Expectations vs. Reality – Breaking A Shame Spiral
Life is rarely a straight path from point A to point B and that’s ok.
Expectations can lead to what’s called a shame spiral. Shame is a powerful emotion that builds upon itself. Expectations unmet can lead to feelings of shame. These feeling can overpower us and the cycle is difficult for us to break on our own. The shame feeds upon itself causing even more shame. It can feel like you’re falling down a rabbit hole and can’t stop. Unrealistic expectations of what your life “should” look like and what you “should” be capable of doing on your own further complicates things.
DO YOU HAVE AN EXPECTATION RIGHT NOW ABOUT WHAT YOUR LIFE NEEDS TO LOOK LIKE IN ORDER TO BE HAPPY?
Ever had any of these thoughts?
- I should have known better
- I should have done more
- I should be more
- It’s all my fault
- I should be able to control this
First of all, there’s nothing wrong with you. You may be caught in a repeating loop that requires an intervention medically or otherwise. The first step to breaking the cycle is to recognize some of the expectations that are weighing on you. Are they realistic? Do you need support?
Vulnerability is the next step to breaking a shame spiral. And it can feel the most riskiest. Revealing negative feelings you have about yourself and risking another person agreeing with you could be too much to bear. But still asking for help is your best option. Look for people who are safe and supportive of you.
- Call a friend, family member, or partner and let them know what’s going on
- Check into a facility that can arrest the cycle and treat the addiction
- Reach out to anonymous forums online
- Search for treatment facilities in your area
- Stuck emotionally? Seek out individual or experiential therapies
We don’t have control over circumstances but we can start to take action towards a more positive outcome. Tell yourself today and every day: “I am enough, I do enough, I have enough.”