I’ve spent a couple of days with more visits at the clinic and making research about something that I think is the essence of most of my misfortunes; expectations. I have high expectations of myself, I expect bad things to happen when I feel vulnerable (PTSD symptom), I feel like I have to live up to other people’s expectations (that’s why it’s so hard for me to be myself around other people and why it’s so easy for me to lose myself and my inner voice), I create a dreamlike world full of expectations in my head and reality has no chance to live up to it – and I expect the worst outcome when faced with a problem (catastrophe minded).
This is a good topic for my research – and it’s a key to many locked places inside my mind. Maybe it’s even connected to my art and one of the reasons why it’s been so hard for me to work since I got a little successful 10 years ago, because I suddenly felt there were new and higher expectations of me – both from other people and from myself as well.
It’s surely one of the reasons why I stayed in all those destructive relationships – I was chasing their approval by trying to match their expectations instead of leaving when I felt like they didn’t appriciate me for who I really am. I call this chase the dance of death and now I can see how it’s deeply rooted in my behavior because I am so sensitive to the pressure of other people’s expectations. To not live up to them has made me feel worthless and not worthy of their love. And I’ve been rewarded for losing my self-respect while chasing theirs – and punished when I’ve demonstrated self-respect while going against theirs. No wonder I’ve become so messed up.
But I am not that innocent, I have high expectations of other people too, and I’m especially brutal with the expectations I have of a partner, mostly because I am so sensitive to what I’ve experienced in my past relationships. As soon as they disappoint me, I think I am close to a new betrayal. And that’s when I freak out – and things get complicated.
Trust and faith are good tools to overcome this fear of betrayal, but it’s hard to trust when you have a damaged soul. I’m doing my best. I’m trying not to expect it. To not look for it. To feel like I’m on to something. Expecting betrayal can make you slightly paranoid and leads to unnecessary suffering. I’m happy I am now aware of all this, it will be so much easier to overcome it.
I had built so many expectations before Johnny came here, what we were supposed to do, places to visit, we would be happy and enjoying every minute of the two weeks we had together. I was blowing up expectations like balloons. But reality popped the balloons when I got sick and we couldn’t do all those things or visit all those places together. I got frustrated and annoyed so I couldn’t feel happy all the time. My expectations transformed from the light and pretty balloons to the heavy weight of a ball and chain, tied to my ankle like a reminder of what a failure I was for not being able to live up to my own expectations. Johnny saw this and made me see how silly it is. I had created my own sense of failure after creating expectations where there’s no room for the unexpected or any reality. Johnny thinks the best way to stay away from expectations is to have the attitude of “engaged improv” (to be spontaneous and present). I like that. But it’s hard to change from being someone who’s all about trying to control life by building expectations (good and bad) to the relaxed and bohemian ways of engaged improvisations. But it is a motivation to let go of any form of expectations. Mine or theirs.
There are so many ways to break free, both mentally and emotionally. I’ve gone through many phases of self-liberty and independence lately. And I’m gonna continue until I feel like I can live my life without having any weight of my past holding me back.