Self Growth

When loved ones disappoint us

People will disappoint me, just as I will disappoint them. But I’m not going to talk about my weaknesses. Instead I will focus on how to accept relationship disappointment as a sensitive person that I am. Surely, my relationships bring joy and meaning to my life, but they are not perfect at all. And the more significant my relationship is to me, the more it could make me feel down when disappointed.

One disappointment I’m referring is that of unmet emotional needs. For example, there were times when I would share my thoughts and feelings with my husband about some matter that bothers me. But instead of being validated and emphatized, he would try to suggest solutions or change my thinking to his point of view. Of course, as a counselor, I know that this is not uncommon to men, yet, it is also not uncommon for women to feel let down.

If I share this kind of stuff to other people, I guess that what they would usually say is let it go. Others would say, do not expect anything so you wouldn’t get hurt. But with this, I will argue that it depends on one’s expectations. Expecting to feel heard, seen, safe, validated, and understood in one’s significant relationship is a normal expectation in any relationship. And when these emotional needs are not met, it is but natural to feel sad and upset.

Other women will resort to letting disappointments slide in order to maintain peace in the relationship. This is alright if it happens occasionally, but it becomes a different matter when it occurs frequently.

But regardless of the frequency, this is what I would advise myself and others who have similar or MORE PAINFUL experiences than mine.

1. Acknowledge and accept your feelings

It is best to be our own best friend (or at least one of our best friends). If nobody’s around to validate our feelings, then we should be the one to do it for ourselves. Feelings are not wrong, there is always a reason why we feel something, though we may know it or not.

One of our needs is to feel connected with others, especially with our loved ones. This is present with us since the time we were born — an infant wanting to be held, to be attended to to, and to be soothed. And as an adult, this need for connection didn’t disappear. Relationship experts have always stressed our needs to be to be heard, seen, safe, validated, and understood in our significant relationships.

Therefore, when something happened that emotionally disconnect us from our loved ones, it is but natural to have negative feelings such as hurt, disappointment, sadness, and sometimes anger. So when we feel these feelings, know that that is completely okay. We shouldn’t guilt ourselves for experiencing such things, we are just humans.

2. Let the feelings flow

Most of the time our feelings are accompanied with emotions, and emotions are accompanied by bodily sensations. For example, when you’re sad or lonely, you can feel that sunken feeling on your chest. When you’re angry, you can feel an energy rising in your body that compels you to shout or hit something, or tightening on your chest.

These emotions are physically uncomfortable that most of us would do anything to forget it by distracting ourselves. But the best thing to do is let it flow in your body. It’s painful but it’s not going to kill you. You can let your feelings flow by writing on a diary or talking to someone who understands.

When you let the feelings flow, that’s when you let it go.

3. Accept that everyone is flawed just like us.

By accepting that everyone has flaws and shortcomings in their relationships, we make room for people’s shortcomings.

For toxic and abusive relationships

I would just like to say that this is a different nature of relationship. Abusive relationships do not just make one feel down, it can affect one’s well-being leading to depressive symptoms, anxiety, and low self-esteem among others. If you feel that you’re in this kind of relationship, please talk to a professional or a counselor.

Final Thoughts

As humans, our needs for connections such as to be validated, to be seen, and be heard are normal. And when these things did not happen, it can make us feel hurt, sad, lonely, and angry. Because of this, there’s no reason to be guilty and shameful about it. What we need to do is to acknowledge and accept our feelings, let it flow in us, and accept that we all have shortcomings one way or another.

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