People have expectations every single day. They have the expectation that they will get up in the morning, follow their daily routine without thinking much about it, go to work in some fashion (even if work is staying home with the kids; which is a 24/7 job). People also have a lot of expectations of their loved ones. Most people don't realize that by having certain expectations, especially of their intimate partner, they create their own heartache.
This can be a very difficult concept to both grasp and accept; after all, many people unintentionally and unknowingly project their inner most pain and suffering (often from their past) onto their loved ones.
In his famous book, The Path to Love (1997), Deepak Chopra suggests, "Words become more personal the more emotional they are." He adds, " Since 'I Love You' is the most emotional phrase in our language, it includes many feelings that you might never openly refer to, particularly the painful ones (p.117).
So many expectations come from those 3 simple (and yet not so simple) words: "I love you." The expectation that our loved one won't hurt or betray us, that they will never leave; that they will always be by our side to protect and support us.
Thus, our expectations often lead to projection; projecting what is unresolved in our past onto our partners in our current life.
As Deepak asserts, "false love operates by projection, displacing your own feelings upon another" (p. 120). He adds, "Projection always hides a feeling you don't want to look at" (p.121).
Many people's expectations and projections get manifested by way of control. For instance, trying to control their partner's every move, thoughts, even feelings, out of fear that if they don't control them, they may lose them (literally and even figuratively).
A caveat to this is that sometimes, because one's spouse has an addiction to something or someone (a substance or a process-food, sex, work, money), a partner may try to control their actions, thoughts, and feelings out of intense fear of continual hurt and betrayal.
Research shows that this is often a byproduct of them feeling hugely betrayed; trust is completely gone. Partners of sex addicts, for instance, show signs of Post Traumatic Stress as a result of the perpetual lies, deceit, and betrayal.
I am not saying that it is not ok or even normal to have expectations. What I am saying is that if our expectation is for our partner to fulfill what is unresolved in us based on our past, we are setting both them and ourselves up for failure.
If you take a minute and examine a negative trait that you believe is in your partner, you will likely find that trait inside of you as well. The more you deny it, the more you will project it onto your partner. The more expectations you have related to your partner changing this trait, the more you will find yourself in suffering and heartache.
What is the lesson here? Yes, have expectations. However, keep them realistic of both yourself and other people. Look at your own projections. As challenging as this is and as much as you want to insist that you don't have any of the negative traits you are pointing out in your partner, you likely do.
And, as always, know:
YOU ARE WORTH IT, EVERY SINGLE DAY!
Join Jenny Jo Tuttle tomorrow night, Feb 24th, 2015, 6-7:30 p.m. for Relationship Recovery Class. Whether you are single or in a relationship, come! Fee: $45 per person, $75 per couple. 4505 S. Wasatch Blvd Ste 205, SLC UT 84124; 801-272-3500.
Photo by livlovecreate.com.