My Journey from Discovery to Acceptance to Change
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Hope Through Authenticity

Disappointed [fill in the blank]

I don’t have many triggers* but the word ‘disappointment’ makes my heart pound with anxiety. My father told me several times I was a disappointment. He told me he could never be proud or brag about me because whenever he did, I turned around an embarrassed him. So, being a disappointment is a deep wound for me.

My biggest fear is disappointing someone. And this fear has impacted every aspect of my life. My boundaries are hard to maintain because of this. I hate conflict because of this. My tendency to ‘buy’ friends is based on this. Even my eating disorder is grounded in this fear.

It’s going to sound strange, but only recently did I “feel” the difference between –

Disappointed IN versus

Disappointed WITH

What’s The Difference Between “IN” and “WITH”?

  • I am disappointed IN you.
  • I am disappointed IN life.
  • I am disappointed IN our government [or whatever].

Do you see how “IN” is more focused on the internal or the essence? “IN” hits the heart and soul. “IN” is more a judgment of the whole.

  • I am disappointed WITH that decision.
  • I am disappointed WITH that behavior.
  • I am disappointed WITH the outcome.

Do you see how “WITH” is about the external? It’s an assessment of a specific thing or event.

When we are disappointed “with” something we have a chance to identify something specific and work on a strategy to overcome.

IN and WITH Demonstrated

Someone I’ve very close to recently made a decision that was so painful and so wrong, it took our breath away. My first thought was “I am so disappointed IN him.” But that’s judging the entirety of who he is. What I meant was “I am so disappointed with his decision to do this.”

It’s a subtle difference but it’s also huge. “In” attacks the person. “With” attacks the situation.

Had my father told me he was disappointed WITH how I behaved when I did xyz, I could have processed my mistakes. Instead, he told me I WAS A DISAPPOINTMENT.

Not my behavior. ME.

Disappointed IN  … Disappointed WITH … one word, one syllable, one wounding, one helpful.

Click HERE to download the Journaling Activity that goes with this blog.

* Trigger - to cause an intense and usually negative emotional reaction

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  • Meet June

    June with Purple Hair

    In April 2012 I had a mental breakdown. The real thing. I have about 36 hours that I don’t remember....

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  • All of my novels, at least so far, have an element of mental illness within a character.  Decide to Hope is the most autobiographical in that I struggle in many ways exactly as the female protagonist. 
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