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SITE: Decision Analysis (Many links + charts)
QUOTES: “Longed for him. Got him. Shit.” ― Margaret Atwood
“Disappointment is a sort of bankruptcy – the bankruptcy of a soul that expends too much in hope and expectation.” ― Eric Hoffer
DEF: The feeling of dissatisfaction that follows the failure of expectations or hopes to manifest, with the focus on the outcome, rather than poor choices one may have made that got one there (regret).
The field of Decision Analysis studies many different topics, including Disappointment – its causes, impact & degree to which individual decisions are motivated by a desire to avoid it.
FROM ‘The Regret & Disappointment Scale: The emotion most frequently studied by decision theorists is regret, counter-factual thoughts (‘If only… What if….”) which create emotions one experiences after realizing or imagining that a better outcome could have been obtained, had one decided differently. Regret depends on choice or behavior-focused counter-factual thoughts, its intensity varying in relation to the availability of counter-factual alternatives.’
Psychologists & economists have been investigating the relation between regret & choice since the early 1980’s…… The emotion of disappointment is also based on counter-factual thinking: We feel disappointment when we find ourselves wishing that events of the world had turned out better for us. Yet, although regret and disappointment are different emotions, they are both generated by comparing “What is” with “What might have been”.(MORE….)
ACoAs have very intense reactions to being disappointed (D) – either outright rage OR deep depression, depending on the strength & importance of the need. For this to be such a big issue for ACoAs, it tells us how constant & overwhelming our disappointments were as kids – first & foremost in our parents, & then in everyone else who let us down.
• We needed them to be there for us, encourage, guide, protect, validate, mirror, love…. & they either did these things sporadically, incompetently or not at all. Constant, endless disappointment in our caretakers (also teachers, relatives, baby sitters…) has left us with a very big wound. It’s one of many wounds – & some of us have buried it so deep, we don’t even recognize it when it happens again in the present.
To be disappointed one must:
1. have a need (desire, wish, dream, hope….)
We may not even know we have a particular need or wish, because we were not allowed to have them, or if we did we were told in many ways, over & over – that they were not legitimate, were selfish, were dumb….
2. expect that need to be met. Since we’re not allowed to have them, we become unaware of them, but no matter how thoroughly we deny having needs, we still have them, just by virtue of being alive. For many of us, the greater the need, the more desperate we become – often because we’re waiting for someone else to do something for us we should be doing for ourselves or can learn how to.
3. not get that need met : We can track the need by the intensity of our reactions when we don’t get something we (unconsciously) hoped for, asked for or demanded.
EXPECTATIONS (Review posts – Over and Under)
No matter which form it takes, expecting others to fill our empty heart & mind, instead of being pro-active, means:
— the WIC is still running our life, waiting to find the ‘right’ parent – magically – so we don’t have to care for ourselves
— we are functioning from our narcissism – always coming from the point of view that “Everything is about me!”.
This was not true about the abuse we grew up with, & it’s not true about what people do to us & around us – now. We know this because when WE change, in Recovery, those same behaviors in others seem to bother us a great deal less! ARTICLE: “Managing Negative Expectations” w/ chart
1. COVERT: Because we’re not allowed to know our wants, needs & emotions, NOR ask for anything, we imagine (silently expect, demand) that someone will read our mind & provide for us – which comes from the WIC
• We truly believe that if we want something a certain way – without saying it – it will automatically happen
EXP: Your B/day (or any other holiday that’s important to you) is coming up & he hints that you’ll do something together. You have it all planned out – exactly what you want to do, how it will look & feel.
But you never say any of it. Then the day comes & it turns out very differently – maybe not bad, but not what you imagined. Now you’re angry at him, unappreciative, cranky, attacking – OR you decide he doesn’t really love you at all, you don’t feel the same about him…..
OY! You’re deeply disappointed, but how was he supposed to know?
• We naively assume that everyone means what they say, OR will do what they promise. To feel safe we need to believe that others are as literal (& ‘responsible’) as we are
EXP: Josie says she’ll bring the book to work tomorrow that you’ve been wanting to borrow. You not only believe it, but count on it, looking forward in anticipation. Tomorrow comes & she’s ‘forgotten’ the book. You’re angry. You’re convinced she’s messing with you, she lied, she…..
• When going into a new situation (class, work, relationship), the WIC presumes they will be / needs them to be safe, helpful, informative, consistent, appreciative, respectful…. & then they’re NOT. Sometime it/they turn out to be very ‘bad’, but most of the time they’re just not what we secretly (unconsciously) needed & expected.
We’re disappointed, so we get depressed or really mad.
— If you’re an introvert, or still in Victim mode, you’ll just sulk, withdraw, not participate, sit in misery, or leave without saying anything
— If you’re an extrovert, & feisty, you’ll try to get more of what you want from the person or situation, but angrily, maybe even attacking (the teacher, the belief, the procedure) – & then leave, or keep trying to “force solutions” (Al-Anon)
HUMOR from Grant Snider
NEXT: ACoAs & Disappointment – Part 2