Disappointment

 

Sometimes I look forward to something and it doesn’t happen.

I feel disappointed. Sometimes, I even feel heartbroken.

I know and sense it’s old and not really about the current situation, and it feels a bit childish to get so disappointed. That may be a reason I haven’t thoroughly looked at this yet. The embarrassment and the thought “it’s childish” serve as gatekeepers for entering and exploring the wound behind it.

I recently had this disappointment triggered again.

The situation triggering disappointment, what does it say about me? What do I tell myself about me in that situation? 

I am missing out.

I am unloved. I am uncared for.

I am alone.

These thoughts are familiar to me and came easily. I want to see what more is here.

Others have more fun than me. They are enjoying life more than me. They are getting something I am missing out of.

My life is not worth living. It’s hopeless. It will be like this forever. I am unloved by God. I am unloved by life.

This second set of thoughts are also familiar to me, but I hadn’t seen that they were behind this disappointment and the emotions and states that came with it.

What’s my earliest memory of feeling so disappointed? 

I am 6-8 years old and in London on vacation with my parents. I am exhausted from a long day walking around in parks and galleries, and I want and am looking forward to my favorite thing which is coca cola in a can. (We didn’t have coke cans in Norway.) The street vendor doesn’t have it, and I am grief-stricken and angry. My parents buy me a souvenir knife (a small folding knife with ivory on it and a picture of a beef eater). I throw it hard at the ground.

If I bring myself back to that situation, what does it say about me?

Life is over. My life has no meaning. I am unloved. I am uncared for. Life is against me.

Seeing these thoughts, I also see that it makes sense I felt the way I did. The sadness, grief, hopelessness, frustration, and anger didn’t make sense in the context of the current triggering situation, but they do in the context of this early situation where I was worn out and had looked forward to one thing that I didn’t get.

These thoughts spun around in my mind, and although I was not consciously aware of them I certainly experienced their effects in terms of emotions, moods, and states. As I identified these thoughts and wrote them down, I got to see what created these feelings and states, and I got to see that it all makes sense and that it has to do with early experiences in my life. I got to see the innocence of it all. And there is some relaxing of these dynamics just from identifying the thoughts and seeing the innocence of it.

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Initial notes…..

  • disappointment
    • looking forward to something and it doesn’t happen
    • what does it say about me? what do I tell myself about me in that situation?
      • I am missing out
      • I am unloved / uncared for
      • I am alone
    • can help just to write this down
      • if don’t look at/write down, then spin around in the mind and may not even notice the thoughts although I feel the effects of the thoughts (sadness, grief, hopelessness, anger, frustration etc.)
      • when I look at and write down, get to see what’s creating those feelings/emotions/states

……….

When I see these thoughts, it makes sense I would feel the way I did. The sadness, grief, hopelessness, frustration, and anger all make sense. They don’t necessarily make sense in the context of the current triggering situation, but they do in the context of this early situation in my life where I was completely worn out and had looked forward to one thing that I didn’t get.

For whatever reason, I didn’t explore the thoughts and identities behind the disappointment for a while. They still spun around in my mind, and although I was not consciously aware of them I certainly experienced the effects of these thoughts. (In this case, sadness, grief, hopeless, anger, frustration.)

When I instead identified some of these thoughts and wrote them down, I got to see what created these feelings and states, and there is some disidentification, ease, and relief just from that.

……

For whatever reason, I may not explore the thoughts and identities behind whatever emotions or states are triggered. They will still spin around in my mind, and although I am not consciously aware of them, I certainly experience the effects of these thoughts. (In this case, sadness, grief, hopeless, anger, frustration.)

When I instead identify some of these thoughts and write them down, I get to see what’s creating these feelings and states, and there is some disidentification just from that. Some ease and relief.

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