Fuck Resentment, Hello Communication
Resentment is the emotional equivalent of a lethal virus. It has the capacity to kill any relationship. Slowly, but steadily it chips away at respect, love & adoration. It fuels contempt, which is one of the “Four Horseman of the Apocalypse”, according to the Gottman's research. Since 1986 the Love Lab has predicted relationship success or failure with a 93.6% accuracy rate, so I guess they know what they're talking about. (Scroll to the end of this post for a quiz to see if your relationship has what the Gottman's refer to as, "Negative Sentiment Override"). Where does resentment come from? What does it feel like? & how in the flying f*ck do we transmute it? In my experience, it all stems from lack of communication. That might sound too simple, or it may take away from the victimization stand point, which sounds something like, “but 'THEY'...” fill in the blank. Hear me out, when you don't effectively communicate when something (or someone) hurts you, you remove the chance for the other person to correct their behaviour. If it's an entrenched behaviour, you may have to mention this a few times (& since most of our actions are subconsciously repeated over our entire lifetime, odds are- it's
They key is to give the other person a chance to correct & apologize...& to do this with effective communication...backed by compassion, patience & self-awareness that you have a role in this, too. They are the way they are for their own reasons that we will never fully understand, so speak up, express yourself & get clarity. Humans are fallible & we're all different. We were raised in different households with different caregivers & these differences come out when we coexist with another human, go figure. I know, I know, communication is challenging, but the good news is that it's a skill that can be learned & over time with practice it can become second nature...or so I hear, my dog Peanut doesn't give me much feedback on my communication style. Devils advocate & you don't directly say anything, so then what happens? Perhaps you choose to swallow it with sarcasm, jokes, or alcohol & all of your extremely valid emotions of anger, fear or sadness stay inside of you, festering. You may think you're doing the right thing by not “bothering anyone” with your feelings, but what you're actually doing is punishing yourself & them, silently. Slowly suffocating your love from the inside out & this is how resentment builds & eventually kills. What does resentment feel like in the body? That will vary from person to person. It can feel like welling in your throat, fury in your cheeks, or maybe it's a pain in your chest. The list goes on because it's different for everyone.
How do you tell if you have a budding resentment baby growing in your heart? The key is to listen to your body & find out. Get present with that uncomfortable shit. Observe the feeling & then in your mind, or on paper, practice expressing what's happening in your body & then do your best to pinpoint the word or action that triggered this feeling. Then ask yourself a question...is this feeling rom this exact moment, or is there an unhealed wound from my past & this moment is the salt? Do you feel like shutting down, running away or yelling? If so there's a good chance there's some history in that feeling & an even better chance that resentment is piling up beneath the floor boards. So finally, how the flying f*ck do we get rid of it? Bringing awareness to it is the first step, the second is getting into your body to play detective & get all the information you can, where can you feel it, is it historical, is it hysterical? Then finally – the saviour of relationships, the healer of all things --open, honest, vulnerable & effective, communication! From there we learn to FORGIVE & move forward. More on forgiveness & letting go in a future blog post. Sign up for the monthly email newsletter if you'd like to be notified of my future blogs! Without communication we truly have sweet fuck all. Well I guess that's not true, eventually we'll have friction & resentment. LINK TO NEGATIVE SENTIMENT OVERRIDE QUIZ! https://www.gottman.com/blog/quiz-negative-sentiment-override/ ********************************************************************************************************** Please note this blog is from my own personal experience & Im not a professional in the classic sense of the word...I'm a professional at analyzing my own life to see where I went wrong & taking deep dives in course correcting. Years of therapy, a butt load of books & some inner reflection with plant medicine has brought me here. Also, Im not a “writer”, but thanks for reading! & tell me your thoughts!
Here's my poorly sited reference https://www.gottman.com/about/research/