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QUOTES: “Longed for him. Got him. Shit.” ― Margaret Atwood
“Disappointment is a sort of bankruptcy of a soul that expends too much in hope & 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 the poor choices one may have made that got one there (regret)
• 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, the counter-factual thoughts that create our emotions – when realizing or imagining we would have had a better outcome if we’d decided differently.
Regret depends on choice or behavior-focused counter-factual** thoughts, its intensity varying in relation to the availability of counter-factual alternatives.”
**Counterfactual thinking is what we say about a past that didn’t happen the way we wished: ‘If only I had… What if it hadn’t….”
Psychologists & economists have been investigating the relationship 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 had turned out better for us.
Although regret and disappointment are different emotions, they’re 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.
This to be such a big issue for ACoAs, which 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 that they’re always in the background. Because they’re never met – they never go away! We still have them, just by virtue of being alive.
For many of us, the greater a specific 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’re functioning from our narcissism – always coming from the point of view that “Everything is about me!”.
This assumption 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
❥ HUMOR from Grant Snider
NEXT: ACoAs & Disappointment – Part 2