The whys and wherefores

Yesterday I asked Social Media to help me understand the feelings that I have when others break promises.  Is it disappointment?  Did I have expectations? Were my reactions justifiable?

By “ask Social Media”, I mean “put it on my FB page”.  A handful of my friends answered, Maybe the person is embarrassed.  Maybe you can work it out with them.  Maybe they meant to do what they promised.

Nobody addressed my issue:  The whys and wherefores of my reaction to broken promises, except to comment on each other’s understanding attitudes, a sideways suggestion that the desired response to a broken commitment is empathy.

I want to understand my reaction so I can change it.  I’ve broken promises in my time.  I know that others suffered.  Looking back, I feel gratitude for everyone who forgave me, especially one person to whom I made a really important promise which I did not honor. I know that I meant to keep my promises.  The disappointment felt by others when I failed weighs on my heart like a handful of broken glass, sharp and unrelenting.

This quest to live a life which I can defend has helped me learn to limit the promises which I make and honor all of my commitments unless I’m  bloody and broken somewhere, unable to move.  But I still have not learned to successfully control my own reactions to the remissions of others.

Until I do, I will not be able to attain my goal of living complaint-free.  I still experience those gut-wrenching twinges of bitterness and resentment when someone says, “I will,” and then they don’t.  It’s the one human experience that trips my trigger every time.  Every time.  Every time.

It’s the twenty-ninth day of the thirty-third month of My [Prolonged] Year [Still Trying to Get Through One Blessed Day] Without Complaining.  Life continues.



10 thoughts on “The whys and wherefores

  1. Ruth Roberts

    The solution lies in your own perception. I think it’s distressing too,when someone breaks a promise. Especially when they don’t apologize before hand that a promise WILL likely be broken. Just like a no call/no show leaves you feeling abandoned, perturbed at the lack of concern for your time and energy, etc. But, Corinne there are people with much lower consciousness. Who are unaware. They live from their ego with no story but their own crowding their brain. You have a much more finely tuned sense of right and wrong. My suggestion is to not tell yourself stories about this insult to your time and commitment. What fired together, wires together. So what you tell yourself about it in your mind becomes like a groove in a record. Instead practice immediately letting it go. As thoughts about the broken promise recur. Think of it like a thought bubble and gently pop that bubble with a little pin and go back to a peaceful state of mind. Does this help?

    1. ccorleyjd365 Post author

      Actually, Ruth, no. I am the type of person that must understand something. Just “letting it go” does not promote understanding for me. When I understand something, I can control my reaction to it. Understanding and directing myself leads to true change for me. Thank you.

  2. Pat

    I didn’t see that on FB or I would have replied that you take the broken promise as a rejection of you personally rather than what it likely is: just thoughtlessness, forgetfulness, or plain boorish behavior. Not everyone is as considerate as you are and as attuned to how others are effected by one’s actions.

  3. Joyce

    CC, You cannot consider this issue in the vaccuum of only your reaction or you will get your standard “groove” reaction stated above. How to break into it? I would suggest you start by finding out whether the promise breaking was intentional or unintentional/unavoidable. You can still have your groove reaction if intentional, but this gives you the opportunity to break the automatic groove reaction and consider another reaction if unintentional/unavoidable. From there, you can consider breaking it down further (e.g., small or large issue, repeat or history, etc.).

    I guarantee this will work. If not, then I’m breaking my word to you, so make it so.

    1. ccorleyjd365 Post author

      JK, thanks. I have a different perspective than you do, and different views, but I appreciate your thoughtful response.

  4. Sharon Berg

    CC (like this, helps with my responding) surely you’ve had clients ask you why their spouse/child/parent did or said something which hurt them. I always think (and frequently say) “how would I know. You’ve lived with them for ____ years and you don’t know.” But the need to understand is so strong that the opinion of even a stranger is sought out. So ask the obvious question to the one who broke their promise (especially if it is you). WHY? They may not know, or may chose not to share the answer, but why guess if the answer may only be a question away?

    1. ccorleyjd365 Post author

      Sharon, thanks. Actually, I’m the type of person that focuses more on understanding my reaction. Once I understand my reaction, I can usually change my reaction. The other person’s motivation is about them, not me. What I am examining is my reaction.

  5. Theresa

    Do you think you experienced too many broken promises from the most significant person(s) in your life and at key points in your life? Maybe you became saturated and intolerant of broken promises regardless of why the promise was not kept.

    Or perhaps you experienced too FEW broken promises from the most significant person(s) in your life at those key points and never really learned how to handle disappointment when that happens.

    OR (last possibility) the thing you can’t tolerate/forgive in yourself is the thing that you aren’t able to tolerate/forgive in others. If you perceive yourself as a promise-breaker you might need to work on forgiving yourself first.

    (Session over. Put your nickel in the box. 🙂 )


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