This quote is from the movie: “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (a wonderful movie from the 1980’s that I encourage everyone to see!) I am 32 years of age and have spent most of my life depending on other’s to make me happy. My parent’s had me at a very young age and my mom (who I love dearly) had difficult times that made me feet abandoned and I spent a lot of my life searching for a mother figure. I also despised every woman that my dad dated because I wanted him all to myself at all times. I relied on him for 100 percent of my happiness because he was and still is my best friend. But that is a lot of pressure to put on anyone and no one can fulfill that job. I relied on friendships for happiness and my expectations of people were very high. I wanted so much to be loved my whole life and I am now finally learning it is because I never learned to love myself to the extent I needed to.
Then you throw in brain surgery and chronic pain and your expectations at that age go sky high. Somebody had to love me enough to make my pain go away, someone had to love me enough to hold me for days as I cried in their arms, someone had to hold my hand as I fell asleep crying my eyes out because I was afraid to wake up the next day and face a day of pain all over again. I hated my life in constant pain and in turn I did things that made me hate myself. Boyfriends at times called me: “a needy, little girl.” which made me hurt more and dislike the person I had become even more. I needed love, empathy, understanding and just someone to make my life better. All the while, and possibly too young to understand that person was me.
My friend brought up a topic that affects people with chronic pain or without chronic pain. Anger and obsessing on someone or something he or she did to upset us. I think we all have done this at times. My dad may say something to me that I find so insensitive and hurtful and I will ruminate for days on end thinking: “Why the hell would he say that! I’m his daughter!” Meanwhile he would probably have zero recollection of what he said and have no clue it had upset me. I have a terrible sinus infection and have been awake since about 2:30 am because the pressure is so hard for me to manage and I can’t breathe. My one year old has the same thing, not as bad but awoke many times throughout the night because she couldn’t breathe well and was scared and needed to be held. My husband knew this. I even made a point to text him at 2:30am to prove I was awake and felt awful. He saw my swollen face this morning when he woke up for work and not being a morning person barely said hi. As he was leaving for work he mentioned: “Hey, lets go out for a nice lunch when I get back!” I wanted to scream (if I had any voice) : “Are you kidding me! Do you not see me? Do you not realize how shitty I feel? Did you not see me awake with our daughter half the night? Don’t you give a shit? How could I go to lunch!” I made a snide remark but there was no arguing. However, as shitty as I have felt all day I spent much of the time he was at work thinking about how insensitive he seemed. I was pissed. I was expecting him to say and do what I would say and do: “Hunny, I am so sorry you are sick. I’ll take care of you when I get home ok? We can cuddle and watch movies.” That isn’t the man I married, that is the person I am. We all loved to be taken care of when we are sick hence the reason relationships are so beyond difficult when we are not managing an invisible illness well. Should I have spent those three hours angry with my husband: no. Pointless. He shows me he cares in his own way and was half asleep when he mentioned going out to lunch. Expectations are the root to major issues.
My expectations for people in my life are way too high and I seem to always expect them to act the way I would act, which just is ridiculous. I have gotten a lot better at this as I have begun to feel proud of myself again and love myself again. I do not in any way feel like that “needy, little girl” I used to be called. When I lower my expectations of people not only am I a happier person but they seem to suddenly begin exceeding my expectations.
The thing is, we can only change ourselves. As soon as we expect people to change or act as how we would want them to act we are doomed for disappointment. I could write for weeks about the changes and things in the people I love that I want to be different. It isn’t a bad thing to get your anger out on paper but do not expect people to change. Lower your expectations. Let people be who they are. That is a very hard thing to do for all of us. I know that. I work at this on a daily basis. I have had to let so much anger and expectations go because it has done me no good. It has only made my chronic pain worse. I try very hard to know I can only change myself. Of course the people I love are going to piss me off but I have to let it go much quicker than I used to. I do not have the energy or time to ruminate and waste MY valuable energy and time on anyone with anger.
People tend to surprise us when we least expect them to (in a positive way). Lower your expectations, love yourself, try to see the good in everyone even when you want to tell them off, as I did this morning with my husband. Use that deep belly breaths. Five for five. Five seconds in, five seconds out, five times. When all else fails, find something to distract yourself that makes you happy. I’m tired of expecting other people to make me happy. The happier I am with myself the less I expect anyone to make me happy. When I feel good with myself, the energy spreads like wild fire and it becomes much more difficult to make me angry. I have definitely reached a point where I am just tired of it.