Decide To Deal With Resentment
ACKNOWLEDGE the issue causing resentment
REMEMBER skills that work for you
EXECUTE a plan to forgive, or ask forgiveness

Injured Partner: Execute winning strategies

Offending Partner strategies to right the ship

Let’s start with strategies if you are the Offending Partner, but you are with a person who sees themselves as an Injured Partner who won’t let it go.

Example case

He has apologized many times but she won’t forgive him. She reminds him during love-making by making snide remarks. Often she will start crying for no apparent reason but he knows she is thinking about the incident. He feels shameful, but also angry because he can’t undo what he did.

Five winning strategies to practice in these situations:

Winning Strategy #1 – Understand the difference between blame and responsibility.

Even though you blame your partner for whatever is bothering you (hence your resentment), adapt the mental set that it is your responsibility to somehow and some way get yourself over the injury. Now, for many this is a very very hard pill to swallow.  Start by reading my blog “Five tips for preventing resentment from ruining your marriage”

Winning Strategy #2 – Don’t let ego or pride prevent you from forgiving an otherwise forgivable offense

Even though you have many hurt feelings, try not to let your ego or pride or  prevent you from forgiving  an otherwise good spouse who is trying to make things right. Look into your own heart instead of listening to family or friends that may be misguided.

Winning Strategy #3 – Don’t stuff emotions.

Honestly express negative feelings toward your partner in the moment instead of letting those feelings fester into a resentment.

Example: The accountant’s wife

I once knew a lovely wife of an  accountant who complained in therapy that she felt very lonely in her 25 year marriage because her husband “never talks to me.” When he wasn’t preparing taxes for his many clients from his home-office, she lamented, he was out in the garage rebuilding classic cars  and also practicing his clarinet which he played on the side.  In therapy, he was astounded with her crying outburst of how much resentment she felt toward him. He claimed (and was right) that in 25 year she had never mentioned this to him in a way that he could hear it. She just “stuffed” her feelings in a classic “good wife” way. Even though she had a lovely life with affluence, they were world-traveled, and he denied her nothing, she still felt she had very little power or say so in the relationship – so she didn’t, much to the long-term detriment of the relationship.

Winning Strategy #4 – Don’t expect your marriage to fulfil so many of your life needs. Find other ways to feel fulfilled instead of resenting what you may not be getting from your marriage.

Mary constantly complained to her friends that  her husband did not share enough with her when he came home at the end of the day.

Winning Strategy #5 – If your resentment is caused by irritation or annoyance:

  • Acknowledge your contribution no matter how small to the event/behaviors that led to your resentment emotions (e.g. no sex for two years and no discussion about it for two years which led husband to start texting with another woman)
  • Use the DARE tools to get over your resentment feelings
  • Drop any angry, contempuous, sarcastic way you may be ommunciating with you partner.
  • Open lines of communication to discover why your partner did what they did and ways this can be prevented in the future
  • use Empathy tools to try and see things from your partner’s point of view