a feeling of disenchantment

The lesson of disenchantment begins with the discovery that if you want to change – really to change, and not just to switch positions – you must realize that some significant part of your old reality was in your head, not out there. The flawless parent, the noble leader, the perfect wife, and the utterly trustworthy friend are an inner cast of characters looking for actors to play the parts. One person is on the lookout for someone older and wiser, and another is seeking an admiring follower. And when they find each other they fit like the interlocking pieces of a puzzle.

Or almost. Actually, the misfit is greater than either person knows, or even wants to know. The thing that keep this misperception in place is an “enchantment,” a spell cast by the past on the present. Most of the time, these enchantments work fairly well, but at life’s turning points they break down. Almost inevitably, we feel cheated at such times, as though someone were trying to trick us. But usually the earlier enchanted view was as “real” as we could manage a the time. It corresponded to a self-image and a situation and it could not change without affecting ourselves and others.

William Bridges, Transitions