In Your Language

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The discipline of not wishing...

I learned this at a very young age. I realized the limitations in my life and instead of rebellion against them or demanding them to come through- I just stopped wanting certain things. I guess it was a process of learning to accept what was in the cards for me and what was not in the cards for me.

I remember feeling resolved to not ask for company. I remember not bothering to wish for a reunion with my biological family. I remember not asking for things that weren't offered. I think I understood "no" to really mean no and I didn't force the issue. Perhaps that was my problem in a way. I submitted too easily. I never felt entitled to anything and to this day, I feel guilty about getting anything... help, gifts, etc.

I remember having to navigate the rough waters of my teenage years pretty much in isolation. I went to a therapist who didn't seem to do much other than talk to me about kinds of rices and teas... nothing really seemed to be helpful in the sessions. I guess I decided there that if I was going to get through this it wouldn't be because of this shrink and that I'd probably end up doing it on my own not knowing how to actually do it in the first place.

I guess I just learned at a very early age that people were not reliable. But at some point, you start getting more of what you expect or don't expect out of people. People usually follow the path of least resistance or most reward.

So that was the double edged sword for me, I swapped disappointment for being content with subpar conditions. Why is disappointment so huge for me (and other adoptees? people?). Every time we feel disappointment, we adjust our standards so that we don't have to feel the pain of disappointment (at least THAT same disappointment) again.

But does that strategy ever work? Can we ever say that "this person failed me in "x" way and it's okay to say it?" But usually, we avoid further interpersonal discomfort by attributing it to us having "unrealistic expectations." The illusion that if we take away all expectations we'll be better and happier people. If we look at expectations from the perspective of them coming from our needs, why would we starve ourselves of NEEDS? Is that fair to say to another person "Listen honey, don't expect me to care about your needs. But on the occasion that I do, give me as much credit as possible."? Would we really forfeit expectations on us for the same prospect of not getting our own needs met?

Let's keep in mind that  it shouldn't be a double standard. Do you have double standards?

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