I would be very curious to hear your opinion on disappointment from a loved one. Let’s say one has invested a lot into a relationship and put a lot of patience, affection and caring for the other person and one day, in a time of need, the other one puts his ego above kindness and helpfulness and leaves the first person dealing alone with a situation where they could have been of great help. It’s a deep disappointment when somebody invests in a partner and in a certain situation he doesn’t help and proves himself to be egocentric.
I will answer mostly from the point of view of what the person that has been disappointed needs to do, or to think about, but not about what the other person needs to do. Keep this in mind, otherwise you will feel that I am being one sided…and I am : ) The reason for it is that the little details I have about what happened come from disappointment. To talk about the other point of view I would need the other part’s point of view.
To start with, disappointment is a very typical feeling for many people because it is based on expectations. And who doesn’t have expectations? So, to me, the main problem is not with the other person, but with my own expectations.
Everything that happens, happens for a reason. I don’t mean it in a magical or esoteric kind of way, but I am talking about a very basic, down to earth cause. Each person has a particular psychology because of an innumerable amount of reasons or causes. By our psychology I mean the way we interpret the world, the way we interpret what happens to us. Nothing in the world has any meaning other than the one we bring to it with our own psychology. What happens in the world is one thing, but the way I see what happens in the world is very different from the way you see the same thing. And this difference is much larger and profound than we often realize. Especially when it comes to relationships, when we think we know the other person, and suddenly that person does something that I think he or she shouldn’t do. Whatever the person has done, he or she did it for a reason, and that reason is his/her own psychology. I may be aware of that reason, or I may not be aware of it, but for sure there is a reason.
The main problem is not that the person did what he or she did, but my expectations that the person should not have done it.
Now, from the point of view of the other person there may be a problem. The person may lack a sense of presence towards the world outside, and this is a difficulty. But what can I do about it other than try to point it out? The lack of presence is a form of emotional blindness, and if the person is blind, what can I do? From the point of view of the person the blindness is the problem, but from my point of view the problem is my lack of awareness of his or her blindness; my problem is the expectation that the other person should not be blind. But the thing with blindness is that nobody chooses such a thing. Blindness happens.
There is another problem with expectations: we believe deeply in our hearts that people owe us things because of the love we have offered them. But most of the time what we call love is mostly attachment.
For example, you say: ‘Let’s say one has invested a lot into a relationship and put a lot of patience, affection and caring for the other person and one day, in a time of need the other one puts his ego above…’
Most people put patience, affection and care as a deposit in the ‘love bank’ and they hope to take the ‘money’ out when they need it, but very often things don’t work like that.
Most people don’t love because of the other person, but because of themselves. This is very difficult to see, but it happens most of the time. I love the other person because he or she makes me feel good. So what I love is not really the other person but my good feeling.
Of course there is care and feelings for the other, but also, and especially, there is an immense need to be loved, and so I offer patience, affection and care as a way to guarantee that I will keep love (my good feeling) safe.
And so I give, expecting to receive, and when I don’t, I blame.
But again, the problem is not that the other person did not give back, the problem is that I myself am needy and I expect the other person to fulfill my needs. We believe that this equation is right, but it is not. The way to succeed in a relationship is to come from a place of fullness, not of neediness1.
- I wrote an article about love and neediness here.