Managing and Eliminating Resentment

Dear Karen,


My parner is such an idiot!  I give and give and give, and he shows no appreciation for the sacrifices I’m making so that we can be together (we live about 2 hours apart, and I drive to his house every weekend).  He just expects me to be there, at his beck and call, with no thought to how that’s all happening.  I know he’s going through a tough time at work, but come on, already!  When’s he going to wake up and notice what I’m doing???  It’s really pissing me off, and I need some help here, or I’m gonna blow.  Thanks. – Lindsey, NH


Hi, Lindsey,


What a juicy question – thanks for sending it in!  


(Please note – this answer is based on the assumption that Lindsey is with a man who is right for her.)  




I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that the first thing you need to take care of is your resentment.  That’s going to do you in – not to mention your relationship!


Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.


Powerful, huh? 


There are lots of ways to take care of resentment.  Here are a few:


1)      Have a really good, let-it-rip anger release session (hitting pillows with a tennis racket is quite fabulous, as is driving your car to a secluded place, closing the windows and screaming, while “choking” the steering wheel);

2)      Cry with a supportive friend – that means someone who wants you to succeed in your relationship…not someone who specializes in man-bashing!;

3)      Write a letter, addressed to him, where you express all your anger, resentment, judgment, etc., until you feel the negative energy get smaller (hey, it might even go away!), and then you can write all the reasons why you forgive him;

4)      If you have access to the more logical part of you, just have a chat with yourself about why you feel this way, what you know about your man and whether or not he’s really out to “get you”, and maybe reel yourself back from the “brink”.

5)      Forgive…him, and yourself.


Now that you’ve gotten the really “hard” energy out of the way of relating more effectively, let’s take next the next step, which is to understand how you got there in the first place.




If you’re like most women, you are wired to give.  Managed well, that drive to nurture and take care of the ones you love is not only life-giving to them, it also will fill you up. 




…if you give beyond where you should; if you give when your tank is empty (an epidemic issue these days!), or when you are giving with an expectation of something in return (keeping score), you’re going to be in bad shape very quickly, and you – and everyone around you – will feel it.


Make sure you’re getting what you need in order to have your tank filled, and don’t make the mistake of looking to your man to be the only source of fuel.  Of course he’s going to provide some of it, but he can’t do it all; he’s going to fail miserably, if you’ve made that his job.  He doesn’t have the ability to be all of that for you (but – and this is a huge thing: he will think he should be able to, which will create much angst, because he cannot succeed!).


One of the ways to get your tank filled is to ask for what you need, from your man and from all the other sources in your life.  Just make sure you ask from a place of knowing you deserve it, trusting that they want to give it to you, and not from a place of resentment or anger.


You getting what you need is critically important to you, as well as to those you care about.  Make sure that’s happening!


MAN 101


Two things I want to remind you of about men:


1)      Work is their highest priority, and you mentioned that your guy is going through a very challenging time with work – I’d suggest more empathy at this point;

2)      The reflection back about themselves from our eyes, our heart, our being, has a huge impact on them.  If what they get back from us is “You’re such a selfish bastard”, or “You don’t really care about me” or “I’m about 12 seconds from leaving your sorry ass!”, they are going to withdraw, in whatever way they do that (and if you know your man, you know how he does that, right?).


The solution?


Remember all the things about him that caused you to be with him, and relate with him from that place.  Look at him with appreciation in your eyes, trust in your heart, generosity of spirit in your soul, and you will be amazed at how quickly he comes toward you.  That is irresistible to him…being that man that he sees reflected back to him, in your eyes.


The world is a hard, harsh place for your man.  Be his soft landing place.  It’s you at your best, after all.