Not All Expectations Are Positive. (Trigger Warning)

Nymph taught me something. I didn’t really know the words for the lesson but she taught me something special. I have always tried to fulfill expectations, and not everything expected of me is positive. The expectations started out as parental, then became my own. I spent years expecting myself to fail because I was unworthy of success.

The expectation for a kitten in a new house are as follows.

1. Existing cats will fight with the new one, no matter the age. The cats will fight for dominance. Kittens cause less of this but there will be yowling and fighting.

2. The kitten, like a new puppy, will spend the next two months crying for it’s mommy.

3. Kittens make messes, your new cat will probably poop on your bed, the floor, and miss the box a few times.

4. Kittens need constant attention.

5. Kittens will bite, tear, and claw.

Nymph has not met most of these expectations and the one she does, is not in the expected manner.

Truths about Nymph.

1. From her first moment in the door, she has been loving and gentle. She has not fought with Sprite except in the manner of play fighting. She has only cried out in pain when she is hurt because she ran into a wall or fell off of the couch and is hanging upside down and needs heroic rescuing. This has occured twice now, but she has mastered getting into the window.

2. Nymph does meow a lot, but her meow is musical and very sweet. She sounds a bit Siamese but without the added tones that I find unpleasant. She has the prettiest meow I have ever heard! Not once has she cried out of loneliness while I have been around. She has a few times called for me or Sprite, when disoriented or lost behind … the couch! She usually calls for us first thing when she wakes from sleep. If I speak she is quiet coming to sit on the floor by my chair. Sometimes she tries to get up here. She is quiet all night long.

3. The first day I had her I was holding her and she had to pee. I could feel her poor bladder stretched out. So i carried her to the litterbox, set her in and waited. She went, and hopped out. I did have Sprite teach her to cover her crap, because it hides the smell. She now over does that and will put it as low as she can. She has not once made a mess. She did vomit from eating too quickly a few days ago, but, that is different than the expected mess, and she has learned her limitations now. (She also REALLY likes Salmon).

4. I need more attention than Nymph it seems! Sprite has helped Nymph to get enough play, and I do play with this darling girl but she is okay if I ignore her. She does check in with me, and did about five minutes ago. She makes sure I am still around when she thinks I am too quiet, and I see more of her when I lay down. The chair is imposing and contributes, but each day she shows she is independent. She will play with the toys by herself, or she will play catch with Sprite. Catch is literal. Sprite flings a toy with her mouth, and Nymph returns it after pouncing it.

5. Nymph likes to claw things, but she prefers her scratching post and toys. She has scratched me once, though it was purely accidental. She is also teething so she wants to chew things to make her mouth feel better. She’s apparently swallowing the baby teeth that are falling out and has at times skipped the dry food even if this makes her hungrier for a day (I feed her extra wet food, because I am such a darned softy for this kitten) and every so often will go after my hands. She wants to nurse my pinkies. Still, all I have to do is say No, ouch. She has learned this means to stop and always feels bad. I get extra cuddling from her after.

This shows me two things. One thing I knew already, Sprite isn’t the only super amazing genuis cat ever born, and the other something I should have known and have at least figured out. Expectations are set before us, but not all of them are worthy of us.

People expect me to disappear when in public because of my disability. Today I punched someone, the third since my chair became a part of my life. Every time I go out people act like idiots and their expectation is that I enjoy inane questions, sometimes verbal and physical abuse, and I will just take it. Each time I have punched someone, I have found myself confused at the glee that others show. I do not expect glee at an act of physical violence. I often come to the conclusion that this reaction is because I did the unexpected and also I did something that these people desired for themselves.

Today a woman decided to poke me. I was waiting in line at Costco, my carer was in the restroom. She had been doing the potty dance, so I told her she should go because I could manage the transaction, my things were already unloaded. I asked her to stop nicely, I always try to be nice first. I am working on skipping the nice but I don’t think I can. She didn’t. I asked nicely twice, and snarled it. Upon being snarled at she put her face in mine. I held my breath incase she had eaten a cucumber and I punched her as hard as I could. I can punch hard but it hurts me too. My shoulder is aching and for two days my right arm will be of less use.

I never really know what to expect once I hit someone on one level, on another I expect for them to hit me back. No one has. The first person I knocked out, the second I don’t really remember today I just remember sore fingers, and the third ran off in tears. I think she called me names but I couldn’t understand her through the wailing.

The expectations of witnesses are to panic. No one has yet. Instead, people find my striking a bigot amusing. I get told variations of good job, I wish I could, and today a money saving coupon for money off of my purchase (I saved ten dollars!). I expect security. I expect reprimands. That has yet to happen. The cashier had been about to interviene, I realized this after I had hit her. She hadbeen speaking to the woman. I had already committed myself to feeling flesh on flesh and the spark of violence. I wasn’t angry. I was panicked.

I don’t hit out of anger. I expect it, when I am angry but the more I want to hit the less I let myself. I have yet to commit an act of violence with anger as an adult. As a child I did so mostly because I thought this was what was expected of someone when angry. I literally did not know better. I do now.

I know I could have taken care of the situation without hitting this woman yet, I feel GOOD about striking her. I knew immediately I was about to melt down if I didn’t contain the situation and put my headphones on, but I could keep one ear open. My carer missed the entire situation. I think the woman that I hit waited until she was gone before seeking to touch me. This means she was a predator. This means she was a threat. This is the time of year when I struggle most with violence, the fear of being hurt grows. This used to be the start of a half a year of self destruction followed by a half a year of recovery before I would be destroyed again. This cycle is ending.

I am fighting it. I was told I never could. I was told the expectations for me as an adult were not good.

Adult Expectations for Kat

1. You will never live on your own.
2. You will never work.
3. You will be in and out of institutions because you aren’t good enough for society (a therapist phrased it this way).
4. You will end up in jail.
5. You will commit suicide before you are 25. (This was before I was aware that I am supposed to die every year from my disabilities and illnesses.)
6. You will never get married.
7. You will be an abuser if you date.
8. No one can love you.
9. You are not strong, you can’t be independant.
10. You cannot take care of yourself.
11. You will always be lazy.
12. You are a hypochondriac, every time someone has a sickness you think you do too. This will lead you to self mutilation, and may be the cause of death that gets you before suicide. Not that it matters, because you aren’t a productive member of society.
13. You aren’t creative. No one will want you to be a writer, an artist, and you don’t sing as well as you think you do or you would be on the radio.

I list them this way, though I feel a few are redundant, because this was the list I was given when I turned 17. The therapist at the mental hospital I was in told me I was hopeless, that I would never make it to adulthood, muchless the twenty five mark. He made it clear that I was so valueless that there were no positive expectations for me. He said something that has haunted me more than his lack of respect. “If you were more like your older sister, then there would be hope.” He had never met H. He had only heard my mother’s biases. My sister was like the dead in a way, in that once she left she was treated as the saint that could do no wrong. Mind you, she ran off, got married to a close blood relative and had babies that she couldn’t take care of.

Yeah. She’s better than me in his eyes. I was angry. I believed him. I realized then and there that this was how the world saw me. He rehashed everything that my abusers had and would say. He took me down to nothingness, but as I was already as low as I could go he gave me something else. The first sensation of a spark of self respect.

This was not his intent. He was working on having me placed in a group home, because my mother agreed, I could never come home. After all, I was/am an evil horrible monster that will destroy family values and all that she cares about. Right? (Probably still am in her eyes… )

I behaved as he wanted. I learned how. I went to the Ranch, and I learned how to fake it in society. I learned the right facial expressions for the moods I have, according to other people. I don’t bother trying all that now, though a lot of that programming is still there. If I glower when happy, it’s because of pain. If I don’t act like a perky air head, it’s because I don’t feel like one. If I do not meet your expectations it’s because they are wrong.

The Truths About Kateryna Fury (Add Jackass in parenthesis to each statement. That’s what I feel when writing this part. Boy was that therapist an unqualified Jackass):
1. I live on my own. I have lived on my own as often as possible. I stopped living on my own once for financial reasons. I thrive on my own. I will never live with other people, unless it becomes state mandated, and then I will sue for my freedom.
2. Kateryna picks up her resume, skims it over and looks at the myriad of work that she has done. She notes her charity work, and with a smile that shows malice mails this off to the Jackass. (Novel Style Oh snap)
3. I am going to say this once. Needing the assistance of a therapist does not make you weak, it does not make you a person without value, and it does not mean that you are unworthy of society. If I need to go to an institution I will. I do not think I need this. Yes, I have mental health issues including depression and constant suicidal ideation (the words of the Jackass), I deal with PTSD. I learned the right way to handle this stuff… from therapists that are not jackasses. I have not set foot in an institution since becoming an adult, except once when I was hallucinating from pain and mistook this pain for psychosis, as I had yet to learn how to feel the difference. I was NOT admitted but instead had the doctors send me to the ER for medical reasons. I was given care and it wasn’t all in my head. I haven’t even found a therapist yet and have looked for the last year but I am not in the institution, nor will I go there. I’d die first because you work there.
4. Jail? Hmm… I do punch people. The only threat of Jail I have had was an illegal one. I do not break the laws, and the reasoning behind this statement was PTSD related. I hit people when I am afraid, and PTSD means for me constant fear. Finding a way to free myself from my PTSD and the link to my reactions in Autism set me free. I may go to jail someday in the future but I doubt it.
5. I turn 26 in September. So far I have not even tried to kill myself as an adult. I may want to at times but in reality that is internalized garbage from shit factories like you. In actuality a few of your patients have died, I know because we did know each other and it made the news. One was murdered, one was a suicide by cop (The patient you told me to idealize no less, though I mourn her you sure suck at your job, Jackass). Another overdosed on drugs. Me? I get my drugs the legal way. I follow my doctor’s orders. I do deal with my depression but I also know that when I want to die it’s pain. Pain people like you cause. Jackass.
6.I got married. I got unmarried. You were wrong, and your statement implies everyone should be married. So you wanted me to follow socially normative behavior instead of doing what is best for me. You wanted me to find someone who could put their penis in me, regardless of my sexuality. In fact you out and out told me I could not be a bisexual because bisexuality was an illness. I love all genders equally. All. Not two. All. I am Omnisexual, Jackass. Your white heterocisgender racist able bodied male privilege is showing. Jackass.
7. I figured out before you were done trying to make me give up on life, since that was your apparent goal and you had such high expectations for me and hopes for me that you were wrong and blind to much of reality. I knew this then, when I was so drugged up I couldn’t think and can barely remember much besides you and your hateful criminal actions. I understand, you presume that I should be like my sister who IS an abuser. This must be why you said this. You don’t believe in people breaking the cycle do you, Jackass? I will not be abused nor will I abuse. My first thought with each action is about consequence. For me. For them.
8. Jackass. (I believe that says enough). In case that wasn’t clear, I cannot count the people who love me and whom I love, because the number is infinite, as I cannot count that high. Jack. Ass.
9. I am the strongest person I know, and I know many strong people. I do know that sounds prideful yet, I can only assess others by my own knowledge and for me, I am the strongest. I think I have to be as well. My strength is not physical but mental, the very thing you thought I did not have. You drug me into a fog and decide I am stupid. That’s good medical care. Yes you have an MD and the whatever it is for psychology. Oooh. You are a Jackass anyway! Maybe even more so. Instead of paying attention to your patients you let me walk around with gangrene, you let me walk around with severe and deadly allergies, and a giant tumor in my intestine and buttocks. I did not cry or scream. Even the nurses commented on this when changing my bandages, I should’ve cried out more. Does strength mean crying out? Does it mean silence? For me it is both. For you? Obviously you are a jackass so what does YOUR opinion and expectation matter Dr.Jackass?
10. Hmm… I can too. I do all the time. In fact having a caregiver is a proof of this, as I had to advocate in order to get the need met. So my body wore out because I believed you… Jackass, you are again wrong. I can care for myself and I do with each breath.
11. Error, this is invalid. By not working myself to death I am lazy in the world of the Jackass. Therefore, I have never been lazy. Jackass.
12. Funny, everything you said was in my head wasn’t. Everything you said wasn’t real was. Someone is an unqualified Jackass! Or are you overqualified in your credentials for being a jackass? I get it. Therapy is, for you, about ignoring the body completely. I remember how angry you were when I had to have not one but two surgeries under the umbrella of your care, and… yes… I did survive and still have a crappy body. It turns out NOTHING was in my head in the realm of hypochondria and every disease that I thought I may have and wanted to ask my doctor about I do. Each time you coddled the other girl with Reynauds and made me suffer, that was wrong. Then again you told me that though I had signs of being Autistic I couldn’t because I am a girl. Hah. Sexist Jackass.
13. Well, this was added on just because it speaks for itself. I sing, I write music, I write audio plays, I write stories, and I write here. Someday you may read this, wondering if this was one of your patients. The answer is yes. If you are a therapist read this and pay attention. How much of this have you done to someone? Why give up on someone and tell them? This harmed me. No one will love me, everything I am passionate about is worthless, and… the most damaging thing a therapist can do is reiterate the words of an abuser.

This was the best therapist I had had up to that point. Each one tried to stick so many labels on me and not a one, even this jackass, saw me as a person. Each one only saw flaws. Some didn’t care about my not wanting God and others required it. I faked being a Christian until I was on my own as an adult. I did this in order to escape more abuse by THERAPISTS.

I also question a profession that’s name can be split into the rapist. I question a profession that tells the victim they must abuse. I question a profession that though it an be helpful can do so much damage. I question anyone that tells any person that there is no chance something is medical. I question why someone has expectations of me at all. I don’t think people should.

I will always strive to fall short of expectations. I know some are positive but for me expectation is obligation. If I succeed and am not expected to, there is anger. If I do not succeed and am expected to, there is anger. Expectation is also the measure of success. I have no expectations of myself, I merely focus on living and being happy. My happiness is more and more common.

I am still hunting for a therapist. One that can understand that therapy itself should have a trigger warning. One that does not victim blame, one that does not set expectations.

I don’t have a life goal right now, because life IS my goal. I will not work again, for a long time, because working would probably do me in. Why is this an instant assessment of a person’s value? Why must I fit in with your expectations?

I am glad Nymph opened this door. I wish it was free of the PTSD, but nothing I do can be free of that. Maybe someday, but not this one. This is also the reason why I have felt guilt for suggesting that someone finds a therapist. Yet, the good therapists are the ones who help people. It’s a shame they are so rare.

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4 Comments

  1. I think maybe that thing my parents did that was most destructive was set their expectations so unbelievably low. Graduated highschool? Still a virgin? Well, you’ve arrived!

  2. I understand. I think that the idea of humility that parents with in the religion we both eschewed are trying to teach feeds into these low expectations. There is also a point where if you do not conform enough, and for some their children are never good enough in that counterpoint to the “perfect child that can do no wrong” therefore they have almost no expectations.

    I also think there is a connection between the abuse. Maybe these low expectations are a part of it. My parents didn’t even expect me to graduate. My mother did expect me to be a virgin but not out of any virtue but my supposed undesirability. I had offers, some guys would “do anything” and being considered the wild child I was a tempting conquest, imagine the pride one of them would have had for “Taming” me?

    I guess this is why I do not see virginity as a burden, it protected me in some ways to have never consented. This is what I decided virginity is anyway, the first time you consent is then the only applicable loss of virginity. I decided this and it freed me from a lot of burdens.

    I am not sure if having unattainable expectations is any better. I have been mulling this over for a while, and I cannot see any set of expectations being right for someone. I am not sure if there is a difference between expectations and goals, except that with goals you usually have a part in setting them. Every goal I have had was my own creation and was something I felt I could attain. It excited me. Expectation feels like lead on my tongue and soul, and pulls me down.

    Could it be that all this time expectation is actually something created to burden people and prevent them from succeeding? That may not be the intent of some, but clearly others use expectation as a weapon.

    I know that my younger siblings have already started to step away from those parental obligations created by expectations, and they do it in the way that fills me with pride for them, they do this in my name because they want to be like me. I wonder if, each time this happens on another level my mother wonders about where she went wrong? Maybe it was the expectations.

    Hmm sorry to babble, I feel like you handed me another piece of the puzzle.

  3. Glad I helped. For my own daughter, my expectations are that she be honest with herself, and pursue a life that brings her joy. I can’t see how one could go wrong with the combination of those two.

  4. Beautiful post. I really needed this right now. Spot on as always.


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