I"ve been reading your book All our Geese are Swans, and have read the chapter, And this is your Brain on Blame many times.
On page 142 you write, "It is hard for us to think of our relationship with someone else as our relationship with present reality."
"But," you go on, "it is helpful to, because then we will not put intentions on it."
I see the wisdom in that, and I see how that flies in the face of what so many "experts" out there tell us about relationships. I constantly hear messages to the effect that we should expect a laundry list of certain behaviors and attitudes from various people in our lives.
A family member has surprised me lately on a number of occasions by being arrogant and competitive in her tone and comments. All my life I thought that this person was protective and sensitive and would be kind and humble before she would say something to aggrandize herself at my "expense."
Issues of trust and intimacy have been raised for me. While I don't "blame" her, I question this dynamic underlying relationships. Are we all "looking out for #1," no matter the relationship? Should we be?
I want to be kind and good to others, regardless of how they choose to behave. I know I can only be responsible and accountable for my own actions and thoughts. I also recognize that no one is a saint or perfect.
Could you say more about expectations regarding relationships?
by Max Ehrmann, 1927
Strive to be happy.