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Anger Management Institute

Hidden Expectations and Anger

© copyright 2011 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC

What impact do expectations have on anger and frustration in our lives?
Consider these scenarios…
Your friend stands you up for a luncheon. You immediately feel humiliated, rejected and disrespected. Later on, you discover that she/he had a flat tire and was stuck on the road, unable to call you because she/he couldn’t find your number.

What’s the expectation? That your friend would keep the appointment with you because “friends care and keep their promises“.

Your spouse comes home from golfing or playing tennis. You think: now, we can finally spend some time together. But, your spouse is tired and wants to take a nap.
What’s the expectation? When my spouse takes time out to have some fun – he/she should care enough about me to be together. Thus, spouses have a responsibility to spend equal or more time with their mates than, with others. Can you identify with either of these situations?

What happens when your expectations are disappointed? You will begin to feel angry, frustrated and resentful towards your friend or mate.

How can you work through these frustrations? Check out whether it’s valid to hold the expectations you have, first of all. Then, ask yourself: “what’s a reasonable request I can make to alleviate my anger?”
How can I lower my expectations? Is it realistic to hold the expectations I have? If so, how can my friend/spouse and I work it out?
Use the ASERT approach to communicate your needs.
Ask yourself: How can I demonstrate unconditional love in these situations vs. dwelling on my needs and expectations? Do I have a right to expect this from my partner/friend?

© copyright 2011 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC. Lynette is a Marriage and Family Counselor with CounselCare Connection and National Certified Counselor. She is the co-author of What’s Good About Anger?, a Certfied Anger Management Specialist-IV, Diplomate, Supervisor and Consultant with NAMA and a speaker for community, women’s and church organizations.


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