Broadly there are three categories of things of which we have expectations:
Of course, some things, like family holidays, can be a letdown for all three reasons.
Looking at the second and third categories (ie, all the situations where we tend to have expectations of people), the question is, how does the person of whom we have expectations feel?
Most people experience an expectation as a demand. If a child has the expectations, most adults can handle the implied demands. But, when it is an adult, it can be much harder for others, for a number of reasons. One of which is that we feel the expectation that the other person has of us is unreasonable or unwarranted.
Another, very important, one is that, while we hear “expectations” consciously, subconsciously we pick up the demand. This means we aren’t sure why we find the expectation galling.
Many people feel they need to stay in a dependent position with respect to other people—that is, they need to make other people responsible for meeting their needs. Paradoxically (as it appears), they often do so by being very giving.
But it isn’t true giving. It is “giving in order to get”. Often when we give, whether it is a referral to a business person, or a sweet to a child, we have an expectation that we will get something back—a referral in return, or the love of the child. Often, that expectation is unconscious and, because it is unconscious, we are not only unaware of it. We even deny it is there.
However, expectations—unconscious or not—are experienced as demands, and people don’t like demands being made of them. So they don’t reciprocate and the giver ends up frustrated and empty handed.
© 2015 Jeremy Marchant Limited . by Jeremy Marchant . uploaded 12 may 2015, last edited 4 march 2018 . image: Free images