Unrealistic Expectations – OVER (Part 1)


 

I DEMAND MAGIC!
After all, reality bites, doesn’t it?

PREVIOUS: THEIR Attitudes – #5

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

ACoA IRONY
POINT 1: On the one hand – ACoAs concluded that we can’t be anything, can’t have anything, can’t get anywhere! As a result of years of suffering, a deep part of us gave up early in life: “What’s the use, I should be dead anyway”.

➼ A reminder about Abuse & Abandonment (A/A)
• Coming from THEM: A/A may or may not have been deliberate but was very real (not our imagination), & the effects last a lifetime.  We didn’t get nurtured, had to raise ourselves, look after younger siblings & be there for our parents! AND got all sorts of abused – things that no child should ever have to endure!
• For US to deal with: A/A happened on all 4 PMES levels – Physical, Emotional, Mental, Spiritual – NOT just about someone going away, so we have to work on healing aspects of each one, from going to the bathroom  to our relationship with a H.P.

POINT 2: On the other hand –  ACoAs want everything done for us.
Because we experienced so much hurt & loss as kids – we want it to be made up to us, one way or another. To compensate we hang on to the magical thinking of a child, having these ‘great expectations’ of life & people, which are not just wishful thinking but a raging need – which include… the absolute conviction / expectation / assumption – about how of a date, event, relationship, meeting… should turn out – or we’ll die!
• On the surface we say: “I don’t know how, I’m not allowed, it’s too hard …” but the real, real truth – not matter how deeply we bury it – is that we don’t want to take care of ourselves.  If our family didn’t do it for us, then we’re not going to do it for ourselves now! So there!  We’ve suffered enough so we’re understandably resentful & petulant. We want ours! This is equally true for the Hero as for the Lost Child.

➼ What ACoAs SHOULD NOT expect from ourselves, other people, & life in general:
A. TOWARD OURSELVESvictim
While having wildly unrealistic expectations (U.E.) of others, we can start by seeing how off our own are:
• being the victim – that because we were abused as children, we don’t have to be responsible for ourselves or forge a life of our own
• our narcissism – that we have the power to always make things go our way, AND that who others are or what they want doesn’t really count – if it gets in the way of our needs!
Most ACoAs, especially Rescuers, would never admit this, at least not out loud.
•  “fairness” – the assumption that if we make enough of an effort (be good), we’ll definitely & automatically get a payoff!  So when we have to wait for something – we’re confused. After all we did our part. And if the waiting is too long, we despair, assuming it means it will never happen.

1. Staying Attached : WE WANT to stay connected to even the most abusive family members & believe it’s our fault when that never seems to work out in our favor
• many ACoAs still have the illusion that if only we are perfect, ‘good’, successful, smart, care-taking of them…. enough – our addicted, self-centered, self-hating, severely damaged parents or substitutes (spouse, boss, adult-child….) will finally accept & love us just the way we are, & so we never have to let go & grow upbarren tree
• even the smartest of us may harbor a secret hope that one day our parents &/or siblings will ‘get well / see the light…’ for themselves. We want them to get better, because we know they’re suffering BUT we also want it so we can stay connected to them

• some of us have a parent who does eventually enter AA, and may become less abusive in some ways – but unless they also do at least some FoO work they’re not going to be the parent we always wanted
• we’re so desperate to get their approval we refuse to see how incapable of loving us many of them really are – especially if they throw us a crumb once in a while.  Walking away or pulling back from such people entails “Crumb withdrawal”!
• when they hurt us yet again, we either suck it up & use our own addictions to numb the pain OR we turn it completely on ourselves & become depressed, non-functioning & suicidal – for a while after any encounter with them.

2. Unrealistic Recovery beliefs:
a. WE WANT to be ‘better’ fast – as in NOW. Some want magic – recovery without having to do anything
b. others WANT compensation: if we just work hard enough, we will overcome all our damage – as if we were never affected by our childhood at all!  When that never seems to happen or Recovery is soooo slow – we become discouraged & worse – defeated. At that point some of us give up.
• the reality is that some of our damage can heal completely, some things will be a lot less troubling & some things may never go away – we just have to learn to manage them correctly, with self-compassion!

c. we actually believe that if we get well enough:
— our character defects will vanish (I’ll never be angry again / I’ll never date that kind of person again / I’ll never feel that bad again”…..
— we’ll never again be hurt or effected by other people’s insensitivity & abuses, especially from our family – at all, ever again!

However – Health is a combination: Some unhealthy things others do will bother us less, especially if we have a lot less self-hate & much better boundaries. BUT many things we were numb to or ignorant of before – will absolutely no longer be acceptable. Bad behavior & bad energy will become so uncomfortable to be around that we will not tolerate it.

NEXT: Unrealistic Expectations – OVER (Part 2

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3 thoughts on “Unrealistic Expectations – OVER (Part 1)

  1. Hi Donna, I like this post…and all of your posts :). I had a vivid dream last night in which I had a heart to heart talk with my estranged enabling father. I told him that his wife, my mother, had Narcissistic Personality Disorder and that she had abused me emotionally and traumatically as a child. He listened while I told him that I had lived in fear of her ever since early childhood and had been living out of the false self that I developed to survive–that the obedient daughter he knew me to be was not the real me. I told him she was actually a dark soul and dangerous and that she had turned everyone in the family against me because after college I stopped being obedient and only had low contact with them. I told him that I never, ever wanted to be around her again and that if it weren’t for her being around him all the time, I would want to see and be close to him every day . I told him that I never felt that I could trust him because he always took her side. I told him how much it hurt me deeply and traumatized me when he was always threatening me with rejection and punishment when he said, “Don’t upset your mother!”, even when she was being blaming and abusive and mean. In my dream, my father apologized deeply to me and said he understands and now he can see the truth about her and how awful and unloving and manipulative she has been to me and to all of us all of these years. In my dream, my father started out looking like himself but as he spoke he slowly morphed into someone else entirely. He grew taller and stronger and lastly his face changed into someone else’s face entirely–a warm and caring face but someone I had never seen before. I woke up with a feeling of validation at finally being heard and loved by him but with the knowledge that I had “unrealistic expectations” about what my father was capable of giving me “in this lifetime”. I feel like I actually spoke to him on a soul level and that he loves me but in this lifetime he is lost and devoted to a con artist (my mother) and will never be able to get free and support me. (I will see him in heaven and then and only then will he understand why I had to leave the family). I had already been grieving these unrealistic expectations and I am very resolved with my decision for no contact with my dark and dangerous mother and her allies, (my father and all of my siblings (two are narcissistic and one brother is an enabler like my father)). Grieving these unrealistic expectations for the “illusions” that they actually are has set me free and I now feel “safe” and “found” and “home”. Thank you for your posts that validate the truth of how many of us survivors feel during our recovery and journey to our true selves. Love and Light, Elaine

  2. Thanks Elaine.
    My parents were very similar to what you describe. I stopped writing or talking to them for 10 yrs. My father used to say “You just have to accept her” but I was only a kid!
    Once I got enough emotional distance I could be around my mother briefly (in my 40’s & up) because we connected with the same family sense of humor & she had softened some as she got much older. Also, she got it that she couldn’t get to me with her sadistic find-fucks – so she she stopped trying . When something would slip out I’d just laugh out loud & say ‘Oh Mom” & she’s smile. She’d been caught.

    My sister sided with my mom until she was much older, but eventually we were able to be friends.

    A few yrs before he died I actually did talk to my dad about how much he had hurt & abandoned me, which was very scary for me to do because he was always sick & the overly-sensitive victim. He listened & kept apologizing – but then he ruined it by saying (3 times) – “Why didn’t you tell me this before?” It took me until the 3rd time to get that he was blaming me & I finally said – “But I have been, since I was a kid!” like when I told both of them, when I was 13, that I wanted to be dead!
    Anyway, it was good that I took the risk of telling him – not for him to change, but for me not to carry it anymore. AND it didn’t kill him!

    When my apartment burned down in ’92, loosing my cats & 2000 books – all he had to say was “What did you learn?” That really set my rage off. Before that I’d suppressed most of my anger at him – after all the was the ‘good one”!

    I’m very glad to hear how far you’ve come & glad to have you as a fellow grower. Love, D

  3. Thanks for your reply and for sharing. Nice to know other helping professionals such as yourself have similar FOO experiences and growth. I understand about the taking 3 times to get that he was blaming you and then you were able to say what you needed to say. I totally get that. How awful that your apartment burned and you lost your cats and 2000 books! … And awful that your Dad could not empathize or express any comfort. I have 2 precious cats and many precious books as well. What a painful loss!

    I am realizing more anger at my father too now that I have no contact–like you said, he was the Good one but not good enough. This will be my first Christmas with no contact with my entire FOO (started Jan. 2010) and I finally have much peace now to fully heal and energy to help others. Your fellow grower :), Elaine

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