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.
What Really Underlies Resentment in Relationships?
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.
What? How can that be? Someone did something to me and I can’t forgive him or her for it. What does that have to do with self-pity? Well, think about it this way: you got hurt, didn’t you? Yes, you got hurt.
And you stay hurt, instead of healing. You put a wall around your pain and hold someone responsible for causing it. So, if we stretch our idea about this, can we see that the pain is what we are protecting? We could even say we feel sorry for ourselves for having this pain.
But we hold someone accountable instead of taking care of ourselves and getting healed, totally forgetting about our own needs. No one likes to get hurt. And it happens all the time in relationships.
How Being Hurt By Those We’ve Opened Up To Forms Resentment in Relationships
Most of us don’t mean to hurt the other person and yet it still happens. It happens because our hearts are wide open and when something doesn’t feel right it is magnified one hundred percent. If someone outside the relationship were to say the same thing our beloved says to us we might have a totally different response.
It might be just something that someone said. But with a mate it feels like the end of the world. “How could they not know that would hurt me? They are supposed to love me! How could they do that to me?”
These are the questions we might explore when our partners hurt us. Some of us try and work these things out, and that takes some skill. Some of us are not able to talk about what hurt us and we just have to protect our hearts from further pain.
How Communication and Introspection Combat Resentment in Relationships Just Like Yours
Resentment comes in when we build a wall around our heart against our mate. So, next time you get hurt, try and think of talking about what hurt you with the person who caused it. But you have to use your best skills to not blame or hold them responsible. Just tell them what it is like to have the pain in your body and what it feels like.
This is all the information they need to feel their love for you and to say those wonderful words you need to hear: “I am sorry I hurt you. I didn’t mean to.”
Need Some Help Diffusing Resentment in Your Relationship?
Read a Book About Relationships
Get some help relieving resentment relationships, by reading Linda’s book Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It just might help you both develop better skills for introspection and communication, helping you both understand why each of you do what you do. That can help you develop empathy, take things less personally, and reduce resentment in your relationship. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.