Acceptance & Expectations: A perpetual work in process


Lately I’ve been doing a lot of realistic self-talk. After my very traumatic conversation with Greg the other evening I did a lot of reading and thinking. [gee, that’s unusual for me right?] Even though I cannot remember what he said that absolutely sent me into a fit, I do remember a few key points such as Greg’s reluctance to do the work on himself to make us work, and his non-interest and poo-pooing of getting in touch with his feelings. I realized that I have to accept these things and adjust my expectations, not push him to change. Whether it happens or not is really quite beside the point. I realized I could spend the rest of his life (since he’s more than 10 years older than I am) being unhappy because of my attachment to a particular outcome. If he changes, great. Great for him, great for the kids, great for me – I guess. If he doesn’t, I still have to work on myself and figure out how to be an individual rather than His Fair Lady.

It’s funny how I can know things intellectually and reject them emotionally. I’m no different than anybody else except for the fact that I’m pretty thick-headed as a codependent. I started thinking about the assertion that some codependents do not want to get better because they are quite comfortable in their dysfunction. I admit, changing patterns and breaking habits sucks mightily. Scary stuff. I mentioned to my friend Frank that I have been unsure of absolutely everything for a few years now. What I realized is that I have not only been unsure, I have become increasingly unsure. Such things are warning signs of loss of self. I guess I thought I could live without ME, but I can’t. Until recently I didn’t understand what a total loss of myself really looked like. In the vein of acceptance, I cannot accept that so I’m going to have to modify my expectations for my life. Nobody is going to do it for me or give me permission. In fact, I don’t need permission. I need to accept that too.

I’m not going to ask myself how many times I need to read that pain and suffering emanate from expectations and the remedy is acceptance. I am changing the direction of my thoughts to accepting what is and setting aside expectations and attachments to what I wish things would be. I don’t have a choice anymore as my previous approach hasn’t worked very well.

So be it.


6 thoughts on “Acceptance & Expectations: A perpetual work in process

  1. It is hard to divest yourself of that codependent sense of responsibility; that you are somehow obligated to guide others towards their better selves. You are doing great to understand that you can live the rest of your life and change a thousand times over while your husband may never make any significant changes in himself for himself.

    A friend of mine said to me one time “Expectations are future resentments.”. That seems apropos for this entry.

    • Oh I like that quote. It’s so true.

      I think it’s hard to let go and still love. It’s sad. I believe I’ve been grieving that notion for quite awhile now. Obviously I wish him all the best and will care about him forever, but I cannot be his vehicle any longer. I have to be my own. There will be good days and bad days. More good than bad, eventually. It’s a process.

  2. Beautifully open, as always. I was once told by a therapist that every relationship we have with someone, whether romantic or otherwise, has to involve some degree of compromise. I can see the logic behind that, to some extent. The problems begin when the “compromised me” to “real me” ratio becomes wildly distorted. You’re waking up, which is making you realise how dangerously close you are to suppressing you to make space for compromised you.

    When I was married and began to wake up, to fight back against the physical and mental abuse – to stand up for myself – I was accused of being selfish. Looking back, I agree. Selfishness is not always a bad thing when we’re dealing with someone who can act like a force of nature. It enables us to preserve that sense of self we all need.

    • Selfish? Yes. I was accused of being selfish too. It’s a blocking maneuver or a narcissistic thing. Whatever it is, it contributes to the extreme ratio imbalance you mentioned. The word “selfish” brings up pangs of yuck from when I was a child and my narcissistic mother would constantly tell me that I was selfish. [Um, well, yeah – I’m a child – that’s what children do – the superego is in charge because there is no higher self – duh.] In my adult situation though I am strong enough to see that my higher self has been struggling and fighting to take hold and that is as it should be. It’s wounding by design to tell someone they’re being selfish when all they’re trying to do is take care of themselves. In fact, telling someone they’re selfish to wound them and render them incapacitated is *selfish*.

  3. One of the reasons I cannot have relationships with people, including family, is their expectations of me. It is something I cannot be accountable for. Yes, it is selfish and inconsiderate and is probably part of the avoidance package that I keep writing about on my blog.

    Amidst the accusations of selfishness, whether we are right or wrong, we need to be true to ourselves and do what feels right for us.

    • Good points Cat. I will admit to not having many family relationships either. Really, it’s a matter of trust. So yes, I’m avoidant too but – I believe – justifiably so. I have a good relationship with my dad and mom now but only because I keep things in a neutral zone with my mom and push back hard when I need to. As far as my dad is concerned, we have a very honest relationship but there’s no way that I can fully discuss the depth of my affectation with him. It wouldn’t yield any constructive outcome anyway.

      It’s really interesting to look at myself from the observer perspective and view how I’m growing up all over again. The hitch is that I’m going to try damn hard to do it right this time. 😉

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