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

Widen your viewing lens of the Offending Partner

You know, when I was growing up, my dad used to put people in a mental category from which It was impossible to escape. If someone didn’t keep their car clean they were “lazy” – and it was inconceivable they could succeed in business, or be a great father, or feed the homeless at a shelter on Sunday afternoon.

As an example, obese people had no willpower in my dad’s thinking, despite presenting him with mountains of evidence that many times obese people don’t eat any more food than other people. He also wouldn’t be able to accept that judging people globally on that one dimension of excessive weight had nothing to do with exceptional abilities they may have had in other areas of life. Someone could have been the greatest violinist in the world, or the doctor that found the cure for cancer, but in my Dad’s mind they would still be categorized as “that fat person.”

Once he resented you for something, or was angry at you for something he thought you might have done to him, you had no redeeming qualities. Suddenly, all your good qualities, good deeds, and accomplishments went out the window (sometimes forever) or until he was no longer in an angry state.

Through the years, I have seen many of my patients do the same thing which creates mountains of resentment, especially between relatives, that doesn’t have to exist.

Here are two tricks to widening your lens

  • Trick #1: Remind yourself that as you see your partner isn’t necessarily how your partner “is” necessarily – only how you see them. People are complex – they are mixtures of traits, qualities, values and motivations. It is quite possible that other people may see them quite differently. If you would see them through the other lens your resentment many vanish or at least dimension for a while. If other people see them differently (more positively) maybe you can too.
  • Trick #2: Change Your expectations of them. Anger and resentment often is born from a major discrepancy between what you expect and what you get. Many of us enter marriage with an idealized view of our partner….we see them as we would like them to be instead of how they are. In successful marriages, partners realistically see the flaws or shortcomings in their partner, but love them anyway. Nobody gets 100% of what they ideally want in a partner. Successful partners do get at least 7 out of 10 things they want. To reduce resentment, focus on those 7 positive qualities instead of what you see as the negatives.

Stock image provided by:

unsplash-logoMathieu Stern