S2 EP60 – Inner Bonding Podcast: How Expectations Can Ruin Relationships

Episode Summary

How often to you feel disappointed and rejected when someone close to you doesn’t meet your expectations? How often are you stressed and frazzled in trying to meet others’ expectations? Discover what your expectations are, how you try to get others to meet them, what the result is regarding ruining relationships, and what else to do instead.


Hi everyone. This is Dr. Margaret Paul with the inner bonding podcast. And I would like to talk today about how expectations can ruin a relationship. Now I’ve been working with couples for over 50 years, and very often the problems that they’re experiencing are due to unrealistic expectations, which your expectations that you continue to have of the other person, even though it’s obvious that the other person isn’t going to change or has no intention to change.

So people have, have often brought this up to me and I want to give you some examples. My client Linda said to me, in a session, I try not to have expectations and I try to be loving and accepting of my husband. But I get frustrated when I feel like I’m doing a lot of the heavy lifting. Are there not healthy expectations to have in a relation chip? If so, oh, can I lovingly tried to ask him or teach him to help me better? He gets frustrated that I’m not happy with the way things are and not completely satisfied with how much I feel like he’s, he’s helping or actually not helping.

I understand that I’m insecure about being taken advantage of, but I do have some expectations of him. So this is a typical example of what I often hear from my clients. Linda’s frustration is coming from continuing to, to have unrealistic expectations. She, she asks if there are healthy expectations to have in a relationship, but it’s never healthy to continue to have an expectation that continues to not be met. Lyndon needs to accept that she can’t have control over what her husband does.

No matter how lovingly she asks him or tries to teach him. In fact is likely that the more she tries to control them with asking or with teaching, the more resistant he’s going to become her choices or her actual choices are either to accept that this is the way it is or not be in the relationship. But getting him to change is likely not an option. And I had that same kind of situation in my 30 year marriage. At that time, we had very little money at the beginning of, of our relationship, but I did some things to earn a bit.

This was after my first son was born. I was a teacher until then, but then once he was born, I stopped teaching. But I did some things at that to earn a bit more so that I could hire high school kids who came after school and who didn’t charge much to do a lot of the things that I either didn’t have the time to do or didn’t want to do, or that my husband wouldn’t do. So as time went on and my work as a therapist grew, I hired the help I needed so that I didn’t feel like I was doing all the heavy work at no time in our 30 year marriage. And my ex-husband never changed, never offered to help, even though he was not always happy with me hiring people.

So another client Laura said, I expect my partner to do what he says he’s going to do regarding our, our agreements. When he repeatedly breaks our agreements, I feel that he’s not interested in maintaining or improving our relationship. And it destroys my trust. Now I feel I can’t open and talk about my concerns because he’ll just either agree to do something so that I’ll be quiet or he will totally not understand me and blames me instead. Is it okay to expect honesty and follow up actions on agreements?

So making agreements is generally a form of control and this Laura is experiencing the other person will agree to get you off their back and then resist by forgetting to do it or, or doing it badly. Or like with Laura, get angry when she brings it up. Laura wants control over her partner and her partner doesn’t want to be controlled. Well, of course we want honesty and follow up actions to continue to expect them when it’s not happening is what’s unrealistic.

She’s asking if it’s okay to expect honesty and follow up action, but it’s not a matter of it being okay or not. Okay. That’s just not even the issue. The issue is a matter of unrealistic expectation. Patients. Lauren needs to get her eyes off her partner and put them on herself on her controlling behavior. Let’s go with trying to control her partner. Then she will be left with either accepting how it is or leaving the relationship. But again, trying to get him to change. Isn’t an option. He might change if she backs off from trying to control him or he might not.

And then of course, she’s going to have to decide whether or not the relationship works for her. So another client Sarah said, what can we do to handle disappointment as a result of having expectations that were not met in a relationship, how to set appropriate expectations in a relationship that will help avoid disappointment? What should I expect then in a relationship that will, that will not be considered unrealistic. So here’s why, here’s what I said to Sarah. You get what you see. There are no appropriate expectations in a relationship. If someone is doing things that are not acceptable to you, then don’t pursue the relationship, but expecting change.

Isn’t realistic. And unfortunately, most people don’t want to accept that. You get what you see if smoking isn’t okay with you and the person you’re dating smokes, then don’t pursue the relationship. Don’t expect that he or she will change for you. Same with everything else, drinking self care, earning money, being kind, being empathic and compassionate. And so on, no matter how attracted you, artists, someone don’t forget that you get what you see, expectations indicate that you’re not accepting reality.

My client Emily said I expect to be treated well and respected. And I know that’s very important for me to remember because I tend to feel that I don’t deserve that. But at the same time, I know I can’t have expectations of other people. It gets very confusing for me.

Of course, we all want to be treated well and respected, but it’s important to remember that people tend to treat us the way we treat ourselves. Emily needs to learn to treat herself well with respect before others will. Once she’s loving herself, then she won’t choose to be in relationships where she isn’t well treated. It’s not about expectations of others. It’s about loving oneself enough to not accept uncaring treatment and move on from a person who doesn’t treat her.

The expectation that somebody who doesn’t treat you well who doesn’t is an unrealistic expectation. That’s what is going to cause you problems.

My client Beth said, I’ve always put insignificantly more effort in my relationship with my older sister. And I’ve always felt like she doesn’t want to put much effort in. I ended up feeling resentful and angry that I’m always the one reaching out and trying to make our relationship better. She says, she’ll, she’ll call back or text back. But then I hear from her a week later that she’s too busy with work.

Although her career is demanding, this has been her excuse for years and I’m beyond sick of it. How do I know if it’s my expectations of her? Or if the strain I feel is because of her perpetual excuses year after year and lack of trying to be close to me.

So again, when I said to Beth is it’s about accepting people where they are. If Beth wants to continue to have a relationship with her sister, then she needs to stop taking her sister’s behavior personally and accepted. This is how her sister is her resentment and anger from having an unrealistic expectation. I have friends who I value, who I know are not going to respond for a week or so.

So I just let it go. And I happy when I do hear from them. And I also have friends who never reach out and that’s okay with me because I don’t take it personally. That’s just how they are.

My client Mark asked me, surely there are things we can expect of our partner. If we’re in a committed relationship with them, like honesty, help to be private, to be prioritized above people outside of the relationship. Wondering if the requests in relationships and should forget about expectations. Yeah.

Is there anything we can expect or should expect in a relationship? So we, you know, we all have a right. You have a right to whatever you want, but that doesn’t mean the other person will do what you want. And yes, expectations are generally demands. Someone isn’t meeting what you want months into the relationship. Then don’t expect this to change. You just can’t make someone be honest or prioritize you above people outside of the relationship. And again, this isn’t okay with you, then don’t be in the relationship. So Angela said, one of the things I always argued about with my ex was that she was not physically affectionate.

She was avoidant physically and emotionally and physical touch is exactly my love language. I always had expectations of a physically loving relationship. And I thought it came from my core self rather than just an expectation, but it did end up ruining everything. How can one know the difference? So it’s fine to want a physically affectionate relationship. But Angela knew at the beginning that her partner was not a physically affectionate person. So the unrealistic expectation of her partner changing did ruin the relationship. The desire for affection came from her core shell of her essence or inner child.

But the expectation of change came from her wound itself. It’s not having expectations of others that can ruin the relationship. It’s always trying to well, wait, it’s, it’s not only having expectations of others that can ruin relationships. It’s also trying to meet others expectations that can cause much stress and many relationship problems. I was staying at a friend’s house on one of my teaching trips and walked into the kitchen early one morning to find my friend frantically, trying to get everything that she believes she needed to get done before she was going to work.

I walked over to her and put my arm around her and said, breathe. She stopped and breathed and started to cry. What’s going on? I gently asked her listed off all the things she needed to get done before leaving. Okay. Why do you have to get all these things done? I asked her this question stopped her in her tracks. Oh my God. I’m trying to do what everyone expects me to do. And are these things you want to do? I asked her no, she said, and so I said, look, you you’ve got household help here.

The kids are old enough to do these things. And so can your husband, can you get someone else to do them? I asked, yes. She said, and a big smile broke out on her very beautiful face. And I could feel the peace coming into her body. And as we talked more about this, my friend realized that all her life she’d been trying to meet others expectations of her, starting with her mother. She realized how much stress is creates for her. But she also realized how scared she is at someone like her husband, her mother, her kids, her friends will be angry with her. If she doesn’t meet their expectations, patients, would you want your inner what’d?

You would. What would your inner child need from you to feel safe in not meeting others expectations? If what they wanted of you? Wasn’t what you wanted to do. What would be loving to yourself? I asked her, I know exactly what she needs to feel loved by me and to feel safe. She said she needs me to let them know that it’s not okay for me, with me, for them to get angry with me for not meeting their expectations. And then I need to just walk away to lovingly disengage. My inner child also needs for me to not so instantly say yes when they asked me to do things that I don’t want to do.

I need to start to say, no, this has been so challenging for me, but really I can’t stand this stress anymore. All this pressure of meeting everyone’s expectations, I think I’m ready to risk saying no. And speaking up for myself, if they get mad, that thought feels like a big relief inside. So are you loving yourself in the face of others ECPIC of others’ expectations or are you sacrificing herself to control how others feel about you? Are you taking responsibility for other’s feelings or are you focused on what’s loving to you loving yourself in face of others?

Expectations means first of all, tuning in to whether meeting someone’s expectations is in your highest good. Is it loving to you or would you be abandoning yourself to meet their expectations? And then be honest with them, say yes. When you mean yes and no. When you mean no. Now if they get angry and annoyed or blaming, speak up for yourself, by letting them know that you’re available to talk about it. If they’re open to learning with you, but not. If they continue to be angry and blaming, it’s important for you to walk away and not be available for that. Now, if they’re open, you might want to explore why you’re meeting this expectation is important to them and why it might be important to you not to meet it.

Much. Learning actually can occur through exploring expectations, which can lead to a satisfying resolution for both of you. But if the other person isn’t open to learning with you, you may need to lovingly disengage, which means walking away to take loving care of yourself. It’s important. It’s really important for you to become aware of when you’re trying to control how others feel about you by meeting their expectations when you don’t want to. And when meeting their expectations feels like a joy for you, you need to be aware of the difference in the feelings inside.

When it’s a form of control, you’re going to feel stressed and what is what you truly want to do. You’re going to find pleasure in meeting someone’s ECPIC someone’s expectations. The wound itself often has a very long list of expectations regarding how your partner will or should act. If he or she cares about you, or if you’re important to him or her, then when your expectations are not met, you feel hurt angry or disappointment or, or disappointed or blaming believing that these feelings are being caused by your partner or another person rather than by your own expectations.

So I’m gonna read a list of expectations and, and because we all have them. Now, these expectations have nothing to do with whether or not your partner cares. These w these behaviors that you see and that you expect to be there as they actually have no nothing to do with whether or not your partner cares. He or she may have many, many good reasons for behaving in these ways. Reasons that have nothing to do with whether or not your partner cares about you. So I’m going to read this fairly long list of common expectations of a partner.

And I hope you tune in to what are some of the expectations you have for your partner. Now imagine saying these things to your partner, if you really loved me, if you really cared about me, if I were really important to you, you would never do things for yourself that you know, will upset me. Be ready on time. Be turned on to me, or at least make love whenever I want, want to spend your time, the way I want agree with me. Remember our anniversary, loser gain weight, make more money, spend less money, work more, work less. Keep the house neat and clean eat, right?

And take your vitamins. Get enough exercise. Exercise with me dress the way I like be affectionate, but your clothes away make me happy. Never be attracted to anyone else. Never look at the opposite. Sex. Never be affectionate with the opposite sex, or if you’re gay with the same sex, never give into me, do things my way. Call me every day. Bring me flowers. Buy me expensive. Presents solve my problems for me. Always want to be with me, never socialize with me. Never go to a party when I don’t want to go initiate special times for us to be together, stop drinking or taking drugs.

Spend more time with the kids. Stop watching so much television or watch television with me. Take care of me the way I take care of you. Give me more money to take care of me. Financially, do things for me all the time that I’m capable of doing for myself. Go to bed the same time I do stop being friends with people. I don’t like stop being friends with old lovers. Get rid of everything that is reminder of your previous relationships. Never lie to me. Take a shower every day. Love my paths. Love my parents be miserable when I’m miserable and be happy when I’m happy, be miserable and miss me a lot when I’m away or you’re away, practice the same religion. I practice go to church, temple or synagogue or a synagogue with me, believe what I believe spiritually.

Now that’s a long list, but it’s not actually an inclusive list. So you might want to add any, any of your own awarenesses about what you have regarding your expectations. That’s a pretty long list and yes, everybody’s got some of these. So it will be for you to tune into that. Now, what do you do when your expectations aren’t met? You might likely use various forms of controlling behavior when your expectations aren’t met. So I’m going to another, I’m going to again, read a fairly long list, and this is a controlling behavior. So I want to encourage you to be very gentle with yourself.

Not judgmental. All of us have learned to be controlling and all of us have the choice to be compassionate with ourselves. When recognizing that our controlling, when, when, when we actually recognize our controlling behaviors so that we can learn and also recognizing our expectations so that we can learn. If you judge yourself, you’re going to cut off your learning. So lots of times we try to control others in ways our parents tried to control us or each other, or in ways we learned in childhood from other children or from television. Now, until we learn to connect with our guidance and give to ourselves what we expect and what we’re trying to get from others, we’re going to continue to try and control others in many different ways, such as yelling, getting angry, criticizing, judging, being arrogant, demanding, defending, say, shaking your head with that, that noise.

That just, just noise. Yeah. Getting annoyed, irritated, being short and Curt, accusing, blaming pouting, sulking, becoming ill drama, being sneaky and, and deceptive, lying, or withholding the truth. Therapizing analyzing dismissing moralizing, nagging bitching, lecturing, giving advice. Without being asked, arguing, explaining, convincing, selling, becoming self-righteous complaining, justifying, interrogating, denying, talking others out of their feelings by telling them that they’re wrong.

Asking leading questions to which only one answer is acceptable. Bribery, scowling, hitting, spanking, changing the subject, using sarcasm, raising your eyebrows, whining, shrugging your shoulders, making comparisons, throwing things, interrupting telling your feelings is an accusation that the other is causing them. Silent, angry, withdrawal, acting like a know it all interpreting, pushing others into therapy. The silent treatment disapproving looks disapproving size blaming tears. Poor me.

Two years, temper tantrums put downs a superior attitude. Half-truths being a nice guy or a good girl giving gifts with strings attached, being emotionally or financially indispensable. Teaching pointing things out without being asked flattery or giving false compliments, giving in, giving yourself up, going along caretaking giving to get and not asking for what you want, putting aside what you want agreeing with other’s point of view. So as not to get judged people pleasing talking, rescuing censoring, what you say about what you want and what you feel second guessing and anticipating what others want.

Putting yourself down, using threats of financial withdrawal, emotional withdrawal, sexual withdrawal, exposure to others, abandonment, illness, violence, suicide, alcohol, or drug abuse. Now Obviously that’s a very long list. As many of the ways, again, not inclusive of how all of us have been programmed. We’ve been programmed to do some of these, of course not all of them, but each of us has been programmed in our wound itself to do some of these controlling behaviors. And so again, don’t judge yourselves, but controlling behavior often results in creating what you don’t want.

You try to control to get love and avoid pain. You try to control the field safe. You try to manipulate others into meeting your expectations, but by controlling, rather than learning to love yourself and share your love with others, what you create is resistance and power struggles. That’s not fun in a relationship. So I hope you can begin to see that you create the very pain that you’re trying to avoid by your controlling behaviors.

I really encourage you to open to learning about your expectations of your, of yourself and of others and start to see what it would mean to love yourself and share your love rather than trying to get love and avoid pain. And to realize that expectations of others indicate some level of self-abandonment. So whenever you have an expectation over and over again, and you feel frustrated, see if you can go inside and see how you’re not taking care of yourself around that particular situation, there may be a lot for you to learn about that.

I encourage you if you’re in a relationship or even if you’re looking to be in a relationship to take my relationship course, wildly, deeply joyously and love a 30 Day video and email online course. And You can find that on our website@innerbonding.com, click on courses or scroll down the page to the links. And also I have the 30 day love your course. It’s the one that I’m involved in live. You can do it on your own, or you can attend starting June 30th, where I will be with you on a forum.

And I will be doing a Once a week coaching call where I can answer questions that you’ve put in that you’ve put it in the forum and sometimes have time to work with a couple of people. So if you haven’t taken any of the courses, starting with the love yourself course, which starts June 30th would be very, very helpful for you. And of course you can always go to inner bonding.com for our free seven day course. If you want to start to learn inner bonding, I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

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