Resentment is a form of anger. The dictionary defines it as “bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly.”
Most of you have probably heard that we should not hold resentments toward events or people who we feel have wronged us in some way. We have heard that holding resentments is bad for our health, our marriages and our families. . Most world religions include teachings on forgiveness, which provide guidance for the practice of forgiveness.
Even Martin Luthor King said:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness.
Only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate.
Only love can do that.”
Yet, on a personal level, many angry partners are angry because they are unable to let go of resentment or grievances , even though they agree with the concept in theory.
THE ALL-TIME WINNER OF HOLDING ON TO RESENTMENT
Although there is no clear scientific evidence for this, the perception out there is that wives hold on to resentments and hurts more than husbands do. Many beleaguered husbands that we have sought us for consultation through the years lament that it is though their wives carry a gunnysack full of resentments around with them often some of which are many years old. Whenever a fight comes up, they say, their wives (“who never forget ANYTHING and remember EVERYTHING ”), reach into their gunnysack, pull out an old resentment and symbolically whack them over the head with it.
Dr Fiore reports that in his 40 years experience, the winner of the “gunnysack” award goes to Anna, a 45 year old wife of a teacher who sought consultation for marital conflict. In the middle of the consultation, Ann was asked what bothered her most about her marriage of 25 years. She didn’t mention money problems, household chores problems, parenting conflict or sex problems.
Her biggest complaint after a 25 year long marriage was: “He didn’t buy me the wedding ring he promised me during our engagement.”
In protest, her husband chimed back: “That was because I was a poor teacher tat the time. However, if you will recall, 10 years later I bought you a $20,000 ring that I thought you would like.”
Her angry response: “The ring was nice but it wasn’t there on our wedding day like you promised.”
THE FABLE OF THE WOLF:
Reminds us of an old story: The Fable of the Wolf:
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
LETTING GO OF RESENTMENTS IS A CHOICE: THE PAYOFF IS MORE EMOTIONAL CONNECTION
By the same token, resentful partners can only be less resentful if they decide to be; at some point the offender partner can do no more to fix things or take away the hurt . He or she often cannot change what happened that is causing the resentment. The ball is in the court of the partner holding the resentment.
If a person elects to spend many years holding that grudge or grievance, he or she is going to be miserable- but it is their choice. They are feeding the wrong wolf!
Forgiveness often involves letting go of issues that not only happened in the past – but are still happening. Not that you should tolerate everything or anything you partner does, but at some point you may have to either decide if you are going to stay angry, I fyou are going to try a new approach to influence your partner, or you just find a way to accept what bothers you ablut them or their behavior.
The payoff of letting it go is huge! Forgiveness is an essential component of successful romantic relationships. In fact, recent studies show that capacity to seek and grant forgiveness is one of the most significant factors contributing to marital satisfaction and a lifetime of love.
Forgiving yourself and others is about being willing to acknowledge that you are capable of being wounded. It also means that you are willing to step out from the role of victim and take charge of your life.
Couples who practice forgiveness can rid themselves of the toxic hurt and shame that holds them back from feeling connected to each other. In The Science of Trust, Dr. John Gottman explains that emotional attunement is a skill that allows couples to fully process and move on from negative emotional events, and ultimately create a stronger bond.
The path from feeling resentment to letting go of them is not easy to traverse and is fright with pitfalls. But, like th eother 6 Anger Fighters, thee are 4 steps involved which you can lern by listening to each of the following MP3 audios:
Audio 006RS1- Decide to Let Go Of Resentments
Audio 006RS2- Acknowledge Your Contribution
Audio 006RS3- Remember Key Concepts
Audio 006RS4- Execute Winning Strategies