Resentment in a romantic relationship is one of the most common and toxic issues with which couples struggle. It’s a complex issue that’s often rooted in past experiences or traumas, and so it takes some effort to make sense of. Before you can come to any resolution, you’ll first need to peel back a few layers to find the root cause of the resentment. Only then can you begin to shift your thoughts and behaviors away from resentment and toward calm and understanding. Here are a few strategies for how to stop resenting your partner and unlock a more harmonious and healthier dynamic.
Resentment And Your Inner Child
It is essential to understand that resentment is rooted in the past. It could reach back as far as childhood. Sometimes resentment can be traced to a difficult situation you experienced in a more recent history in your partnership. All too often couples I’ve counseled think their anger and conflicts are about chores, schedules or careers. I can safely say, their resentment has little to do with whose turn it is to fold the laundry or late nights at the office. They may be arguing about dishes but the crux of the conflict goes far deeper.
Resentment is often a remnant of your childhood traumas and family dynamics. Perhaps you don’t like having your spouse tell you what to do because you grew up in an authoritarian household and fight against all authority to this day. Or your parents were emotionally unavailable, leaving you feeling invisible and alone. And now you resent when your partner feels disengaged and occupied with other matters. So in order to stop resenting your partner, it’s important to first understand your inner child and how your personal history manifests in the context of your relationship.
Understanding Is Key To Healing
When you connect the dots between past trauma and your current experiences, this will allow you to begin the healing process. Think about what specifically you resent about your partner. When did it begin? What prompted your angry reaction? Then try to follow the thread further back into your history to see if you can draw any parallels. Once you’re able to shine a light at your own vulnerabilities, fears and insecurities, you’ll be better able to process your feelings and reactions toward your partner.
Take Action Before Resentment Spirals Out Of Control
The trickiest aspect of healing resentment in marriage is its complexity. Not only does it involve confronting past hurts, but if left unaddressed, it tends to fester and get worse over time. If you’ve been avoiding dealing with a conflict or just haven’t been able to find closure, you will find yourself in an unfortunate pattern of blaming, judging and anger. Unchecked resentment only begets more resentment. When you’re stuck in this vicious cycle, even small events can trigger massive escalations.
Many relationships can withstand and recover from resentment if you catch the problem early enough. If your interactions with your spouse are marked by hostility and outbursts, it may feel like your marriage is over, but it doesn’t have to be so. You can stop being mad at your partner all the time when you switch to a positive mindset. When you and your partner are both willing to be open and empathetic toward each other, you can shift your relationship to a better place. Consistency, self-awareness and good communication are key to turning things around.
Therapy Will Help You Heal Faster
The most effective way to break a negative cycle is to work with an experienced couples therapist. At Marriage Quest, we help couples navigate the complex world of emotions and behaviors. Our approach is fairly simple: If you don’t like what you’re feeling, change what you’re thinking. Of course this takes work, but it’s well worth the effort. When put into practice, this can transform resentment into productive communication, forgiveness and closeness.
In my experience, you can stop resenting your partner in as little as a day and as long as a month. A marriage retreat is the fastest way to see positive results. This “warp speed therapy” can only work as long as both partners are open and willing to work on their marriage. Marriage Quest therapists pride themselves in helping couples break out of the endless blame game and restore their relationship back to health. Are you ready to stop resenting your partner? Let us help you get there faster.