Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Flourishing Relationships - Resentment

Resentment is one of those emotions that we all feel at some time or another. 

There are lots of issues that cause resentment e.g. money,   in-laws, criticism, defensiveness, work, nagging, expectations, selfishness and sex. I am sure that you can think of some others to add to this list.

"You never listen to me!"
The danger with resentment is that if you let it,  it festers  away in the background of your mind and affects your relationships.

How does this happen? If you are resentful about something, you will react in a negative way rather than with a positive attitude. You communication with the other person becomes limited and can easily break down, causing a rift between you. Then if neglected, the rift can widen to the point that the relationship starts to run into trouble.

What to do about it? Here are some tips to consider:

  • If you are the one who is resentful work out what it is exactly that you resent, then talk about it. Your partner may not have any idea that what they did or said made you feel resentful. Give them the opportunity to apologize and explain.
  • If your partner is the one who is resentful and you understand what you did to cause that resentment, apologize and  change your behaviour.
  •  Listen carefully to what it is that your partner is feeling resentful about and acknowledge their feelings so that you validate them.This is really important as it allows your partner to feel heard.
  • Kindness is a good antidote for resentment. Use little random acts of kindness towards your partner on a daily basis.
  • Appreciation and consideration can also go a long way to stop resentment, so make a point of being considerate and appreciative each day.
Hanging onto resentment is not healthy. Not only does it affect your relationships, it never brings you happiness. Resentment is one of the most common emotions that I help my Client's to release. 

If you find yourself hanging onto some resentments, find ways of letting them go. Believe me it is worth the effort.You will feel so much better afterwards.

Hilary Thompson
The Out and About Therapist
Facilitator at Flourishing Relationships Retreats

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