My Miscellany: Unrealistic Expectations PT. I
Three Part Series, written in 2017, Unrealistic Expectations discusses the pressures we can place on ourselves, but mainly others, in our various dealings with folks. Personally AND professionally.
You might want to refill your coffee for this. I have been in an incredible relationship with Bec for just over 3.5 months. (HI!) My temptation here is to write it all out for you, but I won’t; it’s not the purpose of my post.
There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that will be together forever. I thought I knew what love was, boy was I wrong! And you know what? We WILL be forever together, if I manage to get my head out of my ass.
Let me explain:
With very few exceptions, things have been going along incredibly well. But over the last two weeks or so I began to feel more and more distraught. Why didn’t she seem to respond as I thought? Why wasn’t she putting out the emotions I expected? Why wasn’t she answering my questions about “issues” I was having? Notice any trend in that paragraph? Ya, too many she’s and not enough I’s.
Also, pretty much through our entire relationship I have not been handling my emotions very well. Feeling emotions too intensely, feeling them too often, creating emotions and situations, and on and on. I knew better than to not apply my Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Skills to my relationship; they have been working so well in other areas of my life. But I failed to take notice of my lack of work on this. Bottom line:
Yesterday I had two major emotionally demanding episodes that made me realize, I had to take a step back and take a hard look at what was happening. There was no way I was going to crash and burn Bec and Me. YOU CAN BET THE FARM ON THAT! So I told her I was taking the weekend to figure things out. Ya, a whole two days. But I’m a quick learner.
During my morning coffee I was contemplating how I got us into this mess, and how I was going to go through an entire weekend without my best friend, A friend who I had been in contact with every single day without fail since February 22, 2017. And suddenly two words just hit me like lightning: emotional pressure.
Yes! That’s what it must be like dealing with me sometimes! I put her in an emotional pressure cooker…wait a minute, that sounds a bit odd. I grabbed my phone and within a minute I came across truly dreadful words: UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS. Ugh. The very thing I promised her I would not do, I was doing with full force. I had always told her that I never wanted to overshadow her, that I always wanted to make sure she has the room to be who she was and how she was. And I wasn’t delivering.
A favorite thing I love to say to her is that “I will not walk behind you, so you might feel me pushing. I will not walk in front of you, so you might feel me pulling. I will walk beside you, so you might feel my love.”
In the interest of satisfying my own unrealistic needs and wants, I lost sight of the importance of maintaining that. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been a complete ass, there are many many fantastic things about us–and my part in this relationship–but this needs fixing pronto!
It’s no wonder I felt so terrible. It’s no wonder I am sure she started to feel it. It’s no wonder she had fewer and fewer answers for me: Some of my expectations were so unreasonable and so impossible to meet, she must have started to feel smothered, started slowly to shut down emotionally, and I was feeling denied. Isn’t it fun when you’re sitting around one day, a year of recovery under your belt, and you discover that work on yourself is not nearly as completed as you think? No, not fun at all.
And as if that’s not good enough, guess what the number 1 and number 2 killers of relationships are? #1. Lack of Communication #2. Unrealistic Expectations! And most of the research I’ve gone through on this is usually unkind to the “perpetrator” of said expectations.
As if I am intentionally trying to be control, wield power, cause victimization. It’s actually a bit funny. Here’s some of the reasons I have discovered for why people are likely to create unrealistic expectations both on themselves and their partners:
Childhood Abuse Abandonment Issues Low Self-Esteem
Sexual Abuse Lack of Healthy Examples Substance Abuse
Lack of Adequate Parenting Repeated Relationship Failures Poor Interpersonal Skills
This list in and of itself is pretty much self-explanatory. I did find it quite interesting that a majority of psychiatric sites blamed this, as well as maladaptive relationship tendencies, primarily on the individual’s need for re parenting. Yeah, looking to be parented again because the first go around was so much fun. No thanks!