Depression Relationship Therapy
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by Karen A. Solomon, LCSW, BCD, CGP, CHt

I have heard it said that expectations are killers. To me this implies that we set ourselves up for disappointment when we have expectations of how people, things, life or even the weather should be. We often assume that things are “supposed” to be a certain way and when they are not we are not only experience disappointment, but often a sense of loss, inadequacy, shame or failure.

It is important to understand that what we believe others should do or how things should be is merely a reflection of our own values, priorities, wishes, hopes and dreams. Expectations are also based on what we were taught as children about how things are supposed to be. Sometimes, we may rebel against those lessons or we may accept that what we were taught is what’s right and everything else is wrong. This type of rigid thinking often leads to the kind of extreme fanaticism so destructive to humanity.

Expectations are especially dangerous in our relationships with others. Our vision of how our children will turn out may be very different from the reality of who they are. This is dangerous because if we are disappointed in them, we may blame ourselves or feel angry at them for not doing or being what we expected. It is crucial for a child’s developing sense of self that we are open to seeing who they really are and where their particular strengths and weaknesses lay. In order to nurture and encourage our children’s best selves, we need to recognize and accept their limitations and potential.

Another pitfall we may run into is assuming that those who care about us will automatically know what we need or want from them. When they don’t provide those things for us, we are hurt, angry and feel unloved. Couples frequently run into this difficulty and become devastated at not getting their needs met. We are often reluctant to ask people for what we need from them thinking somehow this is shameful and that it diminishes the significance of their following through. In friendships, as well, we unrealistically believe a “good” friend will automatically know when and how to be there for us. The value of someone responding to our requests because we asked is just as great as their thinking of it on their own. Some people are just more intuitive than others and don’t need asking.

“We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned so as to have the life we have waiting for us.” (Joseph Campbell). Similarly, we must be willing to see what is there for us instead of bemoaning what we don’t have.

Karen A. Solomon
Office : 631 - 543 - 2050

Commack, New York 11725

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