EVERYONE LETS ME DOWN
so I stay away from everyone
PREVIOUS: Disappointment – Part 1
QUOTE: “Disappointment is just the action of your brain readjusting itself to reality, after discovering things are not the way you thought they were. ~ Brad Warner, Motivational speaker
ACoAs get disappointed (D) by so many things, because the WIC desperately wants the world to be a certain way (to meet all its needs) rather than our Adult noticing AND accepting the way things are – both good & bad – in our environment. With reality in clear view, we can get our needs met by choosing among the many options that are actually available in the present!
1. Covert (Part 1)
2. OVERT: The less we take care of ourselves, the more needy we are. We may reject or ignore the help & resources available. We pick people to ‘rely’ on who either don’t have what we need, or are too self-absorbed to reciprocate, especially if we’re acting the Rescuer / People-pleaser. That drives the WIC to desperately keep look outside of ourselves to provide, for as long as we aren’t willing to take on the Loving Parent role.
• We believe whatever a particular person says, especially things we want to hear – even tho they’ve consistently proven themselves not trustworthy or dependable. EXP: “I’ll call you tomorrow” but never does. “I love you”, but is needy & selfish, or withholding & critical
• If we have the courage to actually ask for something, & are ‘promised’, but then they don’t come thru, we’re disappointed. We’re angry, even withdrawn, but are afraid to ask “What happened?”
— If you know the person to generally be dependable, we can be sure that their reason was legitimate, AND not about us.
— If you don’t know them, we need to give them at least one more chance, maybe 2. No more than that, especially if their ‘misses’ are fairly close together, which spells a pattern.
— If you know them to be unreliable & we’re stuck with them for some reason – DO NOT rely on them AT ALL. Focus on yourself & look for an appropriate support system.
Disappointment works like this wedge. If our self-esteem & safety only depend on our circumstances, we’re in trouble, because circumstances are always changing. There are too many variables for them to remain the same.
• Too much Disappointment as kids left us Discouraged & frustrated. We didn’t have that many options, & even when tried to get our need met, most of the time they were thwarted.
• Slowly the wedge was driven deeper, & we began to be Disillusioned. For many of us this happened very early in life. The more disenchanted, before we could handle the reality of not having a safe family, the greater the need for illusion. ACoAs have an over-developed fantasy life, which is not to our benefit because it’s not productive. Healthy fantasy can be used to fuel our dreams, which then need to be put into FORM.
• Then D. invaded our psyche even more, leading to Depression. This D. is about loss, whether something we once had, or all the things we missed out on.
• Ultimately we end in Defeat. It’s the “Learned helplessness” syndrome. If we’re going to keep getting disappointed, there’s no reason to keep trying. This is how many ACoAs plod along – barely surviving ‘quiet lives of desperation’. And it all started with years of Disappointments!
RECOVERY: While it’s normal & human to be disappointed, from time to time, ACoAs live in it to-o-o much.
• To HEAL from early Ds, acknowledge that it happened, a lot. If you don’t, you can’t heal it. Then do an inventory of all the times you can remember being let down, no matter what the reason. Share it with a trusted person. Let yourself feel the pain, sorrow, rage, frustration, loss, loneliness…. of them all. It’s BIG.
• To counter the ongoing disappointments you experience now:
— remember the inventory of Ds. Be sure to actually say what you need, first to yourself, & then to someone else, just to be clear.
— When you ask, try to get as many detail as you can.
If the person is reliable they’ll try to answer honestly & accurately.
If they’re evasive – take that as a NO, & move on.
• Make sure you provide as much of your adult & child needs as you are currently capable of. Reach out. Try new things. Be aware of your expectations & check to see if they’re reasonable. Follow thru & don’t just wait to see what others will do. They have busy lives, & either don’t know your needs, or don’t care!
CHART: “Opting out means consciously making different choices” (many excellent relationship articles)
• Focus on gratitude – for all the things you DO have. This doesn’t mean being ‘up’ when you’re not, but only shifting perspective. You can still work toward getting what you want – but make sure it’s in the right places & with the right people – who already have what you want & can provide it to you – under the right circumstances.
ASK, ASK, ASK others:
Ahead of time – “Are you sure you can do this? When can you do it? What will it cost me? What do I have to do to make it happen?…..
After the disappointment: “What happened? Why didn’t you let me know you couldn’t —-? Can you still do it soon? / when?” etc.
SITEs: “Overcoming Disappointment” // “How to Cope with Disappointment”
TREE Illustration from Dr. Randolph M. Nesse, in AZ.
The above ‘wedge’ lists 5 painful emotions. This drawing clearly shows the two main branches we can climb, depending on where we start out.
• For so many of us, the ‘arousing’ factor in our early years was constant threat, generating a pileup of anxiety.
NOW we have options. So let’s go back to the bottom of the tree, & start up the other branch, the one based on positive opportunities & HOPE. It’s what our WIC has been waiting for. THEN – life’s ‘normal’ disappointments won’t hurt so much!
More HUMOR from Grant Snider
NEXT: ACoAs & CONFUSION