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Expectations and the half-billion dollar lotto

By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)

I don’t normally by lotto tickets because the odds of winning are so powerfully against winning. Yes, I know “someone eventually wins,” and “if you don’t buy a ticket you don’t have any chance of winning.”

When the payout on the recent Powerball got so high though—a half-billion dollars—like lots of folks I decided “why not?” I bought a $3 ticket and let the computer pick the numbers for me.

The odds of being attacked by a shark are 1 in 11,000. The odds of being the lotto winner are about 175 million to one.

On the way home, my son and I fantasized about what we would do if we won the half-billion dollar payout. We decided we would take it in one lump sum rather than a yearly payout. Two days later, when we had the drawing on television, we got out our ticket and compared the numbers to the Powerball numbers, and of course, we did not win! We were mildly disappointed, but we were not crushed by losing. We expected to lose. The odds against us were just too high, so that we didn’t expect to win.

Expectations for my son

I think many times in life our expectations are what cause us problems. Expectations, versus reality not measuring up to the expectations, cause us grief many, many times. I can think of several times when my expectations were very high for something to happen, and when it did not happen, I was crushed, because I expected it to happen.

Back when my son Patrick first started his criminal career, I could “see down the road,” even without the benefit of a crystal ball, that if he did not stop the way he was headed, he would wind up with a criminal conviction. That would totally demolish my expectations for him of a college education and a successful professional career. From the time Patrick was a little kid in all the gifted and talented classes at school, I expected that he would be a “big success” in life. His IQ was in the top half of the 99th percentile. My little darling was a genius and could have done anything he wanted to successfully.

As I saw my expectations for his life slipping away, I still held on to what I now call “malignant hope:” The hope that somehow, some way, I could find just the right words to say to him, to get him to “see the light” and to “change” his behavior. I couldn’t let go of my own expectations for his success.

Obviously he did not share my expectations, and in fact, fought tooth and nail against anything I wanted him to do … study in school, quit stealing, quit running the streets at night.

Job expectations

Other times I have had other expectations that did not come to pass. I had a job that I dearly loved and would never have voluntarily quit. But it was down sized to part time and that forced me to quit in order to obtain health benefits for both myself and my husband with another job. I was devastated because I had expected that I would stay at that job until I retired at 65 or 66.

As it turned out, though, it was a godsend, because shortly after I left the job I loved and took a “weekend option” job that I really didn’t like, but it was only two days a week (Saturday and Sunday) and full benefits, my beloved stepfather was diagnosed with cancer. My part-time job allowed me to be with him throughout his treatments and his subsequent death 18 months later. That was time I was able to spend with him, and ended up being some of the best months that he and I spent together. Quality time. I am grateful.

I also lost my husband about a year after I took the weekend option job, and so I was able to spend more time with him before his death as well. For that I am grateful. At the time I lost the job though, when my expectations of being at that job I loved were quashed, I was devastated. Before long I was actually glad that my expectations were not met.

Expectations and pain

As for my expectations that my son Patrick attend college and become successful at whatever job or career he chose, I finally realized that he had been successful at the career path he had chosen. Not the path I would have chosen for him, but the one he chose for himself.

I don’t consider a criminal who gets caught a high percentage of the time and goes to prison a “successful” career. But for some reason that I am unable to fathom, Patrick considers himself a success. I guess if I could have a bumper sticker it would say, “My son is an honor student in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.”

When we expect someone else to change to meet our desires, when we expect them to quit doing what they are doing that hurts us, themselves or others, our expectations are what cause us pain. We must learn to quit expecting things to happen that are not going to happen. It doesn’t matter if it is winning a lotto drawing against all odds, or if it is that the person we love will “see the light” and quit behaving in a dysfunctional manner. We must accept reality, and expect what is likely to happen.

I used to have a sign in my office; I wish I still had it. It said, “I feel so much better since I gave up hope.” I didn’t know at the time just how right that sign was.

Since I gave up hope that my son would change, I no longer have unmet expectations. I no longer hold on to that malignant, cancerous hope that ate at my every thought during every waking hour. I accept the fact that he is not going to change.

I may buy another lotto ticket some time, but I won’t expect to win. If I lose, I will not be crushed by the losing because I am going to keep my expectations real.



62 Comments on "Expectations and the half-billion dollar lotto"

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  1. spoon says:

    – I still think it makes a person stuff down their feelings (which is not good)

    – I also still think it’s somewhat like being a robot

    Yes – stuffing down your feelings doesn’t work well and is not good. In a crisis we may need to do this but in the long run it leads to more problems. Well really it just compounds the problem and makes it bigger. But that’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is healing the emotional wounds that never seem to heal. The tug of wanting to see the spath. The need – compulsion to look to others to be validated. The feeling like an unsupported little girl. The feeling like one is broken. Feeling like one doesn’t belong. Guilt and shame tied to all this stuff. PTSD and trauma bonding. Feelings of being unloved. Perfection. Feelings of I’m not good enough. What ever wound is there.

    These wounds and feelings are coming not from the world but from us. The world can trigger them, yes. But that is because we have the trigger in us. Think of it like this — We are covered with thorns and around these thorns it is raw. Some nearly healed. Some are sore and festering looking. And we are spending all our time trying to protect these wounds and get what we thing the wound needs to heal. Which is a natural thing to do. One of them is the wound of being unlovable. We are cautious and don’t want others to know we are unlovable. So we hold back. But the wound is crying for love. We hold out. Don’t want to hurt it again. Then the need for love over takes us and we attack the first person that shows interest and devour them. It’s great and wonderful. This one is it. But there is something wrong. The wound of unlovable is growing getting bigger. And we tell ourselves that they love us. But the wound just gets worse. And the pain grows. We point at them – if they would only… We start over reacting. Yelling. Until it blows up. And we feel worse then before we begin. We go back to nursing the wound and telling ourselves all the bad things. The wound of feeling like we don’t belong — with this we try and force others to like us. Then we isolate are selves. Then back to trying to get people to accept and like us. But it never works for long. Like the wound that we need to be validated. We do our little dance. Look at me.. Look at me.. Someone finally notices- it feels good – then there it is that sick feeling we get.

    But we are doing what we know to do. Taking care of these wounds. But they never fully heal. Why? Well if the world would just stop triggering and hurting these wounds they’d heal up. Or I must be a bad person who doesn’t deserve all this good stuff. It’s none of this. It’s the thorn. The unlovable one is pulsing the feelings of being unlovable all the time. Shooting those feelings down deep inside. And nothing can stop it for long. It just keeps on pulsating I’m unlovable. And we relive over and over what created this thorn. That moment we became unlovable. The thorn of the spath is sing it’s song – calling out – mesmerizing… Perfection thorn – we can’t let anyone know we’re not perfect. If we do the thorn will start its song. So we will never admit – it’s always someone else’s fault – we always have an excuse..

    Then only way is the thorns have to be pulled out. Even if it hurts like all get out. Some thorns fade over time. Some loss their effect. But most just keep on singing.

    A robot to me is someone that is being controlled by all these wounds. They make us do things we thought we’d never do. It’s what the spath uses to control.

    With these wounds we are never here.. in the now. We are always reliving those moments when we came to believe they are so.

    As the thorns are pulled out one dosn’t becomes less then who they are. They become more of themselves. These wounds are things that have happen to us, combined with our misunderstandings. The one who is troubled by being unlovable did not understand what was happening. Most kids always take what is happening as about them. But this was and is about the parents not being able to love the kid. Not the kid being unlovable. But the kid came to believe it and now the thorn is stuck deep.

    The thorn is what is causing the problem. Not the world. Not others. The world can be mean and nasty. So too can people. Things don’t always workout right. Then wounds are there because of the thorns. And will not heal completely until they are removed.

    When the thorn is gone and the wound is healed the one’s who believed they were unlovable can now feel and enjoy love. And not have it corrupted and destroyed by the thorn of unlovable. The song of the spath will be heard no more. And when another spath comes and starts his song it won’t mesmerize it will send chills down one’s spine and turn their stomach… I don’t dance to that song. Validation? there is no need to do the dance of look at me.

    And I don’t like the Tapping either. Some use it and it works for them. The technique I use takes around 15 minutes and your done with that emotional trigger. And that is what I used to pull out all those thorns. PTSD, not being good enough, not being lovable, having to be right, illusion of perfection, bad dreams I’d wake up from screaming – not able to catch my breath. Do have some good stories of the people I scared the crap out of coming out of these dreams. The memory of the drug they would give me as a kid to get me to there house. Hadn’t thought of it for a long time until something reminded me of the smell. My legs went weak..the only thing that stopped me from hitting the floor was grabbing hold of the counter in the kitchen. This list is long.

    spoon



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  2. spoon says:

    Truthspeak

    “attitude of truth” Yes if we want to heal the wounds. We unfortunately have to deal with what is there and not what we wish was there.

    “NO true healing is free of pain or simple, no matter what approach we take.” So I take it you have tried every possible approach. That’s amazing. Me I tried many but no way have I tried them all. I started back in the 80’s. Don’t think I would of had enough time to do them all even if I tried. I wanted to try the unicorn method but was never able to catch one. How did you catch yours?

    Of course I never said pain free. But it is a whole lot less painful then all the other ways I’ve tried. The technique is that simple. Getting hold of some of the concepts can be like pulling teeth. Dealing with the memory so one can run the technique can be very painful. Sometime like setting a broken leg.

    Now who said this “site of our injuries will always be sensitive?” Broken bone yes. Got many of them. And they do tell me when the weather is changing. But the emotional one’s. Nope. The one’s I’ve dealt with. Not even an twitch to scratch.

    And “Real healing” can only be done your way? Really? Me I know mine works. Don’t know the ins and outs of EFT or any of the others. But who am I to say they don’t work. Especially since I haven’t really tried them. EFT I did try it on one thing. Stopped after a day and used what I knew. For me quicker and simpler.

    “I need layman’s terms and techniques. LOL!!!” Remember this? If not just look on I believe is up on the first page and you’ll find where you wrote it. Well that is why I wrote what I wrote about how I did it.

    “For those of you suffering from PTSD, I was introduced to EFT before I even met the spath due to the fact that I had suffered from EFT for 18 years. Within two weeks, it was gone! I highly recommend it as a way to quickly and very gently get better without retraumatizing yourselves.”

    http://www.lovefraud.com/blog/2012/08/30/what-did-the-sociopath-give-me-and-why-is-it-so-hard-to-let-it-go/comment-page-1/#comment-168939
    Then she wrote:
    “PS I meant I suffered from PTSD for 18 years not EFT! Oops!”

    Guess this wasn’t Real healing either? Hmmmm

    Truthspeak if you don’t like my method that is your choice. And I’ll back you up on it. If you don’t like EFT or EDMR then don’t use them. My way doesn’t invalidate the way that is working for you. And what your doing doesn’t invalidate how I did it. And I pray that you have a speedy recovery with no sensitive parts leftover.

    If you don’t believe that’s fine too.

    Now this part well said. “Now, the choices are: accept the facts and work with them, or; deny the facts, maintain flawed beliefs, and continue to suffer. That’s it. Those are my choices.” And a good place to be. We can only deal with what is there. No matter how ugly it is.

    Things will get simpler and simpler as you continue down this path. And many things you think now will not be what your thinking then. And am glad your make headway on it.

    spoon



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  3. Ox Drover says:

    Spoon and Truthy, I think actually you are both saying the same thing…and I agree that in order for the “wound” to heal we must remove the thorn…or drain the pus out of the abscess in order for the wound to heal.

    It is sort of like (and I’ve said this before) if a patient came to me with a thorn in their foot and I just gave them antibiotics and/or pain medication the problem would continue, and sometimes it IS VERY PAINFUL to remove a thorn…or as I just found out to repair (replace actually) a ruptured tendon in my leg. Months of no weight bearing, then casts and part weight bearing, and now PT–that stands for PHYSICAL **TORTURE**—but I am faithfully doing my PT because I know if I don’t, I will never get back the strength in my ankle/foot/leg to be completely mobile.

    I did EMDR therapy for my PTSD and it helped, but I also did other therapy including medication and talk therapy and self guided reading and thinking, and working on things from “inside out”—it has taken a COMBINATION of therapies…and as I have healed I have found NEW THORNS I didn’t know were there, found old thorns and abscesses from OLD WOUNDS that were from childhood that had not properly healed…sort of like bones having to be rebroken and reset in order to heal properly because of an injury when I was a kid…and yes, some injuries will always be “tender” or “painful” or “not quite as good as new” but other injuries will actually be STRONGER at the site of the breaks than they were before they were injured.

    My doctor tells me I will have a leg 80% as good as it was before my Achilles tendon was ruptured, so It won’t be “as good as new” (0ld folks don’t heal and repair as well as younger folks on average) but I will work to get it as good as it can be, and yes, it hurts to do the therapy, and it is WORK and not fun, but I must discipline myself, just like I did when I had to start watching what I ate in the way of sodium and calories. It is a life style change, a learning curve using every tool I can find to make myself a more healthy person, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. There isn’t one pathway that will always work for me, and sometimes I have to change pathways, and then go back to a previous pathway, but “whatever works” in helping me to achieve peace within myself. God bless.



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  4. Truthspeak says:

    OxD, PT = physical torture! LOL! It sure does, but you know that it’s a necessary step in your recovery because you’re a trained medical professional. I’m so glad that you’re recovering, even if it’s slow and painful.

    Brightest blessings



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  5. Louise says:

    spoon:

    If it’s not Tapping or EFT, what is it? Curious and confused actually.



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  6. spoon says:

    Truthspeak

    That might be what you meant to convey but it’s not how it reads. What I read where statements, not this is how I see it, how it has worked from me or what I believe, no – spot on, I agree, I disagree etc.

    For what I read I have no problem with my tone. And you didn’t miss it. It was meant to be sarcastic. The defensiveness was suppose to be matter of fact but sometimes what we write doesn’t come across like we think or intend. So that was my fault if I didn’t convey it right.

    “So, Spoon, the site of our injuries will always be sensitive, whether they are physical or emotional.”

    This is a statement of I’m right. And condescending to boot. Not just one of disagreement. And there is more then one of these in what you wrote.

    What I read now? Is that your the victim and have no responsibility for what you wrote. Sort of a What Meeee?

    “So, I beg to differ that emotional injuries don’t remain forever sensitive, because they clearly can be triggered by even unintentional words, phrases, or quotes.”

    On this I’ll disagree with what means a healed emotional wound. If the triggers are still there then yes it will remain sensitive and vulnerable to reactivation. So for me I would say that the emotional injury hasn’t been healed. What I’ve learned is healing of emotional wounds do not happen until the thorn is removed and all the triggers are gone. As long as the triggers, the emotional hooks remain it will effect us.

    spoon



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  7. spoon says:

    Truthspeak

    Condescending to the end…. At least there is some fire.

    Hope the healing goes fast and easy for you.

    spoon



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