Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Taking Poison - Resentment & Bitterness

How do we cope with angry feelings in our partnership? What can we do to keep those angry feelings from becoming resentment or bitterness?

After reading a thoughtfully written quote it occurred that resentment and bitterness are one of the most important topics in relationships. The quote basically said, "Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die."

What a concept... we want to be compassionate in our relationships. We want to be loving and filled with warmth. But what happens when our trust is violated in some way and we feel the sting of betrayal. How do we cope with our feelings without becoming bitter and resentful?

One of our most basic tools is counseling. We must choose to avail ourselves of assistance when we face a situation that we cannot handle with the tools we currently possess. We may need a safe place to express our anger... to work through our feelings... so that we don't poison our relationship. If our partner has betrayed us in some way we have a choice to make. Is this betrayal a deal breaker? Or do we and our partner want to salvage the relationship?

Contrary to what others in our lives may believe there is no right answer for this question. Each partnership is unique. What works for one may not work for another. Partners must decide how much of a commitment they have made to the relationship and what they are willing to do to work through the issues that present themselves. For some, betrayal of any kind is more than they are willing to forgive. For others there is compassion and forgiveness. Neither are right... just different.

When we arrive at a decision with our partner and the help of a counselor, giving our best efforts to the situation is imperative. Anger is an appropriate emotion following betrayal. It requires a safe environment in which to be expressed. Once the anger has been fully explored and the underlying issues revealed healing can begin.

Avoiding resentment and bitterness may take a great deal of effort, but in the long run it is worth the work... our relationship and our health depend upon it.

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