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.
“Hurt people hurt people.”A friend of mine recently shared this expression with me. It resonated with me as a counselor. I understand pain in people, maybe because I have experienced it myself.
Pain and hurt can come in many ways. And we can feel it throughout our lives, and sometimes we take out our pain on others.
Humans are sensitive beings. We are often impacted by feeling another’s energy. This happens a lot in relationships and it has a big impact on us. So, let’s figure out what we can do about these frequent situations.
I often hear from people who are impacted by the moods of their mates. This is very common. Just think about it for a moment. How often do you walk into a room with people and feel drawn to some and put off by others? It happens to all of us, if we notice it.
I have had the great opportunity to work with many, many different types of couples in my practice as a couple’s counselor. I have also had the opportunity to write about different relationship problems, because I have encountered them or observed them in my friends, family, and clients.
So now I am writing about another issue that has been cropping up lately, and that is: what to do about the “explainer?”
So, first of all, what is an explainer? This is a person who when he or she gets their feelings hurt turns to many, many words to explain what happened to them and how their partner failed them.
It’s funny to think of not being good at “living” life. All of us, as humans, pride ourselves at being effective. Every one of us does things to the best of our ability. And yet, many relationships are not satisfying to the people in them. And many people wonder why being in a relationship is so hard.
Well, there are good reasons for relationship challenges. For starters, where did you learn how to be in a relationship? Maybe you saw some movies or watched other people. Maybe you saw examples of what not to do and vowed to do something different. Or perhaps you had examples that you thought were good but they are not proving to work in your current relationship.
I think it comes as a surprise to most of us that the person we love usually is the one who causes us the most pain and suffering. Many of us imagine living happily ever after with the one we fall in love with.
We have these dreams of everything just being beautiful and romantic and perfect. And maybe it is for a while. But somewhere along the line things start to change and that perfect feeling of everything being just wonderful starts to diminish.
When we love our partners we really love them. But when we are mad at them, we don’t love them as much. I think this is probably the most common behavior humans exhibit in every relationship they are in.
It makes sense, in a way. When we get our feelings hurt, we pull ourselves inside and hide so we can take care of our pain. I know I do. But when we do that we disconnect from everything and everyone.
All of us get our feelings hurt. It happens to everyone who interacts with other human beings. Someone will say something and we will feel a sting inside us. We all respond to this sting and some of us actually try and take the person’s head off because of it.
Some of us just steam inside and aren’t even able to let someone know we are suffering. Yes, all of us get our feelings hurt. But when we are in a relationship with another person and we want the relationship to last we have to find a way to get our hurt feelings across without making the other person the bad guy.
Often in relationships there is one person who knows what they feel and easily expresses it. Funny how this person usually couples with someone who is not expressive, instead their partner stays quiet and you might not even know anything is wrong.
This is more common than you can imagine. As a couples counselor I see it in almost every couple. I often talk about how to curb big feelings because I am a big feeling expressive type.
And my husband is the silent one. No emotion. Maybe a slight frown, but that is about it. When I get upset, everyone knows it. It can’t hide it. My face shows it immediately and my voice may say something about it as well.