SITE: Psychology of Disappointment
2. OVERT (cont)
Disappointment (D) works like this wedge.
If our self-esteem & safety depend only 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 it 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, based on hope & wished but NOT permission to achieve them. This type is not not productive. However – healthy fantasy can be used to fuel our dreams, which then need to be put into FORM
• As Disappointment invaded our psyche even more, it lead to Depression. This D. is about loss, whether something we once had, or about 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!
SITES: Christian perspectives 1=Response // 2=Dealing with
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RECOVERY: While it’s normal & human to be disappointed from time to time, ACoAs have lived 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 :
√ 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 for something from another person, try to be specific, direct & brief.
If the person is reliable they’ll try to answer (yes, no or later) 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.
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 & realistic HOPE. It’s what our WIC has been waiting for. THEN – life’s ‘normal’ disappointments won’t hurt so much!
NEXT: Dealing with criticism #1