Tags: acceptance, disappointment, expectations, managing expectations in relationships, The Disappointment Cycle

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As I pondered discussing the topic of practices we can adopt to change the course of our relationships and life experiences, I stumbled into an important realisation about expectations: Sometimes people want us to continue to have the same expectations of them even though they’re not that person. I do a deep dive into this subject on this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions because we need to break the disappointment cycle that these expectations bring.

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Some nuggets from the episode

A major source of hurt over expectations are our repeated attempts to be heard and seen by someone. Examples of some of the things we do include:

  • Trying to get them to own up to something from the past.
  • Broaching certain conversations or disclosing personal experiences that they don’t seem open to hearing even if it’s not about them per se.
  • Wanting to admit abuse, neglect or a cover-up.
  • Trying to get them to make up for the past.
  • Wanting them to take our side or put us first.
  • Pushing them to show more empathy or emotion.
  • Wanting them to live up to potential we’ve forecasted for them.
  • Wanting them to follow through on promises.
  • Hoping that they will be less self-involved.
  • Wanting them to be a different kind of person or to play a role.

In trying to be the person we think we need to be to ‘get’ this person to meet our expectations, we become someone we’re not. It might block us from, for example, being in a loving romantic relationship.

  • When we are in a pattern of expecting, sometimes the person wants you to keep doing so because it makes them feel good about themselves. Us trying so hard can also suggest that the problem is us. This person might feel entitled to someone massacring themselves for their attention, affection, approval, love or validation.
  • If we accept someone for who they are and have healthier boundaries, it strips the relationship of the illusions that propped it up.
  • When someone realises that they we won’t dance to their beat anymore or that we’re, quite simply, in a space of acceptance, and they’re someone who relies on being in control or likes the validation of our pursuit, they might try to reignite our expectations. They might act like or promise that they will be who we want. As flattering or even validating as it might seem, it would be for the wrong reasons.

Sometimes we mistake having unmet expectations and trying to get the person to meet them for loving them.

  • It’s hard when our parents aren’t who we want them to be. The little kid inside of us still hurts. But pursuing this validation and, yes, payback results in us busting our boundaries in the process. It causes self-abandonment.
  • They are who they are. Don’t blame someone’s deficiencies on your worth or make out like you should have been able to make them different. That’s a lie that causes a great deal of suffering for you.
  • Engage with people who you’ve previously felt frustrated by your expectations at the sweet spot of the relationship. Work with them in the space that feels good and right for you instead of trying to force them (and you) to be something they’re not. And, yes, sometimes that sweet spot means distance. If your relationship works best when you’re not living in each other’s pockets or asking them to do the thing that you know isn’t their forte, spend less time with them — and enjoy that instead. Stop getting them to do the thing.

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Listener questions can be emailed to podcast AT baggagereclaim DOT com and if there’s a topic you’d love me to talk about, let me know!

Nat xxx

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