Bound in Bitterness: The Frustration of Unmet Expectations

Lori Jackson
5 min readJan 20, 2018


Have you ever felt the frustration of unmet expectations quickly turn into intense negative emotions? Bound in bitterness, it is sometimes hard to see a way out. I recently had frustrations quickly escalate into negative emotions that sent me spiraling.

I’ve always looked forward to the “empty nesting” phase of our life. The time to pursue new hobbies, interests, and travel have always held a special appeal.

Unmet Expectations

My expectations took the sting out of each of our kids leaving home. I felt reassured they would be back; we would be together again as a family and the separation would be temporary. I’m sure it was my minds way of coping with the loss and handling the stress a mamma feels when her kids leave her for a life of their own. These unrealistic expectations are where it began.

In a couple of months, we have a small window of opportunity where we will all be together for the first time in a year and a half. It likely will be another two years before we are all together again. Naturally, I wanted to make this into a big production, travel together, have fun, make memories. But because of circumstances, jobs, and health concerns, it appears a big shebang isn’t likely.

I had my little pity party, realizing life is not and will not be the same again. My disappointment sent me searching for comfort from my husband, sister and close friend. I was searching for justification to feel the way I was feeling — instead I got some help in realizing my expectations about the future were not realistic. They encouraged to look for the positives of the situation.

It is not so much what we do or where we do it as long as we’re together.

Our Thoughts

Once my mind gets going in a particular direction, it’s hard to reign them in and keep my emotions from spiraling out of control. In the book The Science of Positivity, author Dr. Loretta Graziano Breuning says setting realistic expectations is a matter of understanding we are in control of meeting our needs rather than the world meeting them for us. [1]

Think about that. The frustration of my recent meltdown was because everyone wasn’t changing their plans to…



Lori Jackson

Tandem biker, lemon lover, and wisdom searcher. You can follow Lori’s writing by subscribing below.