weirdest thing because most of the important people in my life don't really value words or put much weight in words so....probably why I feel let down so often. Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts.

I've been doing a lot of praying over the last couple of days and do feel better than I did at the time of my original post. And ... that very same day a friend who I am close with but don't get to see often because we live pretty far apart, posted a really nice "thinking of you" post on my FB page so that helped! Doesn't happen often, but it did this day and it was just what I needed!

Thanks again for all those who took the time to respond.


Kerri Bell
wife to Chuck, hardworking IT guy!
mom to Cayla, Chase, Jonathan, Joshua & Christian
follower of Christ, wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend

KatieBPea
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Posted: 2/2/2013 10:38:59 PM
I haven't read every reply, but agree with what Mallie said about the dynamic from the relationship with your mom setting the tone for the rest of your relationships in your life.

At times you may be expecting too much of others, and at the same time, not enough. (The best example that I can think of is that it would be unreasonable to feel slighted or unimportant if a friend had to cancel lunch plans, but not unreasonable to call a friend out for *habitually canceling lunch plans).

I agree that counseling could be useful in helping you determine what healthy, reasonable expectations are.

I wish you all the best.


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I-95
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Posted: 2/2/2013 11:26:17 PM

My reading of this is that you are expecting far too much of others in a relationship.

You're right...I'm acknowledging this by even posting what I'm struggling with. How do I not expect too much from others? I will say, though, that I don't "want" anything from anyone other than to be told I'm valued and thought of...as stupid and silly as it might sound to some, I just feel like I'm always the one sending the text or making the phone call or making the gift or whatever to let someone know I'm thinking of them or love them. It just gets a little old not being on the receiving end of the same,



I also think a few sessions with a counselor would go a long way to helping you understand your feelings.

I have found that expectations of any kind will usually disappoint you. I'm also one who is the organizer of things, the one who stays in touch etc. but I do it because I want to. I also know that most people are not that way, so I'm not disappointed when others are happy that I do it, but I'm quite clear that if I didn't they probably wouldn't pick up the slack. I don't see that as a reflection on me, just that they are not good at stuff like that.

Everything you do for yourself, and others, should be a gift. One does not expect anything in return for a gift, except maybe a thank you. If nobody is saying thank you, then you're around a bunch of inconsiderate, ungrateful, rude people, and you need new friends. I'm guessing your self esteem is not that great, and you imagine other people having better, more interesting, more loved, more anything lives than you have. The real truth is, they don't.

Anyway, do the things that make YOU happy. If it makes you happy to touch base with friends, do it. It's OK if you're the one who always initiates the contact, but don't expect them to return the favor. If a relationship is truly one-sided, you might need to evaluate the relationship, but if you initiate contact, and they're happy to hear from you, that's all you need.

It's not vital to have a good relationship with your mom, not everybody does. It's not a reflection on you that you haven't made any close friends in the town you've lived in for the last 5 years. it just means that they're not really your kind of folk. The things you wrote about all seem to suggest you're looking for validation about who you are....however, you are the only person who can valid your self worth...and that, I think, is what you need to work on...with a therapist. I hope you do, because your post sounds sad and lonely, and that's never any fun. {{{BIG HUGS}}}

cdncare
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Posted: 2/2/2013 11:31:05 PM
It sure is hard to not have expectations. Sometimes I try to talk myself out of them...but then hit the wall realizing I have needs too! I am busy meeting the needs of everyone else...and neglecting myself. Wish I had more answers for you.....

SweetiePie Pea
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Posted: 2/3/2013 5:37:20 AM
I don't think this is really about friendships. I think it's about your Mom and possibly even some of your marriage (or why you feel you were "2nd best". your husband is there. That makes you #1 honey even if it doesn't always feel like it.

I think dealing with those primary relationships will give you a better sense of feeling wanted than any friendship will (or should IMO) bring.


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kelbel827
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Posted: 2/3/2013 7:31:06 AM
I found a quote on interest awhile back. It says "sometimes we expect more from others because we would be willing to do that much for them"

That hit me one day, and I realized that in order for me to not get so worked up over little things and decided that I would not expect anything from anyone.
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