When we're dealing with expectations we put on ourselves, for whatever reason, how important are the emotions involved?
The main emotions are important, but the underlying patterns are where the real pay dirt is. When we get here, this planet, we have no preset patterns beyond the autonomic and instinctual needs which our physical bodies create. As we grow, or hang out, or whatever we begin interacting with other people like our parents, siblings, friends, classmates etc. Each contact, each interaction creates a reaction in our energy. We start building a catalog of common experiences and emotions which help us function in our lives and circumstances.
Karma? We don't need no stinkin' karma :) Babies are pretty much a blank slate, however almost from the moment of birth they are looking for ways to communicate effectively. When you talk to newborns their brains show activity in the areas that will later create speech. Our need to communicate is that strong, virtually genetic. The patterns you learn help you survive and that would be great if that's all they ended up doing. Unfortunately, they also end up, depending on how they are created and your own particular nature, causing you to behave in certain ways that can last the rest of your life. If, for instance, you learn rejection at the hands of someone early on, the pattern begins and becomes quite complicated and subtle, but it will govern how you modify and control your behavior for the rest of your life. People add to it, you add to it and by the time you're an adult you have a full blown way of behaving in virtually any situation. Most of the bulk of those patterns were created by other people and most of those people are as screwed up as you think you might be now. So in a very real sense you're living someone else's life. They control you through your patterns. Even when you think you're breaking a pattern, often you are only reacting in ways that would cause the same reactions again if circumstances for the original creation of it were to reoccur. Sounds like fun doesn't it :)