Monday, June 1, 2009

I'm So Mad I Could Just...

What do we do when we feel resentment toward our partner? How do we get past the challenge and renew the loving connection we long to feel once again?

When feeling resentful, our inner voice tells us we want our partner to care about the way we are feeling. This seems a natural state of affairs. To that end we may try to explain why we are upset, give our partner a long list of current and past offenses, cry, become angry, manipulate, use the silent treatment and many other expressions of our displeasure. Our inner child stamps our feet and fusses trying whatever works to draw attention and gain understanding from our partner. The apparent flaw in this logic is that our reaction to our resentful feelings, create exactly what we are trying to overcome... feelings of resentment in our partner. We have treated our partner with the same insensitivity and coarseness that created our initial resentment.

We know how difficult it is to be empathetic toward our partner when we are feeling resentful. We may have been treated in ways that were hurtful and unpleasant. We may feel violated or used. We feel righteous in our indignation. We may be unaware and disinterested in our partners feelings while in this state. We have become insensitive and coarse toward our partner.

Conversely, our partner probably feels exactly the same way toward us now that we are angry and resentful. This is the core of the dilemma. Much as the itch/scratch theory, it is unimportant who began the conflict or resentments, if the goal is to return to loving communication and warmth. The way out is to regain our balance and center ourselves.

We take a time our for self care. We give ourselves some space and alone time. We use that time to reflect on all that has happened leading us to this place of resentment. If we have been using our tools and giving ourselves appropriate self care throughout our recovery, we will slowly be able to see our part in the conflict. Our ownership of the responsibility for our part in the discord enables us to let go of our resentments. We can then approach our partner in love and discuss our differences from our center using detachment.

We use "I" statements focusing ourselves on our part of the problem and making amends where necessary. We ask our partner if we have missed any area of responsibility prior to moving on with the discussion. We give our partner a chance to take personal responsibility themselves before we point out areas of discontent. If we have been diligent in our efforts to be forthcoming our partner may well respond in kind. We can give ourselves credit for having the maturity to respond vs react. Our self esteem flourishes when we treat ourselves, our partner and our relationship with gentleness and dignity. We recall that we create balanced karma when we give what we wish to receive.

In continuing to use our tools we develop the skills we need to overcome resentments in our relationship preventing bitterness from taking root. We practice self care in our daily lives increasing our self esteem each time we succeed in responding vs reacting to the challenges put before us. In this way we give ourselves the gift of honest loving communication.

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