Failing expectations

My father had certain expectations of his children. I didn’t live up to what my father’s expectations of me were, but since I was dealing with a disability I didn’t know I had, with all of its implications it didn’t matter and I didn’t care.

But it didn’t stop me thinking about his expectations of me. That thought was never far away. I will never know now what he really thought about my abilities. He wasn’t an easy man to read, his expectations were high. He expected big things.

I didn’t need my disability to make me feel incompetent. The worst part was having to go through exams, come out with the bad grades and have to tell my father my grades. While some children may think they have to live up to their father’s expectations more than their mums, I was aware and embarrassed by what my father thought.

But the pressure for children to do well is always there. I didn’t put the pressure on myself, because it was obvious I couldn’t do any better, particularly in school. In the early years that didn’t stop me wanting to try, and as much as I tried I failed.

I’m not sure what my father thought of my grades or my abilities, but in comparison to my siblings, it’s clear I failed on both.


17 Jun, 2019

4 thoughts on “Failing expectations

  1. My father never had any expectations that I can remember. The one thing I do remember clearly, is that he didn’t really give a damn.

    They made it feel like nothing we did would ever matter, which becomes a self-defeating prophecy over time. My brother was ‘the star’ and one of my sister’s was ‘the angel’ so my oldest sister was labeled as ‘the bad seed’ and I ended up as ‘the scapegoat’ among other things.

    It was a sad world to grow up in, since it seemed nothing we ever did would make them happy, which all of us tried to do, in our own ways.

    1. Thanks Randy. Yes, I’m hearing you. I share your sentiments, difficult to navigate when there is no support and you’re being labelled.

      But you know the truth and your truth is what matters. You can never convince someone who doesn’t want to be convinced.

      Use your truth to move forward with your life and make the changes you want to make. Even if your father were alive today, you’re doing this for you. You can still correct this for yourself.

      As the adult you get to make new choices. As they say out with the old and in with the new.

  2. Unrealistic parental expectations can cause real emotional harm, so it is important that parents develop a realistic set of expectations for themselves and their children.

    I don’t recall any overriding expectations of me, from my parents growing up. I think they knew I was capable so left me to my own devices.

    Thankfully, I didn’t get into too much trouble and took my education in my stride, without really trying. The downside of that is that they never told me they were proud of my achievements, but I get that from my family now.

    1. Thanks. Yes, I think parents know their children well enough to know what they’re capable of. I think you’re right, even though your parents didn’t say, they could see your capabilities.

      It’s a shame when parents miss out on giving their children praise. You should have had that. Children thrive on praise. It sets them up for life.

      Not to praise or say you love a child can and does have dire consequences. No matter how parents are parented, they must go the extra mile and change things for their children.

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