One of the most important things I think I learned in the therapy process was about my expectations. I can't even tell you how this finally dawned on me, only that it did. But the discovery of how my expectations affected my happiness was certainly a big eye opener to me.
Not that there is anything wrong with expectations. Expectations are good as long as they are reasonable. But there in lies the problem. Like most victims of childhood abuse my expectations were based on my stunted psychological growth. While I thought I was mature emotionally and looked that way on the surface to many, underneath it all was a very needy child with the expectations that fit her development.
There's a chart that the professionals use showing the developmental stages of a child and the age that each stage most likely occurs. Many experts believe If the child gets those emotional needs satisfied on a regular basis, the child continues to progress on up the developmental scale. If the needs are not met, the child stays stuck in that stage floundering emotionally.
Of course, this is an over simplification and there can be bleed through across the stages just like other things. But looking back on myself, I can clearly see that in many ways I was emotionally stunted as this idea suggests. Big in that area were my expectations of the world.
It's probably easy for most victims to see that what they expect a family to be is far from the reality of what they have lived. But I wonder how many are aware that the expectation that our family will somehow live up to those expectations is unrealistic. There is lots of history that says what each family is capable of/
All of the literature and most survivor's stories speak to families staying stuck in their dysfunction. With only an occasional member here and there ever breaking free to a better and healthier life. So for a survivor to continue to hold onto the hope that a miracle will happen. their family will somehow come around and become healthy is unrealistic.. Expecting this only sets the survivor up for repeated disappointments and heartache.
Once I let go of those expectations, it was actually much easier to let go of my family of origin. I mean, what was the point? If they weren't going to be there for me, they weren't going to approve of me or my lifestyle and so one, what was the point of even dealing with them? None that I could see.
From there I was able to begin to see the other expectations I held that were unrealistic as well.The easiest aspect of this to see is perfection.
We've all heard that no body's perfect, yet many of us expect ourselves to be and those in our family, our co-workers, the mailman, the list goes on and on. Of course this expectation includes life and the holidays as well. No rocking of the boat in any form should happen, and if it does, it is somehow a personal assault instead of the more realistic view that "stuff happens." Such a view of life is bound to be filled with disappointments.
To be continued.............
multiple personality disorder MPD dissociative Identity disorder did expectations