Build-up of resentment is extremely common in any relationship. The problem is that it will never go away unless you bring your attention to it. You need to get rid of it before it creates a wall between you and your partner. If years go by with built-up resentment, the wall becomes more like a fortress.
Holding on to resentment towards your partner is like ingesting poison but expecting your partner to suffer. It doesn’t make sense. Why would anyone want to ingest negative emotions and embody this low-energy state? Have worry and low mood ever helped you in life?
Many women tell me they have difficulty refocusing their thoughts when they have been wronged, misunderstood, unappreciated or betrayed. The hurt is deep within.
What I feel is most helpful is reminding my client that they have the power to choose different thoughts. We need to remind ourselves that we have developed a patterned way of thinking from a young age, and those patterns do not always serve us well.
I was recently counselling a couple in which the man used a method of communicating to his wife that involved a lot of shaming, contempt, and judgement. This of course caused his wife a lot of emotional turmoil. I suggested to her that she should first remove herself from the discussion and ask him to continue it when he can use a different pattern of communication. I advised the woman that once she had removed herself and was alone with her thoughts, she shouldn’t ignore the hurt.
Instead, I advised her to really investigate her emotions.. Example: I feel _____ because I interpreted his words as truth. Are they true? If they are true, then I told her to ask herself,‘ What could I do to change my behaviour?’ but if they are not true then she needs to recognize there is no truth in that story. Once she has established that the story isn’t true, she can go on with her day. Choose different thoughts. Choose thoughts that bring her joy and elevate her. Perseverating on the disagreement brings no value.
When you find yourself in a similar situation, you are either deciding that you want to change your behaviour to become a better version of yourself, or that your partner’s words were full of untruths, and you can let it go. Finally, if your partner is hurting inside and struggling within himself, see this for what it is and show him compassion. Send him loving energy. You have now elevated yourself and overflowed with peace and harmony within, so why not share?
Also, remind yourself of what your shared meaning is together as a couple. This is a mere bump in the road. Remind yourself what you are holding in your mind’s eye as a long-term vision of you and your partner. What are you doing to honour that vision right now? Are your thoughts coming from a place of abundance? Or a place of lack? What can you do right now to change your vision of yourself in a way that honours your personal identity and brings you joy? Can you see your partner being part of that long-term shared meaning? If not – what feelings and thoughts can you choose that help to support the shared meaning for yourselves?
Upon changing your way of thinking, you then need to practice this over and over until it is automated, and you can find joy in all moments of your life. Creating a habit of thought through repetition makes life effortless.
Helping individuals find joy in their own personal life and seeing it transfer into relationships is what gives me joy. Let me know if you need help doing this for yourself by sending me an email.