Resentments are the quiet thoughts or feelings we harbor against another person because we consider them responsible for an act of indignation, animosity, or ill will.
Susanne and Jeff, you may recall, have been married for about ten years with two children and have grown resentful of one other over time.
Resentments surface when we are hurt or offended, and when we try to convey them, there is a refusal to listen. As a result, we go silent.
Jeff has been attempting to let Susanne know that her being curt is demeaning to him but when he tries to bring it up, she scoffs and blows him off. So, now his inward conversation becomes, “I'm not going to say anything because that would just cause more trouble.”
This act of chivalry is seen by him as "keeping the peace." However, I see it as creating a time bomb that will cause a large explosion in the future.
When Jeff says, “I'm not going to say anything because it would cause more problems,” he “feels” he has made the gallant choice.
I say that if he does not speak up and allows that resentment to develop, it will eventually blow up. Our anxiety reservoir can only store so much before it finds an explosive release.
It is at that point I say we give two dollars’ worth of guff for a nickel’s worth of offense.
Resentments can be those things like: I'm not feeling understood, I don't like the way I'm being treated, I don't feel like you listen at all, you frustrate me and I don't know how to tell you.
Resentments cause distance and that distance puts our relationships in danger.
Resentments create misunderstandings that are subtle and quiet. We feel going silent is supposed to avoid conflict, but I say that doing so just delays the ticking bomb.
Resentments create secrets and make it easy to begin to make up stories in our minds about the other. The storyteller then acts out the made-up story about another person as if it were true, and when these long-held resentments are eventually unleashed, the target of the resentment does not comprehend this explosion, but the person who is angry feels entirely justified in doing so.
It’s been so loud inside them, but completely silent to the other.
This is why resentments must be dealt with as they arise. I like to use the word ‘Ouch’ or ‘Ouch that hurts.’
If I am speaking to someone and they say ‘Ouch’, it helps me understand and appreciate that I have done something offensive and need to correct it.
Resentments are silent killers in our relationships.
Let’s look for ways to find understanding, connection, and improvement; emotionally healthy relationships are a result of honest, open feedback.
Watch for the blind spots.
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Blind Spots in Relationships
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