Letting Go of Resentment
we get angry
and tension are bound to arise when we live with someone. The
key to a successful relationship is learning to express our feelings
and resolve such conflicts, and most of us develop our own ways
of coping with these minor frustrations.
however, overwhelming feelings of anger can consume us. These
may be caused by a single major event, such as the discovery of
an affair, or can be the result of something that leaves us feeling
let down on a regular basis, such as lack of attention.
Causes of anger
Some situations are more likely to leave us struggling with
strong feelings of anger than others.
a shock - when a partner does something unexpected it can
take a long time for feelings of anger to recede. You may also
feel confused and betrayed.
deliberate - it's much easier to let go of anger when the
person who caused it never meant it to happen in the first place.
If it was done deliberately or maliciously it's much harder to
happened before - if someone repeatedly hurts or frustrates
us, anger often builds up. You may also feel powerless and exhausted.
vulnerable - at certain times in our lives, during pregnancy
or illness for example, we expect more of our partners and can
feel particularly let down by them.
brings back memories - if we've been hurt in the past, we're
more likely to react badly to a similar event later in life. Often
the old hurt is reignited, doubling the amount of anger.
not sorry - if a partner refuses to accept they were responsible
for the hurt or that you've even got a right to feel aggrieved,
it can be difficult to let go of such feelings.
The impact on a relationship
Ongoing anger causes serious damage to relationships. For
some couples it can mean almost daily arguments; others are better
at suppressing the anger, but this nearly always means other feelings
are suppressed too. If discussing the problem seems too difficult,
but talking about something else seems too trivial, conversation
can cease completely.
anger often leads to physical distance and sexual problems. For
some couples, the event that caused the anger might become less
important, but the rift it caused may be impossible to bridge.
The impact on our health
When we get angry, our bodies automatically go into 'flight
or fight' mode and are flooded with chemicals that put us on high
alert. The heart rate and breathing quickens, muscles become tense
and senses become heightened.
of high alert is perfectly natural - but only for short periods.
Living with permanent feelings of anger means the body is forced
to stay in this acute state, which in time can lead to high blood
pressure, headaches, stomach problems and a lowered immune system.
The impact on our emotions
When we're angry about someone's actions, we can become trapped
in the past, replaying the event or events over and over again
in our minds.
also imagine or even seek out opportunities for revenge. This
can help to increase feelings of power and control in a relationship,
but offers only temporary relief.
damage self-esteem too. Many of us are taught that anger is wrong,
so you may feel bad about your feelings, even if they're justified.
Or you may try to excuse the other person's actions and decide
that you in some way deserved what happened. When anger is turned
inwards in this way it often leads to depression.
Learning to let go
Choosing to let go of anger is something only you can do for
yourself, not for your partner. It's never a guarantee that the
relationship will improve, but it's a guarantee that - in time
- you'll start feeling better.
to remind yourself that you're not necessarily letting your partner
off the hook or forgetting what happened. You're letting go of
the anger for your benefit, no one else's.
process has started, you may feel clearer about what you want
to do about your relationship. You may have renewed energy to
work at it, or you might decide that too much has happened and
it's time to call it a day.
pretending that letting go of anger is quick or easy, but as you
gradually feel the resentment slipping away you'll find it easier
to enjoy other aspects of your life and begin to see the future
in a new light.