The #1 one thing I hear in my coaching sessions is that my clients have unmet expectations in their relationships and they feel terrible because of it. Emotions like: frustration, disappointment, anger, sadness and they get stuck feeling those emotions because the other person is not changing, and then feel terrible. It doesn’t have to be this way. You CAN let go of the negative emotions around those expectations AND you can have a better relationship at the same time. Listen to this episode to find out how.
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Episode 39 “Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Kids”
person, relationship, feels, patterns, unmet expectations, victim, parent, detours, choreographed dance, expectations, masterclass, stay, disappointments, responsibility, rescue, negative emotions, life, communicate, finger pointer, adult
You’re listening to Parenting Through the Detour, Episode 45. Three reasons you’re struggling because of unmet expectations in your relationships.
Howard W Hunter said, “Your detours and disappointments are the straight and narrow way back to him.” Well, how are your detours going? Does it feel like everything has gone wrong and you don’t know what to do now. I’m Tina Gosney, a life and relationship coach, and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I’m going to help you find your footing again, through those detours and disappointments. And when you find your strength and your courage, to navigate your own detours, you’re going to begin helping your family through theirs as well.
Welcome back to the podcast. I’m recording this early in April. And where I live, it feels like even though it’s spring, it feels like we’re in second winter right now. I’m really looking forward to summer. But I’m really actually looking forward to spring starting for real, and not just on the calendar, because we’ve had snow almost every day this week, which just feels wrong to me at the beginning of April. After the calendar says it’s spring, I just want it to be spring, I just want some warm weather.
But you know what spring is actually one of my favorite seasons, when it really starts, because to me, it feels like it’s just everything starting all over again, you start to see the buds of the plants coming up in the ground after it’s been really cold and just no green for a long time. And you start to see the blossoms coming out and you start doing spring cleaning, you just get like a fresh clean start. I love fresh clean starts.
And I want to remind you that it’s never too late to begin starting again, getting a fresh clean start in the relationships that you’re struggling with. And I think this episode today is really going to help you because it never fails. Every time every time I coach a client, whether it’s parents struggling with their children or with their spouse, or sometimes I meet with both the husband and the wife together at the same time. Or maybe you’re struggling with a friend or an in law or a parent yourself. We always talk about unmet expectations, because it’s something that we all deal with, right. And it’s something probably one of the main things that causes a lot of problems in our relationships.
So I was talking with a woman who has a 32 year old daughter, who is still living at home. And this daughter who’s 32 By the way, an adult doesn’t pay rent, she doesn’t help out with the household chores, or contribute to the household in any way. When she’s asked to do things, she just leaves the room and says no or doesn’t help. She has a minimum wage job, minimum wage paying job. She didn’t get any training, secondary training after high school. And this parent is an sure that this daughter will ever be able to find a career path that will allow her to support herself and to move out. She isn’t dating. And she does a lot of vaping. And she loves to spend her money getting tattoos. And this parent is really struggling with this.
I talked with a wife who both she and her husband worked full time, have a couple of small children. The wife does all the household chores husband doesn’t help. And her husband also speaks to her in a very disrespectful way. They’re getting in a lot of big fights about what is happening in their home.
I talked with a mom whose children have all left the church, all five of her children have left the church. Dad also left the church and the children love dad and love the way that he lives because it looks more fun. And he’s encouraged his children to leave and now mom is left the sole member in her home, seeing her husband and her children go down a road that feels very dangerous. And she feels very lonely and she feels a lot of resentment.
So, unmet expectations right. Can you see yourself in any of these situations? Or maybe you have your own list of unmet expectations? You will probably list them all right now the things that you wish would be different. The people that you wish would behave differently, the people that you wish would show up in the relationship they have with you differently.
And just like the title of this podcast, you’ve been taken on a detour that you never expected, or you have some disappointments in your life that you don’t know what to deal with. So what happens when we let this stay, and we let that resentment, that anger, that frustration, that disappointment, what happens when we let that stay in our lives, and we start blaming it on other people on what they are or what they aren’t doing? Well, we become a victim of the other person. And being a victim feels terrible. victims don’t have any control in their own lives. And they say none of this is my fault. I didn’t want any of this, I didn’t ask for it, I don’t deserve it. And I don’t want it. And I don’t have the power to change anything. That’s what a victim says.
Maybe you became a finger pointer. At other people, everything is your fault. I didn’t do anything to deserve this. And you are the one that caused all of us, it’s all your fault. Or maybe if you’re in a situation with one of your kids, adult or younger, you feel like it’s your job to rescue them. And you’re constantly bailing them out and trying to help them and they aren’t doing anything to take responsibility for themselves.
So when we talk about family relationships, I’m going to address family relationships today, as adults with other adults, maybe a spouse, spouse, a marriage, maybe a parent and an adult child, even if they’re living with you, you’re still an adult, maybe it’s in laws, maybe it’s friends, maybe it’s word members, maybe it’s someone that you work with, doesn’t matter. But we’re talking about adult to adult relationships today. And here’s the thing is that you don’t have any control over what another person does, or what they don’t do. You have control over what you do in response.
And whether you allow it to continue is up to you. You, you decide to set boundaries, you decide to show up differently, you get to decide how you show up in that relationship. And there are times when we can do a lot of damage in a relationship when we want to force a certain outcome. So let’s say we feel it imperative that we get a certain outcome. And there’s no other choice. And we do anything that we can at the expense of damaging the relationship to get that outcome. Yelling, making threats, manipulating the other person emotionally, or spiritually, in order to get what you want. Well, you might get what you want now, but you’ve actually sacrificed part of the health of that relationship. And the price that you pay to get what you want now is going to cost you a lot more in the long run.
So you better think twice before you sacrifice a relationship to get something that you want right now. Now, why are you feeling anger, resentment, disappointment and frustration. When you feel these things, because of the things that you want other people to do, that they’re not doing, you are giving the other person control in your life, it’s like you’re giving them the keys to your emotional car, and letting them drive you all around and you are sitting in the passenger seat and you have no ability to to control anything in that car, you don’t have the control of the gas, you don’t have control over the break. And you don’t have control over any turns that it might make.
And now if you’re letting someone else drive around your emotional car, you have several problems. And these are the main two, your relationship with them is terrible. And your relationship with yourself is terrible. And the first one to work on is that relationship that you have with yourself. Start by working there, you’re going to find that the relationship that you have with the other person is going to start working itself out. And you’re going to know what to do to work that relationship out. So let’s go over the three reasons that you’re struggling because of these unmet expectations. First, you need to check in with yourself and your own actions. And I want you first to check in and see if maybe you have a communication problem. Ask yourself things like am I expecting them to do something that I’ve never actually committed? indicated to them? Did I just expect them to read my mind and do it? Did I maybe communicate at once? And I thought that was enough?
Did I communicate it in a way that didn’t give them agency. And now they’re feeling resentful of me because they think I’m forcing them to do something. And that’s why they’re not doing it. I want you to think and ask yourself, How can I communicate in a cooperative way that allows for both of us to have our agency here? How can I communicate my expectations, while still allowing the other person to decide whether they want to fulfill those? And how can I do that without yelling, making threats, and manipulating? Because none of those actually acknowledged another person’s agency?
And then I want you to ask yourself, How am I not picking up on the ways that this person is communicating with me, because all behaviors are some form of communication. If you don’t like the behavior that you’re getting, are you just reacting to the behavior, rather than trying to figure out what this person is trying to tell you. Looking at the behind what is going on behind the scenes is way more informative, and will in the long run will get you a lot further than just trying to address the behavior? And then ask yourself, are my expectations unreasonable?
Do I like my reasons for having these expectations? If I let go of them? What would be different in my life? And how would I feel? Is that even possible for me to let go of them, really ask yourself some questions by checking in with you, and see how you are showing up in the relationship, how you are interacting with this person, and how you are communicating what you need, and you want and receiving communication from them. The next way is you’ve set up a pattern of behavior that isn’t okay with you now, but it’s a pattern of behavior. So we all have patterns in our life that we follow. And our relationships follow huge patterns, the way that we do things in life tend to carryover from one thing to another. The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.
Look at your own patterns. Now look at your patterns that you have in a relationship, I want you to think of it like a choreographed dance, okay, so you know what the other person is going to do. And they know what you’re going to do. And you have this back and forth with each other, that you can pretty much predict how the other person is going to react, what they might say with what they might not say, and what’s going to happen when you do something. We are really good at mapping each other and figuring out these choreographed dances that we have going on with each other.
And when you start to show up differently, and you start to change that choreographed dance, when you start to change the things that that person thought you were going to do, it’s going to become very uncomfortable to the other person. We those people do not like change, we like the pain that we know rather than the pain that we don’t know. So we repeat patterns over and over again. Even though we don’t like them, we still repeat them. And when you try to change that dance, it’s very uncomfortable to the other person. And they’re going to try to go overboard, to get you back into the choreographed dance that you’ve been doing together for so long. But if you keep doing the new dance, if you keep doing that, this is the way I want to be now, type of actions and not going back to the way that you did things before. You can start changing the relationship, and the other person will eventually start interacting with you in the new choreographed dance that feels a lot better to do.
I want you to start thinking about patterns of behavior that are unhealthy and don’t feel good to you. And I want you to think about setting boundaries. In those relationships, you might need to be setting some boundaries. Now I’ve done a whole episode on boundaries that you can go check out. It’s episode 39. setting boundaries with your adult kids. It can apply this boundary episode can apply to any relationship. Inside setting boundaries. It doesn’t have to be just with your children. It can be with your spouse with a parent. With a co worker, it can apply anywhere. So don’t let If that holds you back from going and listening to the setting boundaries with your adult children on Episode 39, I want you to look at, maybe you have a pattern of constantly rescuing, like I talked about before, you’re constantly thinking that you need to go rescue someone, you need to help them get to a place where they’re healthy, and where you’re the one that needs to help them do it wants you to think of how you can stop. How can you begin to give this other person responsibility, it might seem like a really scary thing, to let go of rescuing someone, especially someone that you love.
And that you really care about how their life goes. And to let go of that rescue role that you’ve had. Because maybe you think they can’t handle it, or think something’s gonna fall apart if you don’t step in and help them.
But if you if that’s where you are, I want you to think how do you engage in problem solving with the other person so that they can start to learn to take responsibility for themselves, you become a coach in the relationship rather than a rescuer. And you work together to problem solve. Now, what if you are a victim, if you’re saying, none of this is my fault, I have no control here. And I didn’t want any of it. Once you start taking responsibility for what you can control, be aware of how you are creating this pattern, and where your responsibility lies in breaking it.
There’s a difference between being victimized and staying in the victim role. And if you are being abused in any way, I want you to take steps right now, to get yourself to safety. If you are staying in a victim role, and allowing yourself to stay there, start taking your responsibility and own it. Find out where you do have control, find out where you do have power in this relationship. You don’t have to stay a victim. And if you’re blaming the other person, if you’re a finger pointer, and saying this is all your fault, I didn’t want any of it. And you brought this all on me. I want you to work on becoming assertive in your own life. If you take responsibility for nothing, you have no control either. If you start looking at things differently, you’re going to find ways that you can assert yourself. And you’re going to find ways that you take responsibility and stop blaming other people.
Now the third reason that you’re struggling because of unmet expectations are because you’re not accepting that this is the way things are. If a person is showing you who they are, over and over and over again, and you expect them to be different. There’s a problem with your expectations. Why are you expecting them to be different, they have shown you who they are, they have shown you where they are. It’s like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer and complaining that you have a headache, and then wondering why. So if you just expect someone to show up the way that they do, you don’t have the negative emotions, you don’t have the anger, the frustration, the disappointment, you don’t have all of that. And when there’s no negative emotions, guess what happens? You start to see that person more clearly.
You start to see yourself more clearly. You communicate better, you treat yourself better. You put boundaries into place when they need to be in place, you can see the other person better and you start treating them better as well. Now, acceptance doesn’t mean that you’re just rolling over and not doing anything about the things that are not working. It just means that you’re accepting that this is where you are. It’s not a resignation. And you may be you’re saying why do I have to?
Why do I have to accept that this is the way things are? Well, you don’t, but you are the one that’s experiencing the negative emotion. So if you don’t want to accept the way things are and you want to hold so tightly onto those expectations that are not being met, you get to choose also the negative emotions that are going along with it. It’s like picking up a stick you pick up both ends at the same time. So if you don’t want to accept it, that’s the alternative. You get to stay where you are. And like I said, acceptance is not resignation. It’s just acknowledging the reality of the situation. And it allows you To be in a place where you find more solutions to be able to move forward.
Now, maybe you’re gonna think this is all unfair. Why is Tina saying this, this other person is being mean, and lazy and judgmental, and maybe they’re taking advantage of me. And maybe this is all true. But you are the one that is sitting around in your negative emotions spinning in all the terrible thoughts about this person, and in the relationship, and unmet expectations and coming to acceptance, looking at yourself, breaking your own patterns, this is all about you feeling better, and you treating yourself better in the midst of a difficult issue in your relationship.
This is not about changing the other person and never was. Because they are the ones that get to decide when and if they’re going to change. And you are the one that gets to decide when and if you will have this person in your life. And if you decide you will, how does that relationship look? How does it look in the way that I treat myself? How does it look in the way that I treat them and the boundaries that I put into place. Because I surely can treat myself better than I am right now. And that is all up to you. Now if you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, and you are ready to take this work to the next level. Because you know, it’s really easy to listen to these podcasts and go, Yeah, that’s a good idea. And just consume them, and listen to them and then have no idea how to actually use the things that I’m telling you. It’s hard to figure out how to use this information, to take it and to use it in your life.
But the first step is learning the next step is applying. Have you ever noticed that it’s really easy to look at someone else and tell them what they need to do to fix their life, or the things that they should be doing that they’re not doing? It’s so easy, it’s so hard to do that for ourselves. Because we sit inside a jar of our own selves. And the label is on the outside. We can’t see the label, we can’t read that label. That’s how applying this work comes in.
So if this is something that you are ready to do, I’m offering a new masterclass very soon. And it’s called Five Ways to Help Your Family When You Feel Broken. And you’re gonna want to get on my email list so that you know when it’s scheduled. I’ll be offering it very soon, so be sure to go to my email list so that you can attend this special masterclass. So many of our actions and our ways of reacting are damaging our relationships and it never ceases to amaze me how when we do the opposite of what we think we should be doing, it actually makes things better. And it makes our relationships it helps our relationships to improve. And if you’re wondering what I mean by this, I want you to get on my email list. And I want you to come to this masterclass five ways to help your family when you feel broken. This is what I have for you today. I want you to remember that your detours and your disappointments do not define you and they do not define your family. Have a great day and I’ll see you next