Depression Relationship Therapy
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by Karen A. Solomon, LCSW, BCD, CGP, CHt

I have been thinking a great deal lately about disappointment, a universal emotion that elicits numerous other emotions as we struggle to deal with the feeling of being let down. Often, disappointment leads to anger as we blame someone, some thing or ourselves for whatever is not happening the way we had hoped it would. In our futile attempt to not feel the discomfort of disappointment we may strike out and target the “cause” as if somehow that will lessen the blow. Unfortunately, as I am sure many have experienced, this usually spirals into an argument, and or causes someone else to feel awful for letting us down. If the “target” is unable to express their feelings of remorse or guilt, they may strike back, defending themselves or their actions leading to further hurt, distance, more blaming and ultimately, you guessed it: more disappointment.

When we take responsibility for the disappointment, we may “beat up on” ourselves for being stupid, irresponsible, forgetful, clumsy, etc. all of which of course just make us feel worse. We may choose to blame some higher power, feeling betrayed, punished and dismayed at the fates for bestowing unfairness upon us.

So how should we deal with disappointment? I think staying with the feeling of “I am so disappointed about this” and it makes me sad to think about how bad I feel is the best method for moving past emotional blows.

When someone else disappoints us, rather than lashing out and punishing them in some meaningless way, it is worthwhile to express our feelings in a sincere and heartfelt manner and let them know exactly what they have done to let us down. We all tend to fear confrontations, but expressing our feelings is crucial to healing.

There are however, benefits to the notion of accountability. Accountability implies being responsible and capable of being called to answer. This may be extremely constructive in the long run, albeit painful in the short run. Being accountable allows for growth as it provides an opportunity to recognize and hopefully deal with some aspect of oneself that may be troublesome.

The concept of forgiveness is relevant when it comes to disappointment. There are times to require “stepping up” and owning our misdeeds or asking others to do so. There are also times to forgive and let go as we accept our humanity with all its flaws. It is also important to understand that our expectations are exactly that. They may not represent what others consider important or needed in certain situations. We can either let them know what we need or accept their priorities and choices.

I know how difficult these “simple” suggestions are, however, they are much better than irrationally lashing out at others or tormenting ourselves with self abuse. If you find yourself unable to get past some disappointment or let go of some anger, it may be helpful to speak with a professional.

Karen A. Solomon
Office : 631 - 543 - 2050

Commack, New York 11725

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