I've done a couple of posts before Christmas about our expectations of life or others. In the first one Setting Ourselves Up for Disappointment
fallen angels commented The expectations we place on ourself(ves)are the worst (I'm speaking of we as a system, not the universal "we"). She is absolutely right. The expectations we (victims and survivors alike) place on ourselves are usually the worst!
Unrealistic expectations of ourselves (and others) are another one of those characteristics of survivors of abuse. It just seems to go hand in hand with feeling that somehow we could've, should've, would've. It's easier to believe that being victimized was somehow our fault. So it's easier to believe that we must somehow make it up to those in our lives.
The only way to do that, we tell ourselves, is to somehow be perfect. Or maybe we need to be better, bigger, stronger, more successful whatever it might be to quiet that voice down deep inside that screams how inadequate we are.
In our constant attempts to be ok we tend to give ourselves deadlines we can never meet, challenges it would take a saint to fill, or goals that couldn't be accomplished in two lifetimes. Because no human being could ever meet these goals, we fail, thus proving to ourselves, yet again that we are worthless.
It is a self deprecating cycle that needs to be stopped if we are ever to heal. Learning how to scale these expectations down into something that is reasonable can be a task in itself. Being victims we really have no true measure of what "realistic expectations" are. How can we do this without even an idea of a starting point.
For me it came down to looking at what I was expecting from others as well as what I expected from myself. If I was expecting too much from others and I was expecting twice as much from me, then it was pretty clear that I was really overboard on my expectations of myself. And it opened the door that maybe I was being unrealistic about what I expected from others.
Being able to see that I was applying a double standard helped me to begin to look for another way to do things. Making sure that I wasn't setting myself up in the first place with my unrealistic expectations became an important part of setting limits for myself. With expectations more withing my reach, I found I could be successful after all.
multiple personality disorder MPD dissociative Identity disorder did unrealistic expectations