I didn’t expect…

Sometimes you wake up and think it’s going to be a great day, and it isn’t.  Sunday was that kind of day for me.

First thing I cuddled with hubby when I woke and had a silly dog jumping on us all excited and playing, so waking up was loving and fun.  Soon that changed.

I’m not sure what the first thing was but the day became full of petty little arguments and bad feelings.  We would disagree, apologize then something else would happen and we’d disagree again, or we were just very short with each other.  I know I spent most of the day in a huff, or tears.

I tried to talk about what was discussed in my last therapy session….loss….and I got very emotional (read sobbing like a baby).  He did not react like I wanted.  Notice what I said, I felt he was in the wrong because he didn’t behave like I wanted, like I expected him to.  So who’s at fault there?  I think that would be me.  We aren’t hurt by people, we are hurt by our expectations of people.  And I think that is how the rest of day kind of played out.  We didn’t act the way the other person wanted, or expected and that caused bad feelings.

equanimity 6

This can happen with anyone.  If I admit it, that is what happened when I felt abandoned by my friends when I got sick.  I was so hurt, so angry, they didn’t react the way I expected.  This caused all my unhappiness.  That is why I was so hurt.  My friends did not react the way I expected.  What did I expect?  Visits, talks, help, I expected this and more.  People aren’t always going to do what we expect.  It doesn’t make them bad people.  We don’t know the reasons.  Perhaps my illness brought back bad memories, or fear over their own health,   Some people simply don’t know how to be a friend during these times or they don’t really want to be.  We have to accept this.  More than anything we need to understand that the hurt comes from our expectations, not from the people.  Does that make it hurt less?  Sometimes.  When a person I’ve loved for years and years disappeared after I got sick, it hurt.  It hurts more when I know I was there for the person when they needed me.  However, their need ended, there is no end in sight for my needs.  I will always be different than I used to be.  That’s a hard thing for any relationship to endure.  We loose relationships for a number of reasons, we fight, we move, we change jobs….  Not all relationships stay in our lives.  Things change.  We can look at friends we’ve lost since our illness took hold and think, “they showed their true colors”, “they weren’t real friends”… The truth is, they aren’t what we expected them to be and it is that expectation that causes us pain.

I can hear some of you saying, “They abandoned me, shouldn’t I be hurt?”  I’m not saying it won’t hurt, what I’m saying is, we often bring more hurt upon ourselves than is needed.  We have to let it go.  Did the fact that they are no longer in our lives negate all the good times we had?  I hope not.  It changes how we will interact with them in the future.  We’ve changed, they have changed, the relationship changed.  That change may be that it is over.  It may be that the relationship becomes something different from what it was before, we have to decide if it is worth it.  We can have bad feelings about this, but it is our decision whether to hold on to these feelings or let them go.  I try hard to let them go, to find equanimity.  Do I always succeed?  NO.  Sometimes the hurt comes back to the surface, I think that’s a part of grief.  But now I can sit back and think, why is this bothering me so much?  I always come back to the same thing, I want it to be different than it is.  My wants are causing me harm.

Not everyone has to understand what I’m going through, and not everyone has to be there for me.  It is a great feat to be able to accept a person for how they are, even when they let you down.  I’ve decided to let go of the past relationships that didn’t work.  I work on relationships with people who understand my limitations and are willing to work on our relationship the way it is now.  I don’t have many friends from before.  I have made a number of friends on-line since I’ve gotten sick, and lost my hearing.  Due to my limitations, I haven’t been able to make friends outside of the house, maybe that will happen in the future, but I’m okay with that.  I will continue to nurture the relationships I have and focus on these things.

When I got sick most of my friends were starting a family.  I had many friends who were pregnant at the same time the year before I got really sick.  Keeping up with me kind of went by the wayside.  They had a new life, one that would have been new if I were sick or not.  Our friendships would have changed.  Would they have survived if I hadn’t gotten sick?  Probably, at least for longer than they did.  Things changed.  I could no longer nurture the relationships the way I had before, my friends couldn’t find a way to bend to my new limitations.  Is there hard feelings?  I’d lie if I said they aren’t ever there, but for the most part, I’ve found peace with this.  Realizing that my pain comes from me, makes it easier to have equanimity in this situation.

Something else I noticed, when I tried to attend a few gatherings with my friends after I’d been sick for a while, I realized, I had nothing to say.  I used to be a social butterfly, always being able to have conversations with anyone.  After getting sick my world shrank, I rarely go out other than go to the doctors.  My friends still worked, ran around with their kids, and had rich social lives; my life revolves around my health.  That doesn’t give us much to talk about.  I wanted to hear all about their lives, but I had nothing to contribute to the conversations.  I was uncomfortable, and I made others uncomfortable.  Conversations were forced.  We had changed.  The fact that our friendships didn’t survive doesn’t mean either of us are bad people, we grew apart, as many people do.  When you become chronically ill to the point that your life changes so dramatically, it forces all of your relationships to change in a very short period of time.  Suddenly I didn’t have hardly anything in common with my core group of friends.  Normally if relationships change it takes time,  If you lose a relationship it doesn’t normally come in a mass exodus.  That is exactly what happens to many who are chronically ill.  We don’t see this as a natural progression in a relationship, we see this as abandonment.  It hurts much more than when you lose one friend because of something, you are suddenly losing many friends.  When I realized things change no matter what, and I will never know just how they would have changed without me getting sick, it helps me accept these things.

I realize now how much relationships change no matter what, and how much we need to nurture a relationship to keep it alive.  I hope this helps me to be a better friend and find compassion for others and myself when dealing with changing relationships.

 

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17 thoughts on “I didn’t expect…

  1. Feeling as if you have limited topics of conversation hits home for me too. I was always very social – I was jokingly called Julie the Cruise Director – and I also always worked 2-3 jobs simultaneously while also managing to fit school somewhere in there too. Now I have a lot of medical appointments. Hell, even I don’t want to listen to me sometimes. 🙂 Regarding your hurt feelings, that has been a topic in my group meditations at a local health crisis center; we have talked about emotions and the value we tend to assign to them (anger = bad, joy = good) and how we should acknowledge them instead of deciding whether they are good or bad. Also, we might be directing our own TV show and want everyone to hit our designated marks, but every single other person is also directing their own show, and there is bound to be a conflict of interests.

    • Love that you were called Julie.ha! I used to work multiple jobs especially when in school, so I understand your mentality. Your group is interesting. I try not to label emotions as good or bad, they just are. I may try to write about that sometime.
      I’m interested in your group though. I can see how your exercise could really help in certain situations.

      • I usually end up being the youngest person in the room, which can be a little weird at times. It’s also a fluid group – you never really know who is going to be there for the meditation, though there are some people who have been attending for years. The generation above mine really works hard to embrace new concepts that contradict what they were raised with.

        • I’m probably in that next generation you are talking about. How old are you? I’d like to find a group I’m comfortable with. Going to the next Hearing Loss Association meeting. Soule be fun.

  2. I think I mentioned in the last post–no expectations. Letting go is hard, but you have to in order to live happily with whatever you are dealing with in life. Yes, it is our expectations of others and of ourselves that can make us miserable if we let it. It is a choice we make every day. Love and hugs

    • Denise, I’m glad this helped in some small way. It’s hard, and I still struggle at times, but I think it has become easier when I realized that what I was expecting is what was hurting me the most. I also find it helpful to be compassionate for others and myself. I may not be able to fine equanimity all the time, so I need to be gentle with myself, and know I’m doing the best I can.

  3. Pingback: I Didn’t Expect from “Picnic with Ants” | Hearing Elmo

  4. I’m a bit late in getting here. (I’m a bit late in a lot of things recently.) But I’m very happy to have read this. I guess for me…I usually communicated with my friends online and when I got sick that didn’t really change. I, too, felt a bit abandoned. None of them have come to visit me since I moved. But I do understand that they have lives, and children, and complicated jobs. And really, I wish them all the best. Also, before I got sick, I saw less of them more and more (there’s probably a better way of saying that) because of children and leveling up at work, just as you say. And since I’m not in a relationship and don’t have kids, I can’t relate to that part of their lives. But I still keep up with them. We still have weird conversations about the reproductive systems of mermaids and how the DC Cinematic Universe is coming along. They haven’t forgotten me because I don’t let them. I’m still here. Like an annoying fly on the wall you just can’t get rid of.

    I really look forward to seeing you again very soon.

    • Auryn, I know we had some of the same friends, but the friends you were closer to were always communicated better on line. or even texts.
      I was getting closer to them but they were still weren’t really close.
      The people I were closer to didn’t handle it well when I lost my hearing. they are phone people. They don’t communicate via chat, email, on-line, or texts very well. They would do that now and then but as a way to communicate all the time, it just wasn’t going to happen. I don’t know if our friendships would have lasted longer if I could talk on the phone, I’ll never know. I do know things would have changed no matter what. And some people can’t deal with change.

      I feel bad I haven’t been able to come see you. When we’ve gone by when going to Durham for doctor visits we both wanted to stop, but my health wouldn’t let us. The past few years have been hard on both of us. I’m glad I’ll be seeing you soon!

  5. It burns to understand it all. I lost 98% of my friends when I had lyme disease without treatment, then when I came back to school (this was 12 years ago) I made some back. When I started up with the mental health problems I lost a lot more, including 2 best friends over the years without a diagnosis. I’m that annoying fly on the wall for a few people myself. Including you. Maybe like a magical fly because I don’t always talk but sometimes I regain enough fairy dust to be able to. Thinking of you xooxoxoxoxoxox.

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