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What Do I Do if There Is Nothing but Anger & Resentment in My Relationship?

by Mitch Reid

Anger and resentment come with many consequences for your social life, especially when you conscious or subconsciously direct your negativity at a significant other. Resentment in relationships can manifest in various ways, including undue bouts of criticism, stonewalling, power struggles and high emotional reactivity, suggests Steven Stosny, consultant in family violence, in his Psychology Today article, "Overcoming Chronic Resentment and the Abuse It Causes." Rather than allowing your anger to sap the happiness from your relationship, practice a few strategies that will help you forgive your partner and move on with your love.

Uncover the Issue

If you plan to overcome the obstacle of resentment, you must start with identifying the source of the grudge, suggests Therese Borchard, associate editor of PsychCentral, in her article, "Eight Tips to Stop Holding a Grudge." While sometimes the cause is obvious, other times you might hold a grudge for so long that you forget it's initial cause, covering it up in multiple layers of negativity and petty complains. Think back to when the resentment surfaced. Say out loud to yourself, "I resent my partner because…" Now you have put a name to the problem.

Assess Your Partner's View

Some forms of resentment can be overcome internally. Imagine the situation from your partner's perspective, suggests Borchard. Perhaps when he crossed you he was simply doing what he thought was right, or perhaps even responding to your own negative words or actions. From there, you might find it in yourself to proceed to forgiving him, or at least move onto discussing the problem. Ask yourself if he seems resentful in return, or if the anger is stemming from you alone. If the latter is true, he might not even have realized that he stepped on your toes.

Share Your Problems

Bring up the problem to your partner, rather than waiting for her to do it. Share your feeling as objectively as possible, and only after you have tried to view things from your partner's stance. Expect a debate, but keep your own temper in check and avoid talking over each other. After a resolution is reached, or you both come to an understanding, don't dwell on the past, suggests Borchard. Make a decision to leave it in the past, or else you risk resentment resurfacing.

Forgive and Learn

Look at forgiveness as a process, not an event, suggests David Sbarra, associate professor of psychology, in his Huffington Post article, "Loosen Your Grip On Those Grudges: Learn How To Forgive And Move On." You might not forget the offending incident, but you try to move past that and return to loving gestures. Over time, aim to accept that neither of you are perfect people, and in the future you might have to repeat these steps to prevent future grudges.

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