Blog Archives

Vicarious Disappointment

 

So you decide to have a kid or two, and you have a kid or two, and you raise a kid or two.

And along the way, the normal things happen:  developmental milestones, bumps and bruises, temper tantrums, good grades, friendships found, friendships lost, surprising sneaky behavior, surprising wonderful behavior.  And you realize, over and over, that you are merely along for the ride of parenthood, rather than the operator of the vehicle.

With each new phase, you experience challenges new to you, but tales as old as time for those who went so boldly before you.  You say, “I’m nothing more than a limo driver,” thinking you are the originator of this thought, and you receive instant nodding, knowing looks from your predecessors.  And you are humbled, once again.

But still, when your child experiences disappointment, it is a most unusual feeling, almost an out-of-body experience.  And it appears as though the residual feelings last longer with the parent than with the child.

First,  physical sensations:  prickly tears, churning stomach, jangled nerves, all of which must be controlled so that you can comfort the one who is actually experiencing the disappointment, your child.  Not you, your child.  Buck up, ninny, and do your job.

Then, the mental obsession:  How dare this disappointing thing happen to my child.  Doesn’t everyone know how special my child is/how hard my child tries/how much better my child would be if this disappointment hadn’t happened?  Why doesn’t anyone (everyone) care?

Quickly enough, the pointing finger does a u-turn:  Surely there are things you could have done, should have done, to prevent this disappointment in the first place?  Surely you could have instructed your child better, played a better social game with the people in your child’s world, insisted that your child prepare herself better to prevent the disappointment?

Next, residual issues:  the physical and mental affect you enough to deal inappropriately with the people around you.  You pick fights with your husband, you snap at the other child, you are disappointed with the behavior of your dog.

Still, you reason, disappointment happens, and therefore your next most important task in life is to do and say the next right thing with respect to your disappointed child.  You carefully consider your conversational options, you write uplifting texts for her to read, and you anxiously await the next time you see her to gauge her feelings and give the most correct, most sage, most transformative speech that will be the turning point in your child’s despair.

And she comes home, and she is fine.  In fact, did something disappointing even happen?  No, she has no updates or news, she hadn’t thought much about it, to tell the truth.  And she grabs a snack and breezes up to her room, to find the next drama upon which to focus.

This should be a happy ending, right?  Then why doesn’t it feel like a happy ending?  And how in the hell did this suddenly become about me?

Is there an appropriate filing cabinet for feelings of vicarious disappointment?  Is there a manual written on how to recover from the disappointment you didn’t actually experience?

Today’s Miracle:

After an overdue heart-to-heart discussion with a long-term friend, I am sharing my blog with her for the first time today.

 

losing anonymously

Learning to balance healthy and happy while living a full and busy life!

Oh for the love of...me

Just another 50+ woman trying to get her shit together.

Guitars and Life

Blog about life by a music obsessed middle aged recovering alcoholic from South East England

Off-Dry

I got sober. Life got big.

HealthyJen

From daily wine drinker to alcohol free living...this is my journey.

themessyjessytruth.wordpress.com/

The emotional messy stuff...

Vodka Goggles

No longer seeing the world through vodka colored glasses..

Mindfulbalance

An Irish Mindfulness Meditation Blog: Finding calm, wellness, meaning and a happier life.

viatoday

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Starting today I am on my way.

ainsobriety

Trying to ace sober living

Emotional Sobriety And Food

"... to be able to Twelfth Step ourselves and others into emotional sobriety" -- living, loving & letting go.

girl gone sober.

a blog about living sober. i didn't always drink beer but when i did i drank a lot of it. stay sober my friends.

The Sober Garden

Jettisoning the heavy stuff...

The Six Year Hangover

A BLOG BY A GAY MAN GETTING SOBER IN NEW YORK CITY.

Process Not An Event

Adventures in Addiction Recovery & Cancer Survival

And Everything Afterwards

How I quit alcohol and discovered the beauty of a sober life