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What You Need To Do When Disappointment Haunts Your Relationship Dreams

Disappointment shows in her face


What You Need To Do When Disappointment Haunts Your Relationship Dreams

Admitting disappointment makes most people feel too vulnerable to do it

Relationships end not because you stop loving each other, but because you are unable to feel and then express how disappointed you are in each other and have it spontaneously dissipate and go away

I think a partial explanation why more and more couples are losing intimacy in relationships that they are still remaining in is that they have a great deal of trouble feeling disappointment towards their partner and an excruciating level of difficulty expressing that disappointment. And it’s disappointment about anything.

  • They feel that if they let themselves feel the depth of their disappointment in someone else, they’ll have to get divorced… but they don’t want to.
  • If they let themselves feel the depth of their disappointment about a job or in a boss, they have to quit… but they don’t want to.
  • If they let themselves feel the depth of their disappointment in a child, they’ll stop loving or liking that child and that would be unbearable.
  • If they let themselves feel the depth of their disappointment in themselves, they’ll have to kill themselves, but they don’t want to (although more than a few contemplate it not being so bad if they didn’t wake up in the morning).

So what people do to avoid admitting and feeling that level of disappointment is either become angry or shut down, both of which eviscerate intimacy in a relationship, cause burnout in a job, or cause depression in themselves.

It really is paradoxical but becoming angry or shut down is not an expression of disappointment, but an avoidance of feeling it.

What’s the solution? To first admit the disappointment to yourself, then feel the full extent of it and next, tell the other person. Ironically it doesn’t lead to telling them you don’t want anything to do with them and it’s over as you were afraid it might. The expression of it actually frees you from the pain of holding it in after which it dissipates, goes away and actually enables you to feel warm and good feelings that have been laying sadly unreachable, unfeelable and underneath the disappointment all the time.

Unfortunately the other person might be so agitated as you start to talk that they might cut you off in your expression of your disappointment and say, “Well then let’s just get a divorce” before the flood of pus laden hurt underneath drains and you to feel that you don’t want to end the relationship and never did, you just wanted to end the pain.

Even more unfortunately, it’s expecting them to throw it back in your face before you get it out  — which might trigger rage — that causes you to feel such intense and unbearable vulnerability that it short circuits you and blocks you from expressing the disappointment. And when that happens not expressing it continues to block intimacy.

And what a tragedy that is!

[Mark Goulston]

Mark Goulston, M.D. is a business advisor, consultant, speaker, trainer and coach trained as a clinical psychiatrist who honed his skills as an FBI/police hostage negotiation trainer who increases people’s ability to get through to anyone. He is Co- Founder of Heartfelt Leadership whose Mission is: Daring to Care and Go Positive Now and is the Resident Big Brother at Business Women Rising and serves on the Board of Advisers of American Women Veterans and Dr. Oz’ foundation, Health Corps. He is the author of international best selling book, “Just Listen” Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone (AMACOM, $24.95) which has reached #1 at amazon kindle in six business categories, #1 in China and Germany , #1 in audible audiobooks and has been translated into fourteen languages. Dr. Goulston and his book was also a PBS special entitled “Just Listen with Dr. Mark Goulston.” His next book, REAL INFLUENCE: Persuade Without Pushing and Gain Without Giving In, co-authored with Dr. John Ullment will be the lead book for the American Management Association in January, 2013 and will focus on influencing people in a post-selling world. Dr. Goulston’s development of those skills started with his education: a B.A. from UC Berkeley, an M.D. from Boston University, post graduate residency in psychiatry at UCLA. He went on to be a professor at UCLA’s internationally renowned Neuropsychiatric Institute for more than twenty years, become a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and was named one of America’s Top Psychiatrists for 2004-2005 and again in 2009 and 2011 by Washington, D.C. based Consumers’ Research Council of America. A partial list of companies, organizations and universities he has trained, spoken to, provided executive coaching to or consulted with include: GE, IBM, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Xerox, Deutsche Bank, Hyatt, Accenture, Astra Zenica, British Airways, Sodexo, ESPN, Kodak, Federal Express, YPO, YPOWPO India, Association for Corporate Growth, FBI, Los Angeles District Attorney, White & Case, Seyfarth Shaw, UCLA Anderson School of Management, USC, Pepperdine University. He is or has been a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors and the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches and is the best selling author of four prior books including the international best seller, Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior (Perigee, $13.95) Get Out of Your Own Way at Work…and Help Others Do the Same (Perigee, $14.95), is a contributor to Harvard Business, blogs for the Huffington Post, Business Insider writes the Tribune media syndicated column, Solve Anything with Dr. Mark, column on leadership for FAST COMPANY, Directors Monthly. He is frequently called upon to share his expertise with regard to contemporary business, national and world news by television, radio and print media including: Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Newsweek, Time, Los Angeles Times, ABC/NBC/CBS/Fox/CNN/BBC News, Oprah, Today. Dr. Goulston lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children.

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