Expectations and the half-billion dollar lotto

By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)

I don’t normally by lotto tickets because the odds of winning are so powerfully against winning. Yes, I know “someone eventually wins,” and “if you don’t buy a ticket you don’t have any chance of winning.”

When the payout on the recent Powerball got so high though—a half-billion dollars—like lots of folks I decided “why not?” I bought a $3 ticket and let the computer pick the numbers for me.

The odds of being attacked by a shark are 1 in 11,000. The odds of being the lotto winner are about 175 million to one.

On the way home, my son and I fantasized about what we would do if we won the half-billion dollar payout. We decided we would take it in one lump sum rather than a yearly payout. Two days later, when we had the drawing on television, we got out our ticket and compared the numbers to the Powerball numbers, and of course, we did not win! We were mildly disappointed, but we were not crushed by losing. We expected to lose. The odds against us were just too high, so that we didn’t expect to win.

Expectations for my son

I think many times in life our expectations are what cause us problems. Expectations, versus reality not measuring up to the expectations, cause us grief many, many times. I can think of several times when my expectations were very high for something to happen, and when it did not happen, I was crushed, because I expected it to happen.

Back when my son Patrick first started his criminal career, I could “see down the road,” even without the benefit of a crystal ball, that if he did not stop the way he was headed, he would wind up with a criminal conviction. That would totally demolish my expectations for him of a college education and a successful professional career. From the time Patrick was a little kid in all the gifted and talented classes at school, I expected that he would be a “big success” in life. His IQ was in the top half of the 99th percentile. My little darling was a genius and could have done anything he wanted to successfully.

As I saw my expectations for his life slipping away, I still held on to what I now call “malignant hope:” The hope that somehow, some way, I could find just the right words to say to him, to get him to “see the light” and to “change” his behavior. I couldn’t let go of my own expectations for his success.

Obviously he did not share my expectations, and in fact, fought tooth and nail against anything I wanted him to do ”¦ study in school, quit stealing, quit running the streets at night.

Job expectations

Other times I have had other expectations that did not come to pass. I had a job that I dearly loved and would never have voluntarily quit. But it was down sized to part time and that forced me to quit in order to obtain health benefits for both myself and my husband with another job. I was devastated because I had expected that I would stay at that job until I retired at 65 or 66.

As it turned out, though, it was a godsend, because shortly after I left the job I loved and took a “weekend option” job that I really didn’t like, but it was only two days a week (Saturday and Sunday) and full benefits, my beloved stepfather was diagnosed with cancer. My part-time job allowed me to be with him throughout his treatments and his subsequent death 18 months later. That was time I was able to spend with him, and ended up being some of the best months that he and I spent together. Quality time. I am grateful.

I also lost my husband about a year after I took the weekend option job, and so I was able to spend more time with him before his death as well. For that I am grateful. At the time I lost the job though, when my expectations of being at that job I loved were quashed, I was devastated. Before long I was actually glad that my expectations were not met.

Expectations and pain

As for my expectations that my son Patrick attend college and become successful at whatever job or career he chose, I finally realized that he had been successful at the career path he had chosen. Not the path I would have chosen for him, but the one he chose for himself.

I don’t consider a criminal who gets caught a high percentage of the time and goes to prison a “successful” career. But for some reason that I am unable to fathom, Patrick considers himself a success. I guess if I could have a bumper sticker it would say, “My son is an honor student in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.”

When we expect someone else to change to meet our desires, when we expect them to quit doing what they are doing that hurts us, themselves or others, our expectations are what cause us pain. We must learn to quit expecting things to happen that are not going to happen. It doesn’t matter if it is winning a lotto drawing against all odds, or if it is that the person we love will “see the light” and quit behaving in a dysfunctional manner. We must accept reality, and expect what is likely to happen.

I used to have a sign in my office; I wish I still had it. It said, “I feel so much better since I gave up hope.” I didn’t know at the time just how right that sign was.

Since I gave up hope that my son would change, I no longer have unmet expectations. I no longer hold on to that malignant, cancerous hope that ate at my every thought during every waking hour. I accept the fact that he is not going to change.

I may buy another lotto ticket some time, but I won’t expect to win. If I lose, I will not be crushed by the losing because I am going to keep my expectations real.

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A very good article. Every once in a while, I buy lotto tickets, just for the fun of it. I think that you should make signs saying, “I feel so much better since I gave up hope,” and sell them, knowing that I could hang such a sign in my house. It’s true, when we give up hope (letting go of an expectation) about something, it really frees us up (which is so helpful).

Spaths know all about dashing our hopes and expectations.

My exspath made it his mission to make sure that none of my expectations would pan out. Anything that I did NOT expect, is what I actually got.

The spaths will dangle a carrot and then snatch it away at the last moment. Con artists will promise results that never pan out.

The element of surprise is about using expectations against the victim. I know 2 spaths who liked to sneak up and scare me. So even when I was not expecting anything at all, they could use my lack of expectation against me. In fact, that’s one of the tricks they use: “Look what I got you. I’ll bet you weren’t expecting this!” Then they take it away.

I don’t think giving up hope is the answer. I think being committed to seeing the truth, will set us free.

Ox Drover

Actually Skylar, the “hope” I gave up was the FALSE “hope” that they would change…so that **is** SEEING THE TRUTH, you and I are saying the same thing, just different words.


I just wanted to write a bit. I have not been back here for maybe 2 years. I forgot how great this site was. I survived a 15 year relationship with a spath. He actually left me for someone else leaving me very curious what he would gain from her.He is totally self centered and a real opportunist.
Lovefraud helped me get on with life “NO CONTACT”. That was key to my recovery.I felt finally like my old self again.I first noticed I was singing,acting silly, and yes even smiling again. This man I married ,divoriced then lived with had such a stronghold on me even thou I knew he was pure evil. In a way since we had 2 kids I felt keeping him close was safer than not knowing where he was or what he was doing. Well it’s been three years and he married the woman he was cheating on me with while he was begging me to remarry him. He was caught cheating on me so he was free to move in with her. I felt blessed he had her to move in with and it kept him from bothering me. Now I found out his new wife is dieing of cancer,mind you I saw her 3 years ago she was a 250 plus pound healthy looking girl (45 yrs old). At the end of our time together I never would eat or drink anything he fixed me I was worried he would poison me. I know she had a great job working for a law firm, so I am sure she will have plenty to leave her now greiving husband. But I am sick thinking he could be getting away with murder.In three years with this girl he will have everyone fooled how great he is . No one would believe me, I looked like the crazy one when he first left. If you live with a spath long enough they will change who you are. But now I am back and I just wanted to put it in writting somewhere what I am thinking. I feel crazy even thinking these things. But in the safety of people who survived living with a spath I feel I can share my feelings. I pray I am wrong and I pray I never have to use this blog as referense to what I really think my ex is capable of. Thank you Lovefraud

Ox Drover

Dear SusanK,

Welcome back….I don’t think you are crazy for thinking he would poison her…there are several people here who firmly believe that their x tried to poison them.

I would suggest that at her death you write a letter to the police immediately, saying that you think this may have been murder by poison (you don’t have to sign it) and maybe they will investigate. Or maybe she just does have cancer, but that way you will give the cops a heads up, and if she per chance was poisoned maybe he will be caught but no one will know you did it.

Keep on reading and learning, SusanK….there is a lot to absorb, first about them and then about ourselves. God bless.


Thank you Ox, I really needed confirmation that I should not stay totally silent

Susan, I would not wait for her death. If you think AT ALL that she may be poisoned, make an anonymous call to the hospital where she is being treated or write an anonymous note. You don’t have to say that she WAS being poisoned, but simply that it would behoove them to consider that as a possible factor and to not overlook that possibility.

I know you want nothing to do with him or his family, so keep it anonymous. Use a “throw away” phone. This is life or death and I think it’s important enough to do something.

I know what you meant, regarding false hope or, as you have called it before, “malignant hope”.

I think this is one of the more important articles on this site. Expectations are exactly what a spath works with when he is conning. Pulling the rug out from under the unsuspecting victim is the only kind of joke they understand.

Ox Drover

Sky, I think your advice to notify her medical care providers NOW is a good idea…and I agree, in no way that it can be traced back to Susan….

Yea, they do like to raise our expectations that all we have to do is to try a little harder and we will get what we want and expect from them…no matter what that “expectation is” they hold it out in front of us like a carrot on a stick in front of a donkey to make us keep on pulling, reaching for that carrot (expectation) well I am done expecting things from others. If others give me things (love, care, whatever) it is fine, but I am not going to COUNT on anything over which I have no control.


Joyce, thank you SO much for the article. Expectations. What a wonderful topic to discuss, and I love the sign that you posted in your office!

Expectations can be “reasonable,” or completely false. Hope can be reasonable, or completely false. I’m trying to find that place in the middle of the curve.

SusanK, welcome back and I’m grateful for your recovery. I’m with Skylar – if you have ANY concern, an anonymous call may have an impact.

Brightest blessings

Ox Drover

Truthy, you are entirely welcome. Glad you enjoyed it. I too am trying to find that “middle ground” and it isn’t an easy place to find, but I will keep working on it. Keep my expectations REAL and ones over which I have a reasonable amount of control.

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