EXPECTATIONS AS RESENTMENTS

We can put our loved ones on the carousel, but we can’t expect them to be happy.

A mom wrote to me, Three years ago, when my nightmare began with my daughter’s addiction to heroin, my days were filled with dread and desperation. Looking back, my addict was only half of that chaos. The other half was created by me. I didn’t expect to have a good day, nor did I even think I deserved it. I felt everything was my fault because I was responsible for everything and everyone.  

I am now learning to allow others the dignity to make their own decisions and reap the rewards of their actions or suffer the consequences. I am not responsible for everyone, all the time. My experience tells me that when I set expectations for others, I am frequently disappointed.  In All My Affairs, I limit the expectations I have of others.

My reaction: The Big Book states, “Expectations are resentments waiting to happen.” Jeff’s addiction taught me that I couldn’t control his actions, even though I often wanted want to. I can plan, hope and pray that something occurs, but I have no power over anyone else. A hard lesson to learn and a harder one to accept. But my serenity is based on me letting go of expectations.

Today’s Promise to consider: Today I will let go of my expectations for others. I admit my shortcoming in wanting to control people around me, but I must acknowledge that I can’t. I will give others the dignity of making their own decisions, and I will find my serenity in making good choices for myself.


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Pat Nichols
Pat Nichols
10 years ago

The greatest love of all is the love parents of an addicted child have. There is no greater love. However, this level of love is only achieved by the setting of appropriate boundaries which define the parents expectations of themselves. As is often said, “It is a new normal.”

Last Tuesday night at my Families Anonymous meeting a mother said this, “This is my fourth meeting and this past week was the first time in ten years I have felt a sense of peace with myself.” This is the reward of letting go of our expectations of others and coming to the realizations that we are good parents who have a very ill child.

Addiction is a mental illness, a primary disease.

Of course, these are just my personal opinions.

In prayer for all our children and their families.

Jeannine
Jeannine
10 years ago

I love this post! It really rings true to what I have learned. I heard early on in family recovery that expectations were premeditated resentments. I didn’t understand that, because I thought I had a right to have some level of expectation towards those in my family. By putting the focus on myself, what I have come to understand is that letting go of my expectations is about taking care of me first. I can now release these things to God and no longer plot and plan for the result that I desire. Today I know that God’s plans are far better than mine, and he doesn’t need my advice!

Susan
Susan
10 years ago

I LOVE every single word written in this posting… Libby and “Mom-Anonymous” and Jeannine and Pat… Thank YOU. (I love the carousel photo too!)

Nanci
Nanci
10 years ago

What a beautiful family picture, Libby. If only life was as easy as taking our children on the merry-go-round versus ‘being on the merry-go-round’ of addiction.
I have learned, through the fellowship of Alanon and a handful of close friends, what Jeannine mentioned; Expectations are premeditated resentments. I struggled with this concept for years, but now, I find it quite liberating. It is NOT the life I would have chosen for my son but I have NO control over the choices he makes in his life.
You nailed it, Libby…”My serenity is based on letting go of my expectations.” So liberating! Thank you for this helpful meditation.
Love,
Nanci

Rickie
Rickie
10 years ago

Think I’ll hop onto the roller-coaster today, got a call earlier this week from my son asking to “visit” for a couple hours this Friday, 1st time he’ll b home since Feb. I hesitate to permit the visit but yet don’t want to pass the opportunity to see m. He says he wants to try to do some things around the house for me like he did when he was living a clean life….I’m praying he is sincere. Although he asks to return to live with me ultimately his choice is to remain homeless instead of getting clean for which I’ve set as a condition for him to return home. I’ve so much anger & resentment & after years, only now am I beginning to realize these feelings are most likely caused by my own expectations & disappointment.
My toddler grandson comes for his monthly 8 day stay with Gram beginning this weekend. (Thanking GOD for his understanding & clean mother). It tears me apart to tell my son NO I cannot have you at my home when your son is here. I remind him how lucky it is that you could be spending time with his child yet he might spend one day then not see you for weeks. The child doesn’t understand why his Daddy isn’t always around during his stay with Gram. It was only in May this year I began not permitting my son to visit during his son’s visits. I feel it’s unfair to the young guy who so very much loves his daddy but it’s just easier for him not to see his Dad. He has so many questions when his Daddy isn’t here & the look on his face when his Dad disappears outside for what seems like hours or when he actually leaves I just couldn’t handle it anymore. Am I wrong? I’m just venting (sorry)..I know there are all sorts of answers & I don’t actually expect anyone to be able to tell me what to do.. IF ONLY IT WERE THAT EASY. So although I stand my ground on not permitting my son to see his child, I will pick up my ticket for the (Roller-Coaster) ride sometime this morning, I’m praying it’ll be happy smiles instead of screams of terror. I already have that “queezy-yet excited” feeling in my gut but as I get ready to hit the red leave comment button, I say a little prayer to GOD, Please let today be the day my son chooses the road of sobriety. Help him lord to find his way & come home to us.
Thank you Pat for your thoughts, you’ve been a huge impact on changing my own thinking from the first time I read posts on this site. Although I have yet the peace as referenced from a Mom in your post, I’m working on it,I sincerely believe its from posts submitted by loyal followers such as you & Barbara.
@Jeannine & Nanci (both words well said)…Thanks!
@Susan, I too so appreciate the above post.
It is so refreshing to read positive post of sobriety yet it saddens me realizing there are SO MANY sharing such devasting experiences however I look forward to EVERY post whether I agree or not I am in the learning process & this site is my teacher. (probably get a D for not making much sense, sorry)
ROLLER-COASTER RIDE…..(to be continued)

Libby Cataldi
Libby Cataldi
10 years ago

Dear All,

Thanks for sharing. Yes, I, too, learned in Al-Anon that “expectations are premeditated resentments.” Thanks, Jeannine and Nanci, for reminding me. However, I never ‘got’ the statement, not for a long time. Letting go and letting God was something that made sense, but expectations were something that I thought I had a ‘right’ to make. Jeff was my child, right? Shouldn’t a mother be able to expect something good from her child, I thought.

I finally understood that my serenity and my health were based on me letting go. I couldn’t control him, I couldn’t even find him most of the time. I was making myself crazy! As the mother wrote in the meditation – I was half of the problem!

I also love Nanci’s comment about being ON the merry-go-round of addiction.

Love to you,

L

Libby Cataldi
Libby Cataldi
10 years ago

Dear Rickie,

You make lots of sense. Those of us reading these posts know the confusion, terror, craziness, betrayal and deep, deep sadness that is addiction. You are not alone.

You are correct that it would be great if there were ‘answers,’ real and legitimate answers to the illness that is addiction. Al-Anon is the only place where I found a basic framework that helped me. There I found others who knew my walk, loved me with all my faults and helped me to see my way to some sort of peace (or maybe acceptance).

Love to you,

L

Rickie
Rickie
10 years ago

Libby: Tears in my eyes, love in my heart..thank you!

Libby Cataldi
Libby Cataldi
10 years ago

Rickie, Love right back to you. Your pain and confusion are real. My heart is with you; our hearts are with you.

Barbara
Barbara
10 years ago

Dear Rickie,

Libby is right. Everyone here knows and feels the chaos you’re in.

I will pray rosaries for you tonight. In my religion (Catholic) the rosary can be very powerful. I will pray that you will find the peace and serenity you deserve.

Love,

Barbara

Barbara
Barbara
10 years ago

Dear Libby,

What a beautiful picture! A beautiful family!

Libby
Libby
10 years ago

Dear Barbara,
Always good to see you here. Love to you!! Thanks for staying close.
Libby

Rickie
Rickie
10 years ago

Thanks Barbara – I feel like I know you personally!
Your kind heart & thoughtfulness jumps out from the words I read! BLESS YOU!

Hope
Hope
10 years ago

I love the sharing and honesty and compassion here. Words that open my ears and heart in a new way. So much to meditate on and examine— I feel changed by what I hear. Even though i read with tears in my eyes at times, and feel the pain and chaos, it’s like everyone’s hard earned wisdom is part of a collective prayer– and one that gives insight. Soothes. My last weeks have been light-er. Not better. Lighter. I know that is because of all of you. I’ve been writing more again. for a while i was too scared and anxious but Libby is right it can be good therapy for me.

Today:

I might not be tearless –but I’m working on fearless

Anger can change to (d)anger or anger can change to ange(l)

Good night my fearless angel friends —

Libby
Libby
10 years ago

Dear Hope,

God bless you!!! Stay strong and know we are with you. Continue to write! Your words are filled with honesty, emotion and hope. Love and light to you.

L