You are angry with your husband because he cannot seem to put his dirty clothes in the hamper. Despite repeated requests by you, he continues to drop them on the floor. Now you are beginning to feel resentment. He is ignoring your requests. With every new dirty sock on the floor your resentment grows. Then you notice the toilet seat is up, and now you find all sorts of other reasons to be mad. What a jerk! And your resentment grows.
Pretty soon you will have a litany of evidence against him, and the problem has become so huge that you don’t know how to fix it. You don’t even want to fix it. You fall out of love.
You may think, in this scenario, that it’s all his fault. That your resentment is created because of what he did to you. After all, he repeatedly dropped his clothes on the floor, the slob. No wonder you resent him.
But the problem is probably deeper. The truth is, you feel he ignored you—he still fails to put clothes in the hamper. Your anger and resentment may hark back to years ago when he didn’t take your feelings into consideration. He didn’t do as you asked. Your really strong resentment is about more than dirty clothes on the floor. It’s probably based on years of frustration and neglect. And you are so ‘right’ to be angry.
Except you’re not.
Clinging to anger and resentment will only hurt you and your relationship. When you continually feed your resentment, you are refusing to forgive. You are holding onto your past hurts because you want to get the justice you’re due. You want to continue to feel self-righteous. And because you don’t know of any other way to proceed.
“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” – Nelson Mandela
Unless you let go of your toxic resentment, you will not be able to move forward in your life. You will keep reliving the grievances in your mind. You will think about all the little instances that may have been slights against you. You will spend, in fact, entirely too much time feeling angry while the focus of your anger is probably doing just fine. He’s probably not obsessing about you at all.
The truth is, you are in resentment’s grip. You are holding a grudge that destroys your peace of mind and maybe even your health. It is time to let go. You can make that choice. You can choose a life-affirming path. You can get rid of your toxic feelings.
Next week we’ll talk about how to let go of your resentment.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact-us.