Being Let Down by a Loved One

April 26, 2016

It’s not easy when people let us down. We hate it. But when a loved one let us down, we start to wonder how we missed all the person’s flaws in the first place, how this happened, and what we can do in order to move forward. I’ve learned that when someone I have no emotional attachment let me down, in the back of my mind I am prepared to deal with the disappointment that comes with it. It is easier to accept that somebody, somehow, somewhere, eventually can let me down. But, the truth is that no matter how close I am , no matter how much we love each other, I still can be let down by this person. Idealisation and disillusionment are normal and we need to be compassionate to ourselves when we deal with those situations that are likely to make us feel disappointed, in order to train our brain to tame our reaction to these events. Self awareness is necessary to manage our emotions effectively, because when someone breaks our heart, specially a loved one, it hurts. There is no other way to put it. The only thing we can do is to learn from the experience in order not to lose our identity, and also check if our expectations were unreasonable.

While disappointment feels very personal, if we could detach our feelings from the situation, sometimes we are able to see what happened from a different perspective, and understand that the fact that we were let down by someone, doesn’t necessarily reflects how our loved one feels about us, but it is a reflection of what this person is dealing with, in the context of their own life.

When we have high expectations we need to keep in mind that there is no way all our expectations will be met. We need to know what we expect from others, and communicate in a way to also let others know what we expect from them. Sometimes, we assume that the other person know how we want them to behave, and this is very unrealistic. We also need to be careful not to expect things that conflict with each other, and let go of expectations that we adopted during our life, but don’t belong to us anymore. We usually carry others expectations, or we have dated expectations, that made sense in the past, but don’t reflect our true selves in the present.

If you feel disappointed by a loved one, give yourself some time to experience your emotional reaction to this disappointment. Don’t act on your emotions, just allow yourself to experience your emotional reaction, because it can offer you great insight into how much something means to you. If you feel that it is worthwhile, maybe you could try to talk things out with the other person, but it’s important to abandon any expectations you may have going into the conversation, just keep in mind what you want to accomplish. Every situation is different, I’ve been let down by someone I love more than once in life, and depending on the circumstances, it is possible to reach an agreement and understanding, but if someone continually disappoints you, and does not seem apologetic afterwards, it may be best to end the relationship, because you do not deserve to be continually disrespected. If you feel that the best thing to do is to let go of the relationship with this person, try to understand that it’s not your fault, it’s not the other person’s fault. Practice acceptance and believe that all the negative feelings will pass. Learn that everything in our journey has a purpose, and it may not be very clear now, but once the fog clears, you will be able to see the big picture. Learn to set clear, timely expectations for people in your life, and remember that practicing self-awareness and acceptance, rather than expecting perfection, can lead to a more balanced life.

Always consider if the person that let you down brings more good into your life than bad, and if the disappointment was unintentional. If you’re suffering a lot because a loved one let you down, it’s important to practice some self care. Anger, resentment, and sadness can lead you to depression, so remember to do something nice for yourself. Treat yourself gently. Do things that you enjoy.

Sometimes even when a loved one let you down, you can find a way to move forward together, but if this is not possible, allow yourself some downtime, and then move on, make plans for future adventures, achievements, and activities. Being let down allow us to build the muscles we need to cope with the inevitable disappointments that will come to us throughout your journey.

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