There is an often overlooked and little understood factor, called resentment, that contributes to, reinforces, and prolongs negative emotions and a host of associated symptoms. Dr. Roland Trujillo, MS Doctorate in Pastoral Psychology has written extensively on this topic, on coping strategies and about taking positive steps to move forward. In this blog, he comments on resentment in marriage and how it exacerbates arguments and hurt feelings.
Here's a little story to illustrate how resentment can hurt a relationship. The names are fictitious but the story is a common one, affecting couples all around the world.
Josh and Kaitlin just had another big spat. This time the huge argument was over the toothpaste tube.
Last week they had a big argument over money. Two weeks ago the argument was over whether to have the window open or closed.
Each time she throws everything in his face. He clams up. Nothing is solved. Another layer is added to unfinished business and baggage from the past, which resurfaces the next time they argue.
To the untrained observer, it would appear that the issue was the toothpaste tube, money or the window. But to Roland Trujillo not so. Note: see Roland's latest article "My husband argues with me about everything."
"The toothpaste tube is only the occasion for pent up hostility, suppressed angers and long standing unfinished business to burst forth."
Roland continues: "Here's the rest of the story. Josh comes home from work and sits down in front of the television. Kaitlin had been working all day and taking care of the kids. She feels unappreciated.
Josh can sense that she is angry about something, but he doesn't want to begin a conversation because he knows the dam will break and she will throw a long list of things in his face. So he avoids talking.
Josh stays home in the evening even though his friends want him to play cards with them. He is angry because she does not appreciate his sacrifice. Kaitlin complains that the repair he made in the bathroom is not working so she is going to have to call someone else to do it who knows what they are doing. Josh feels like she does not respect him.
Kaitlin wants to talk. She hopes the maybe when thy go to bed, they can talk like they used to. Josh falls asleep right away. Kaitlin feels unloved.
Kaitlin admits to her friend that she tends to throw everything at him all at once. He probably feels overwhelmed says her friend. I know, says Kaitlin, but I can't help it. I keep trying to get his attention."
And once she does, everything that she has been holding in comes out. Afterwards she feels guilty about it.
Josh tells his friends that he loves his wife, but "she is never satisfied with anything I do." "I'm always wrong."
Soon one or both of them are thinking: "I'm tired of arguing. I'm tired of not being appreciated. I'm tired of being the one who has to work on our marriage. I'm tired of always giving in for peace. We have nothing in common. The love is gone."
Here's the bottom line, says Roland. Kaitlin is resentful. And so is Josh. It is the resentment that causes the accumulation of hurt feelings and hostility. The accumulation of upset leads to either exploding in anger or suppressing and clamming up. Neither is healthy.
Resentment washes away reason. Resentment takes away the ability to be reasonable and calm. It leads to frustration and upset. These lead to discouragement, feeling tired, negative thinking, stress and physical symptoms that stress contributes to.
I can help, says Roland. By learning to let go of resentment, you stop feeding upset, frustration, bitterness, discouragement that contribute to further negative symptoms and feelings. It is also resentment that makes you feel empty, inferior, unfulfilled and unloved.
Roland's practical solutions are based in understanding. "I describe the why of what is happening. I talk about men and women, about how they are different and about how we can more easily appreciate our differences when the resentment factor is removed.
Understanding is the answer--when you become aware of what is really going on and see many good reasons for letting go of resentment, your new understanding will help you feel better and become more joyous and positive.
If your partner also develops understanding, then your relationship can become heaven on earth. If only you become more aware and mature in your understanding, you are still much better off because you will be able to deal gracefully with situations, and spare yourself the upset, frustration and emptiness you now feel.
Another thing, says Roland. Many people know they are resentful and want to give it up, but don't know how. I know how, and I show you.
Other people think that being more forgiving means giving in for peace. But I can show you that it is resentment and guilt that makes you keep quiet or give in now. I can show you how to let go of resentment, which frees you up to express yourself and speak up (without resentment).
What I teach should be common knowledge, but you can hardly get these insights anywhere else. Sure there are some good marriage and relationship programs or counseling. The seminar leaders, writer or counselor may be working with bits and pieces of the solution. But I have the whole and I put it all together. With others, you get some pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, but I can give yo the complete picture.
Hello, my name is Roland and I am a marriage adviser. I've been on the radio for 23 years, both secular stations and Christian stations around the country.
I get a lot of questions about relationships and marriage--probably most of the questions I get. A couple of years ago I wrote a book about marriage. It was really excellent, but I wanted to take it to the next level.
I think that The Myths and Mysteries of Marriage really does fulfill my expectations. I wanted a book that is about relationships, and even though I am a bit old fashioned and traditional, I wanted the book to be inclusive. And it is.
People who are in long term or short term relationships will enjoy and benefit from my book just as much as those who are formally married. I talk about some of the deep aspects of relationships, and I can explain why so many relationships develop issues. But the best part is that I can help you solve the issues.
I also wanted at talk about dating and courtship (there is a difference), and why I favor courtship.
I wanted a book for ladies who are working on their relationship. But I also wanted it to be a book that men, especially thoughtful men who want to be good husbands and fathers, will feel comfortable with.
I wanted a book that is serious--a serious book about a serious and important topic. But I also wanted it to be fun--a good read, a page turner--and even funny in parts.
Finally I wanted to write a book that can be read again and again. Each time getting some new insight. Or a book that a young man or lady who is just married, and when an issue develops, can reach for and turn to the chapter on that issue and get some insights and solutions.
I believe that this is the book.
Your friend, Roland
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