Every one of us has a choice on how we respond to life. Yes, we are not automatic, unthinking machines that just react without thinking, although most of us are automatic human machines sometimes in our life.
Usually these are the times when we create the most difficulty for our relationship, when we respond to criticism, or harsh words or something unkind without thinking.
All of us expect things to go right in our lives. This is definitely the way humans are wired. We play out our expectations almost minute by minute. We select the food we want to eat and expect it to taste the way we remember. If it doesn’t then we might get upset or disappointed.
Well, we play out this system of expecting things in our relationships too. We simply expect to be happy with the person we love. Isn’t that the way the fairy tail ends? Living happily ever after? Only real life is not a fairy tale, and what we expect is not always what we get.
Letting go of resentment in marriage and other relationships is a complicated process. It is not like having a new thought which magically negates the resentment. No, it takes understanding of what is going on, and it takes work to ease out of it.
And all of us have felt or used resentment at some time or another. And that’s because resentment can happen to us so easily. When we get our feelings hurt, especially by the person we love, we get really wounded.
If we are not able to let our pain out and get healed, well then we put a wall around our heart and protect it so we won’t get hurt again. This starts out to be just a slight cover over the pain, but if we continue to get hurt without healing then we build up a thick concrete wall between our heart and the one we love.
As humans it is very common to want something and then pursue it. We do this all the time. We are exceptional at setting goals and moving our lives toward them. This is how many of us are wired.
Even in relationships. But that can bring about its own set of challenges. I have worked with many couples who have been in a situation where one or both will push their mate to get what they want. And unfortunately, it doesn’t work.
A lot of us in relationships have a partner who speaks a lot less than we do. I know this describes mine. I am a talker. I verbalize what I think and like to have conversations with my beloved.
But I also know him very well and for him, his conversations and words are about one third of the conversations and words I speak. Sometimes I take a long time to describe something and he won’t have a response.
When we are criticized by the person we love it feels like we’ve been stung. It is unforgiving and painful. Criticism from our partner can even feel like judgment, like we have done something wrong, and like we are not good enough.
So, feeling judged in a relationship is quite common. We really love our partners, but there are things about them we don’t like and we want those things to change. So, a lot of us just tell our partners what we don’t like. And when we do this, we are criticizing them.
We are probably just telling them about a behavior or an action or a misstatement or something small, but when hearing it from a mate it can feel as if it is everything. We might even start to believe that our partner doesn’t even like us, and that is the farthest thing from the truth.
Feeling alone in a relationship is quite common. Even though you are sharing your life with another person, sometimes we can be so lost in our own thoughts that we feel all by ourselves.
The funny thing is that your partner is probably right there and yet you still feel alone. This happens to a lot of couples. And when we feel alone in our relationship, more things start to happen. We might even get mad at our mate.
We might say to them, “I just don’t feel connected like I used to,” or “You never talk to me,” and “You’d rather be with your friends than be with me.”
Each one of these phrases tell the partner something. It first signals is that you are mad at them. But the real point I think you are trying to make is that you love them and want to feel more love.
Most of us enter into a relationship trying to do the best job we can for our mate. We are pretty capable individuals and we often apply what we think they might need, enjoy, desire and want and try to anticipate what that might be, and then produce it.
Everyone does this in the beginning. But something happens after we try and try to make things good and right. We might get frustrated that our partner doesn’t understand all of our efforts and we might even get mad and feel unappreciated at them for not seeing what we are doing for them.
Does this sound familiar? I think all of us in a relationship have been here before. So, what do we do about it? This is where we learn to do what we can and not do more than we want to do, and reveal what may seem obvious.
Resentment in relationships is all too familiar to us. It’s when our anger towards someone gets so hard it turns into a wall of everything we don’t like about that person. That’s what we normally refer to as “resentment.”
We treat resentment like it is the most important thing we can feel. We hold on to it so tightly that we hope the one we are using it against can feel it too. Resentment is like a cold brick wall. It’s so strong and solid, the person it’s directed towards would have to be dead not to feel it.
That’s what resentment feels like. We notice it. We feel it. But what underlies it is even more interesting to me. I read this recently: resentment in relationships stems from self-pity.
We humans are funny. We learn as individuals how to take care of ourselves. Most of us learn all the skills needed to become successful in our lives. Society teaches us basic bodily activities: eating, bathing, dressing, etc.. We learn the skills that help us with a career or trade.
We are even good at selecting a mate. But that’s where our skills end.
When it comes to relationships or matters of the heart we act like the other is responsible for taking care of us. “What?” you might ask? Well, think about it. You might blame your partner when you’re upset.
And if you aren’t a blamer, then you might silently expect your mate to do a whole lot more for you than they are doing right now.