Having an expectation for someone other than yourself often leads disappointment. You expected them to act (or react) a certain way…but they didn’t. Today, we’re going talk about expectation and disappointment.
Have you ever heard the phrase: “Expecting something is the first step to disappointment”? Let me explain that. When we go into a situation with a specific expectation, it is like a “hard-coded” idea of the outcome we believe or expect is going to happen. When the outcome doesn’t meet the expectation – disappointment follows.
Let’s put this into real-life context when you’ve experienced abuse from someone other than your mom, and your Mom isn’t meeting your expectations of showing she remorse for not protecting you.
I’ve heard from many women who are expecting an apology or acknowledgement of responsibility from Mom or someone else. Expectations like:
- I’ve experienced abuse, and my mom has chosen to sweep it under the rug.
- When I talk to her about it, she won’t acknowledge it.
- She tells me: “Why can’t you just leave it in the past?”
- Why do you have to keep bringing this up? That happened 20, 30, even 40 years ago.
- When are you going to let it go?”
Your expectation is: Mom should acknowledge her role in your pain. She may not have been the one who abused you, however, she hurt you by not protecting you. How could she not see it? How could she not remove you from the situation? How can she not apologize? How can she be so weak? How come I don’t matter? When you don’t get what you expect, what does that feel like? It feels like pain; like you’ve been hurt all over again. It creates anger, frustration, self-worth issues, and depression to name a few.
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard and read: “I’m cutting her out of my life. I don’t ever want to see her again. She is not a mom.” Here’s the thing: In this particular situation, the expectation is that mom would acknowledge her role or shortcomings and ask you for forgiveness. You want her to own up to it, say I’m sorry. When she doesn’t – it hurts. It’s disappointing. Now, you want to cut her out of your life. But…do you really? It’s a common response when you feel disappointed and not valued.
Here’s the reality: You don’t know what mom was or is going through. You might be telling yourself right now, I don’t care what Mom is or was feeling. Is it possible, Mom may have experienced pain also?
Mom may feel so guilty she can’t face it. Mom may have felt trapped. Maybe she was threatened with her life…and yours. Maybe she was afraid and just didn’t have the confidence or belief she could take care of herself, and you. Do you think she may be experiencing significant pain as well?
Today, you’re feeling incomplete without an apology or acknowledgment from mom. It’s now 20, 30, 40 years later, and you’re still holding on to your anger that Mom hasn’t apologized or acknowledged your pain. Now what? Where do you go from here? How has holding on to the pain of expectation made your life any better? How has this “fixed” anything?
HERE’S THE REALITY OF EXPECTATION
You are not responsible for what happened to you. You did not deserve it. You didn’t have it coming to you. YOU CANNOT CHANGE IT. IT HAPPENED. Now, what are you going to do?
You have a choice to make? Do you hold on to the pain and expectation that mom is going to acknowledge her role and apologize for it? Or, can you acknowledge and accept that Mom is not in a place to give you what you’re asking for? You’re not going to get an apology right now. What if you don’t ever get that acknowledgement or apology? Will you never move on in your life? Will you never be free from the pain of expectation and blame?
You don’t know what your mom is feeling right now – only your expectation of what you “think” she should feel. You also can’t control her apology. If she’s not there…she’s just not there. It also doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you or care how you feel. There’s just something she has to face – something she needs to address and work through – and she may never work through it.
This process of facing past pain, carries a lot of fear, hurt, and disappointment because you expect Mom to show up differently, but she doesn’t. Either way, she’s not ready. How do I know this? Because it hasn’t happened.
I encourage you to explore the possibility of moving on and accepting what happened, HAPPENED. Change the narrative to: This is my life. I am empowered to make the best decisions for my life! Today, I am going to let go of the expectation that: “Mom is going to apologize.” Today, I’m going to own my healing and I am going to take responsibility for how I live the rest of my life. I am not going to continue waiting for an apology that may never come – and if it never comes, I AM OKAY.
Remember: When you release an expectation, you free yourself from disappointment. Love, kindness, joy, and peace are possible, when you release the expectations you have of someone else and take ownership of your healing journey.
This doesn’t happen overnight. I encourage you to get support from a coach, therapist, or engage in community to help you discover how to accept what is, forgive and let it go.
I sincerely hope this has challenged your thinking and has opened an opportunity for you to discover a new path in life for you and your relationships to flourish. To learn more about accepting what is click here