Last night I almost got up out of bed two or three times so I could write down phrases and words to describe a concept that's been floating around in my head.
It's still not neat or concise or complete in my head, but here it is. It's something I've realized about me.
The more tightly I grasp at and cling to my expectations of another person, the greater chance I will miss reality and the unique gift of who they really ARE (imperfections and all), instead of who or how I wish them to be. It's easy for me to get tunnel vision and no longer see all the wonderful things about them (or even the un-wonderful, but realistic things); I no longer am present and available to listen and care and offer love and support for where they are. I only see each time they once again fail to be... something that wasn't them, at least not in that particular moment. I'm only looking for who I want them to be, who I expect them to be, who they should be (according to me)... instead of who they are.
I've spent so much time and energy informing Superman of how he should be or think or act or feel. I've thrown so many internal (and external) tantrums when he did NOT behave how I thought he should. I've lined up expectation after unrealistic expectation along with lists of reasons as to why they should be reasonable... and in so doing have become quite miserable - so long as my happiness rests in whether or not he (or anyone) meets my expectations.
I've really been too afraid and insecure to put the focus on me. I'm the only one I really have any control over. It's so humbling, but I've got to start (and stay) with me. A fellow twelve-stepper described recovery work as being "painfully exhilarating."
Yes, it certainly is. And I've become so much happier as a result!
A man of lesser quality would not have put up with me for as long as Superman has. I'm supremely grateful for him. Just the way he is.