Disappointment is a result of having expectations that are not met. Expectations may be too high, irrational or unrealistic. Because it is a common experience, disappointment can be handled effectively. However, continuous exposure to unmet expectations and a lack of coping strategies may threaten the emotional and physical well being of a person, resulting in symptoms and effects such as depression, anger, apathy, denial and fear.
Depression is a feeling of unhappiness and misery and is characterized by continuously having low moods. Some causes of depression include stress from work or relationships, but chronic depression can result from loss and disappointment. The disappointment that comes from the loss of a loved one or the discouragement of a failed business can lead to depression. Depression from disappointment is perpetuated by negativity and the fear of being disappointed again.
Apathy is a condition in which someone becomes indifferent and passive to life. This is because he feels helpless about a disappointing situation and believes he cannot change it. Signs of apathy include lack of energy, continuing in a bad relationship, tolerating monotony, resigning to an illness and frustration with life. People who suffer constant disappointment seem not to care about making changes to improve their situation.
Denial is characterized by outwardly pretending that a disappointing situation does not exist. People who go through multiple disappointments would like to overlook the issue at hand with the hope that it will go away. Denial can also come in the form of giving up on goals, ambitions and passions because the person does not believe any of these are worth pursuing. A person who has been disappointed in a relationship may deny his desire to find his true love, and thus block everyone else out.
Anger is a reaction to a situation or a person who has not met your expectations. It is essentially an emotional or behavioral backlash to disappointment. Anger can be an instant outburst or a latent feeling that is experienced every day. It can range from having feelings of rage and resentment toward a person and could result to outright violence. Anger also leads to feelings of negativity, depression and helplessness toward situations.
Fear is a reaction that a person has toward a real or imagined situation. Fear results from undergoing unpleasant or disappointing experiences. As a result, a person who has bee disappointed is fearful of engaging in similar experiences as a way to protect himself from re-living the past experience. Although fear is a natural reaction, prolonged fear can be numbing and can threaten a person’s psychological and emotional well being.
- Psych Central: Dealing with Disappointment; Michael Ashworth;
- The Personal Excellence Blog: Are You Letting Your Disappointments Destroy You?
- Colorado State University: Dealing with Our Anger; R.J Fetsch and B. Jacobson;
- Nelsons Natural World: Apathy and Negativity
- Pub Med Health: Major Depression
- Psychology Today: Fear