Why I Put Expectations on People, and Why It Crushes Me


I’ve been going through a short phase were all of a sudden I am putting expectations on people.  Expectations that of course, fail, and it sends me in a bit of a tailspin.  Why would I set myself up like bowling pins and throws a lead beachball down the lane?  A lead beachball spray painted with resentment.  Yes, that will do fine.  And make it shiny.

The thing about putting expectations on people is that I avoided doing that while I was active.  My whole life was about trying to be self-reliant.  If I don’t expect anything from anyone, then I have little chance of getting hurt when nothing happens, and hey, if I get something from someone, well…that’s just a poor choice on their part.  I didn’t take positive things well either (yes, welcome to the mind of an alcoholic – it can be scary!) So where did that leave me?  Isolated and increasingly distrustful of others, and eventually, of myself.  Because of myself, I am nothing.  I think I am everything, but I cannot heal my sick mind with my sick mind.  So where does that leave me with expectations in sobriety?

Good question.

What I have learned in my short time in recovery is to focus on what my part of things are, where I may be at fault, and to watch out for putting things onto people that aren’t theirs to take on.  I am very vigilant in not taking other people’s issues, drama and emotions on.  I may empathize, and if it is in the realm of 12-step work, I can assist.  But anything else chips away at my energy and takes the focus of my recovery and onto being a rescuer.  I am not a rescuer.  Firefighters are rescuers.  So in that regard, I have to remember not to put things onto people that aren’t theirs to take on.  If I am feeling lonely, I can’t expect everyone to drop what they are doing to rally round me, especially if I don’t say anything about being lonely!  People don’t read minds. And I used to think that way.  So it is unfair for me to be upset or be resentful to people who are just living their lives working, taking care of family and working their own recovery.  How dare I.

So again, what of expectations?

I have to remember that it is up to me to ask for what I need, while respecting and appreciating other people’s time and capacity to give, and that as long as I have God in my life, I am not alone.  It is ok to be disappointed at times, but not be stuck in that disappointment.  It is in those times that I look to whom I can help and get out of my own head.  Today I met with a new friend from the program and it really relieved me of where I have been.

I will probably have another perspective of this down the road, like everything else.  And that’s good.  I don’t like standing in the same water too long.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. This old blogpost looked lonely without a comment. So, here I am. You were as amazing back then as you are now!

    1. Paul S says:

      DUDE. WTF…lol. I don’t even remember this one! You dug deep here. Holy crow! Thanks for this. This is a relic. Doesn’t even sound like me!! You rock.

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