We tend to have expectations that others should meet our needs or treat us in a certain way. Yet we act surprised when they continually disappoint us. The reality is we need to start paying attention to other people’s patterns of behavior. Acknowledge that everyone has limitations.
By understanding how other people behave, either healthy or dysfunctional, we will not expect them to give more than they are willing or capable of giving. This does not mean that you will accept how they act; only that you will no longer be surprised by it. You will still need boundaries around who you will let into the orbit of your life, and some relationships may not be possible. But at the least, you will be saner for it.
To do this, you must re-prioritize how much energy you are investing in unhealthy relationships. Yes, you can request and encourage others to have functional and healthy patterns of behavior. But you must accept that you cannot make them change. When others do things that may be unkind, but are consistent with their dysfunctional patterns of behavior, you need to stop being surprised by the things they do. As James Clear says in Atomic Habits, “Your current behaviors are simply a reflection of your current identity.”
Keep in mind that it is your unrealistic expectations of others, and yourself, that are keeping you upset. You can’t change others, but you can change your expectation of them. Stop being surprised and hurt by things that are predictable. Re-evaluate your expectation and either accept others where they are at or re-evaluate your investment in the relationships at this time. Your expectations are blocking your recovery and may also block a chance for others to change as you keep reacting instead of acting in an entirely different manner.