I expect too much...




I've been told in the past that I expect too much, or want to do too much, or take too many things on at once. I've never thought of myself as an extreme person, but these comments do seem to point to an extreme approach to expectations. Could I be wrong after all?

I do have extremes of behaviour, like when I'm in the middle of an obsession and can manage the whole world if I need to, but that's not the same as expecting the whole world, is it? When you are on hyper-drive and anything is possible, you are aware, in some part of you, that this cannot last and will pass away, leaving you in the wake of whatever you did while under the influence of the obsession.

The comments about what I expect are made at different times, when I'm feeling calm as well as when I can do anything, so that makes me worry they are more accurate than I want to admit. I've thought each time, Do I expect too much? You know, how you take a comment made by someone and turn it over in your mind, looking at it, wondering if it's true and, if it is, how it applies to you.

I think one of those times was when I had expected someone to behave in the way they promised and it hadn't happened. I still expected them to do what they said they would and I was accused of high expectations. On this occasion it was probably true as the person had let me down because of their own reasons, but I expected them to do what they said all the same. In my mind, they didn't have a good enough reason to let me down so I still wanted the thing done.

How awful of me! When I think of all the times I have let other people down for the most piffling of reasons. How dare I judge someone for doing the same to me when I am in no position to cast that judgement. I know this, all this is logical, yet I still felt let down and disappointed and wondered why they couldn't do it.

Perhaps it's a simpler reason still than simply being literal and expecting people to behave as they promise? Maybe we don't judge them in the same light as ourselves because we don't expect other people to behave like flaky aspies: we expect they'll behave like sensible types who we can rely on and trust?

It's still unfair, to expect non-aspies to always be perfect and do as they say, but in our minds they are in a position of power compared to us. For them, life is more easily moulded and coped with (on the face of it), so we don't expect them to end up using the same reasons or excuses we use. That's not being a very nice aspie but it is being a typical one.

As for life itself, I've always had high expectation, I fully admit that. I thought it you behaved decently towards it, then it would come up with the goods. Again, logic at work. If you do this then that will happen. It makes sense, for instance, that if you work hard, you'll be rewarded. If you are a nice and good person, other people will be the same to you. If you do your best, good things will happen.

What a horrifying discovery when I first found out this wasn't always the case. Of course, it's not a new discovery. I found out how things could go wrong very early in life, when the carnival man wouldn't give me the bear I won, fair and square. But you still trundle on, expecting fairness to happen, even if it sometimes does not.

It doesn't seem right that people who work hard don't progress or get their rewards. It really doesn't seem fair that being nice to people seems to bring almost as much grief as joy. Yet I still kind of expect fairness, don't you?

I am cynical, don't get me wrong. I don't sit at home, stitching instructive verse and making tea for the double glazing salesman. I am much more Addams Family than Waltons any day (though the Addams family were always very hospitable, it wasn't their fault if people were so excitable).

I do expect people to be devious and naughty and I don't expect life always to run along standard lines of cause and effect. At least, most of me doesn't expect these things. But there is a part of me, a part that never really grew up and is still waiting for things to be okay, that does expect it.

I guess it's a general ideal, based on logic and hope, that sooner or later life will conform to the notion that good things happen when they are supposed to. That combination of logic and hope is a small, shining and super-tough element within me that resists my natural cynicism and also resists evidence to the contrary and carries on shining out, waiting for things to come good.

I think there are a lot of people who hold onto this kind of thinking, even if they don't always admit it, whether or not they are aspies. What does happen with aspies though, is that we admit this hope and give reference to the way we see the world. We may not always be the best at articulating how we think and feel but when asked a direct question we are more likely than most to give a direct answer.

So, if you ask me why I thought this latest thing would turn out just fine, when it seemed obvious to you it would not, then I will explain why it should have worked and why I expected it to. At this point, I may be accused of expecting too much and I will feel deflated again; but I shouldn't.

I know I often expect too much, if only because life experience has taught me this. That doesn't mean I shouldn't continue to expect things or to nurture high expectations. We should all expect more, we shouldn't just give in and assume nothing will change or that we won't be able to do it.

I object, readers, to the assumption that we must all do things the same way and expect the same things, with small variations on situations and approach. There are so many ways to achieve our goals that it would be foolish to sit back and hope the normal way applied to me.

Some things have failed and many things have gone asunder before they had a chance to fail. I still go on and expect the next thing to succeed and can only do them my way, as the way of other people is often closed to me.

It's no good telling me I expect too much because my first reaction, before I examine what you say and try to apply it to myself, is to look at you and think you expect too little. I have done enough under-achieving myself to be able to sniff it out in other people.

If I was a ruder aspie, with less manners or inhibitions, I would tell you how wrong you are and maybe prod you in the chest while I did it. Lucky for you, though, I am a nice aspie who only offends people as a last resort or when I'm not concentrating. I will resist the urge to prod you and give you a piece of my mind, mainly because I know you would discount it as me being me.

I'll carry on with my high expectations and try not to feel too let down when things or people don't work out. What you think about that is your business, I'll just keep an eye on mine, thank you very much.

Amanda

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