Expectations Part 2
Like most veterans I was trained to be a problem solver, if it’s unsafe – make it safe, if it needs to be built – build it, if it needs fixing – fix it. I was trained to be a fast problem solver in almost every aspect of the jobs they were given except for emotional problems. It was also at this time my mentor explained and pointed out that the issues I was encountering with my problem were because of the expectations I placed on my family and friends without an explanation, or a plan was the real problem. When I came home from a tour or got discharged, I had expectations of the way it would be, and that my friends and/or family will go along. As I explained in part 1 when my wife informed me that it didn’t matter what I wanted to do if it did not fit in with what she and the children were doing it didn’t matter. The emotional stress this created very shortly became a problem. goes on and on that, I start to get caught up in it and feel it may not be solvable, what do I do? I knew whatever decision I was going to make was going to affect my family and friends and, on the surface, we were a good family, but I was lost. In my seeking help trying to deal with my depression I sought the help of a counselor before I did some of the stuff I was thinking about. The counselor only asks me two questions.
1. What is the problem – explain it to me. The next question confused me some.
2. Why is it a problem – explain it to me. At this point, we started breaking the problem down until he pointed out that according to what I just said, my expectations were not being met.
At this point, the counselor gave me a form with several questions that asked what I expected in various situations in my marriage and my home. I was asked to take my time filling out and to think about each answer before writing down my thoughts and maybe write several answers to each question.
Reviewing the question later and breaking the answers down started to show me a pattern. I rarely asked my wife and children if they wanted to do what I had planned for us. He showed me that I expected that they would like to or agree to do what I wanted.
It was also shown to me that I placed the same kind of expectations on my friends and people at large, he explained I was trying to give my life some meaning but it was all on my terms.
The counseling did not change anything my wife still divorced me and took most of what I had. It hurt a lot and I struggled, sometimes still feeling sorry for myself I would do a few dump things and embarrass myself but the self-injury thoughts were gone. After coming to understand that a large part of my anger and depression was something I had control over and to stop blaming others for my issues, I went to college and became a counselor to help others in my situation in the future.