Resentment. This is an emotion I see in almost all of my clients, whether they be the one who was betrayed or the one who did the betraying. While it is a common emotion that many of us struggle with, it can be deadly if left unchecked.
In this episode, I’ll cover where resentment comes from and why it can be so tempting to hold on to it. You will hear real life examples of clients I work with who are grappling with this and seeing how it is keeping them from moving forward.
You will also learn what to do with this powerful emotion. Listen to learn how to cut through resentment and turn it into something much more useful and sustainable.
To learn more from me, be sure to get on my email list here.
I’m Andrea Giles, and you’re listening to the Heal from Infidelity Podcast,
episode number 103, Breaking Free from Resentment.
Hello and welcome to the Heal from Infidelity Podcast where courageous
women learn not only to heal from their spouse’s betrayal, but to become
the boldest, truest, most decisive and confident versions of themselves
ever. If you know there’s more for you than the life you’re currently
living, but don’t quite know how to get there, you are in the right place.
Stick around to learn how to create a life that will knock your own socks
off. Is it possible? It is, and I’m here to show you how. I’m your host,
Andrea Giles. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Hello everybody. Welcome. Welcome to the podcast. I’ve got some great stuff
that we’re diving into today. Before I do, I will just say that this last
week I started meeting with my new Know in 90 group, and it has just been
wonderful. I’m just so excited for this new group. I just love all the
people that come. It’s so fun for me to wonder who is coming, who I get to
love on, who I get to teach, who I get to coach, and it’s just a joy. So
those of you who are listening who are in my new group, I’m so glad you’re
there. And for those of you who are interested in working with me in the
future in the group, just keep listening and I’ll let you know when that
becomes available again. Okay, so today we’re going to talk about
resentment. Resentment can be a beast.
It can feel really terrible, really heavy. Sometimes can feel like a heavy
bag that we’re carrying around, and sometimes it feels like it’s going to
sear you, burn you straight through. It can be heavy. Okay? I decided to
focus a whole episode on resentment because I’m seeing a lot of it in my
clients and I want to help you navigate it. I see it in myself sometimes
too, and it feels awful. Okay? What is resentment? So the queen of
emotions, miss Brene Brown defines resentment in this way. Resentment is
the feeling of frustration, judgment, anger, better than and, or hidden
envy related to perceived unfairness or injustice. It’s an emotion that we
often experience when we fail to set boundaries or ask for what we need or
when expectations let us down because they’re based on things we can’t
control, like what other people think, what they feel, or how they’re going
Okay, so today we are going to dive deep into this. Okay? So rather than
going through this than a boring lecture style of what to do with
resentment, I want to have some real talk with you of real clients and how
resentment rears its head and the destruction that it can cause. Okay?
Infidelity, as you probably know if you’re listening, can be massive
breeding grounds for resentment. You may think that I mean from the person
who was cheated on toward the person who cheated, but that is not correct.
I see it coming from both sides. Now, to honor the privacy of my clients,
I’m going to change some details for some of the scenarios I’m about to
share. But these are based on real situations, real clients. Client number
one is a woman who feels very burned by her husband’s choice to step
outside the marriage.
She resents that she is hurting and blames it on him. She resents that he
could go out and seemingly have himself a merry little time while she is
being the responsible faithful one. She resents that she has to work so
hard to heal while he doesn’t seem to be doing enough. But going back to
Brene Brown’s definition, what is really going on here? She is thinking
that he wins and she loses. He broke their promises to each other to have
what he wanted, and she is stuck with what she doesn’t want, and she fears
that she will never get what she wants. This same person knows that she
doesn’t like many things about the current situation. She knows that she is
asking for crumbs. She wants so much more, but she’s afraid that if she
really speaks up, he will think she is too much and leave her.
She so mutes and downplays what she wants, that she often even hides it
from herself because it feels too painful to really look at. She thinks,
what’s the point? What’s the point of even going there? I probably won’t
ever get it. And then she often resents him for it. She looks at him and
resents him because it sounds like he gets to have his cake and eat it too.
He went and had his fun at my expense. Now there’s this huge mess to clean
up, and I am still here, cleaning up the mess. Okay? Now let’s look at her
husband. Okay. Like I said, I am speaking from real life examples here. I
work in my one-on-one practice with both men and women. In general, I work
with women whose partner or spouse has been unfaithful, but more men are
wanting to work with me to become the better version of themselves that
doesn’t need to step outside their marriage ever again. Okay?
So I’ve been working with men and hearing some of their thoughts and some
of their struggles, and it’s been really eye-opening and fascinating to me
to understand the minds of both partners. So back to the scenario. The
husband in the picture is sincerely remorseful. He hates what he has done
to his wife that he loves. He feels a great deal of shame around it and
wonders what is wrong with him. He is open and willing to do what it takes
to fix the marriage. He sincerely tries to communicate with his wife, but
almost every time they talk, it turns into a fight. It’s like a ticking
time bomb. When will something I say blow this bomb up? Cause some kind of
reaction. He starts to learn that if he says how he really feels and it is
not what she wants to hear, she will argue with him and tell him how
selfish she is being, how he is not validating her, et cetera.
It can get very messy very quick at this point, and it’s easy to see why
people just throw up their hands in despair and call it quits. Okay? What
becomes more and more evident is that he loves his wife, but he also
resents her. He does not blame her for the infidelity. He knows that those
choices were his own. But he begins to see that before the infidelity
happened, there were big parts of him that he felt were unacceptable to
her, and he feared that letting her really see those parts would cause her
to react or to shut down or to dismiss, or that she was too busy to hear
about those parts, to really pay attention to him. Too busy raising the
kids and volunteering and working and all the things. So while he wishes he
did some big things differently, he recognizes and he can see that he
resented her before the infidelity and now he is resenting her because he
still feels like he doesn’t really have grounds to ask for anything since
he hurt his wife and their marriage so much.
He doesn’t feel like he is allowed to have things he needs or wants. And
when he is brave and says something he wants, he may be met with contempt
or feel dismissed, and the resentment builds and round and round we go.
Okay. Now of course there’s going to be lots of different variations of
this scenario, but where does it apply for you? Unless something changes in
this example above, this marriage will most likely not make it, and it’s
not because of the infidelity. It’s because they’ve come to so deeply
resent each other and get into a gridlock to where they both believe that
the only way out is to get a divorce. Neither of them feel like they can
have what they want. Neither of them feel safe asking for what they want,
and neither of them are really advocating and owning what they want.
My friends, there is a way through this. There is a way through this, and
that is what I want to spend the rest of this episode focusing on. First of
all, how do we know if it’s resentment we are feeling or if it’s something
else? One way to spot resentment is by looking at what we need or what we
think that we want that someone else has that we think we can’t have. Okay?
So for example, if your husband comes home from work and sits down for a
little bit to rest, maybe scrolling through his phone, maybe he’s watching
something and you also just got home and you feel pressure to make dinner,
to hang with the kids, you may resent him because you too would like to
rest, but you think that you can’t and then you blame it on him. Okay? You
too would like a little downtime.
He can have it, but I can’t, is your thought. Ding, ding, ding. There’s
some resentment. Okay? That’s where you’re going to notice it. Where else
does it show up? He doesn’t have to be worried about me being on my phone,
but I have to watch him like a hawk and I resent him for it. I never wanted
this job. I have to pay to help myself because of what he did. I have to
pay for therapy. I have to pay for coaching, and he’s not helping himself
at all, and I resent him for it. Now, while that may make sense to have
those thoughts, it is not useful. It will not help you get where you are
going. In fact, it will get you nowhere fast. Okay? So what else is
available here? Why can’t you have it? Why can he have it and you not?
Okay? So I’m going to give you a few pointers here of how to navigate this.
Instead of judging someone and thinking they are doing it wrong or wishing
that they would be doing something else instead, it is far more productive
to ask, what do I need that I am afraid to ask for? So for example, you can
be mad that your husband came home and parks it on the couch and be like,
what the heck? Why does he get to do that and I can’t? And we might judge
them for it and think that it’s messed up and think that they’re wrong,
when in reality it’s not that we’re judging what they’re doing. It’s more
that we think that we can’t do the same. It’s more that we’re thinking that
one of you gets that advantage and one of you does not. Okay? So it’s far
more productive to ask yourself, what do I need that I’m afraid to ask for?
This moves you from playing the role of someone helpless to her
circumstances to taking full ownership and emotionally handling any real or
perceived backlash you may get for honoring what you want. So for example,
if the woman wants to rest a little bit after work, she can boldly say to
her husband, hey, can we trade off nights where we make dinner? I would
really like to rest after work. I need it too. Or maybe we can get the kids
to watch a show or do some kind of activity for 30 minutes when we both get
home so we can both give ourself a little bit of time and then we can both
jump in and take care of dinner and kids and chores and all of that
together, and bedtime and all the things. Okay? All right, next example.
You can resent him because you are paying to get help and why isn’t he?
Or you can own that you actually want him to help pay for it. Maybe you
want him to pay for all of it, okay? You can have a conversation. Instead
of saying, I want this help and I have to pay for it now, I didn’t need
this before and now I do. You can go and say, I want this help. This is
what I think is best for me. This is how much it costs. I’d like you to pay
for it, or I’d like you to pay for half, whatever. Okay? If that is not an
option, another option that will help you get out of resentment is really
owning your choice. You don’t have to have the help. Right? You’re all very
capable. You’re all resourceful, okay? It’s more that you want it, that you
think it’s best for you, that you think that it will help you move forward.
You are owning it. You’re owning that the benefit of spending the money is
going to actually get you where you want to go, and you’re owning that
whole experience, and you’re probably going to get more out of it if you
own it, rather than thinking that I have to do this because he made these
choices and now I’m stuck with this. You’re going to get more out of it if
you own it and really want to be there. Okay? Now, another big way that
resentment rears its ugly head is when we do things for others that they
can do for themselves, when we take on more responsibility than what is
actually ours. Okay. So let’s go back to my male clients that I’m talking
about, okay? It’s just too easy to blame everything on them. They did this
big bad thing. So now I can by default just make all the problems that ever
were or ever will be his fault because of this thing he did. And probably
my best friend and my mother and my sister will back me up.
Okay? Here’s the truth, my friends, he likely feels the sting of his
choice. He likely knows he majorly messed up. He likely knows that he
caused a lot of pain. He hates it. He feels shame about it. But he also
knows deep down that there are things that he has felt hurt by. But now he
doesn’t feel like he can share any of them because of the hurt that he
caused. He takes all the responsibility for every problem that ever was,
okay? This also is not healthy because it just isn’t real, and it’s the
breeding grounds for resentment. He also has wants and needs. You both do.
He doesn’t feel allowed to speak up though. He feels fully responsible for
what kind of day you are having. If you’re having a bad day, he is making
himself responsible for that when in reality we are in charge of our own
emotions, they are ours still, not theirs. They are ours.
And while it can be very tempting to hand that over and say, you caused all
this havoc, so now I need you to do all of these things to make me feel
better, and you don’t really get a vote here, right? That’s easy to
understand, but again, it’s not going to get you where you need to go. If
you are in this kind of gridlock where it’s like you don’t get to defend
yourself, you don’t get to say anything back to what I say, because you did
this big bad thing, it’s going to create problems that you don’t actually
want. In the short term, it might feel good, it might feel like you have a
little bit of power and control. In the long term though, it’s not going to
get you the relationship that you want. If we don’t learn to own our own
stuff, while healthily giving back to the other person what is actually not
ours to carry, like their choice to step outside the marriage, it’s not
ours, we can just get stuck in a downward spiral of resentment.
Okay. So my friends, when you start to feel resentment creep in, I want you
to check in with yourself with these questions. What do I need that I do
not think I can have or ask for? Why don’t I think I can have them? If I
did believe that I could, what would I ask for? What am I afraid of asking
for? What am I thinking is going to happen? What am I doing for someone
else that they can do for themselves? It is far better to let the people
around you feel the discomfort of their own growth in stepping up their
game in honesty than you doing it for them and resenting them for it. Okay?
So if you’re doing things for other people that you really don’t actually
want to do and you’re trying to avoid the conflict, the confrontation,
whatever, of really saying, I don’t want to do this anymore, I want you to
do it, and then they’re uncomfortable, and then you’re uncomfortable
because they’re uncomfortable, would you rather keep doing it and feel
resentment towards them and honestly thwart their growth?
Or would you rather let them have their own growth, take responsibility for
their own growth, and learn to be somebody who owns their own stuff and
takes responsibility for their own stuff, right? We’re looking at the long
game here. What do I want and not want to do? Honesty, responsibility. It’s
your life. Ask for what you want. Own what you want. Okay? Would you rather
grow a new marriage that is about one being morally superior to the other
and then having both parties resenting each other? Or would you rather
build one where you are truly equals? Where each owns where they
contributed to some of the issues that created a system where infidelity
happens? Okay? Would you rather build one where you’re equals, where you
each own what is yours fully? But there is so much honesty that resentment
just isn’t a thing. There might be discomfort, there might be moments of
conflict, but resentment isn’t there. Where each one owns what they want
and need and makes it happen.
So a quick example that happened this very day for me is I used to have a
cleaning service that would come and help out every other week. As you
know, I have lots of kids, lots of people coming and going all the time. We
have 12 children, three grandchildren. Some of our adult children live
locally. Two of our grandchildren live local. They’re about an hour away.
We have six kids that live at home, five of them are teenagers. And if any
of you listening have teenagers, oh my gosh, are they messy, right? Holy
smokes, are they messy? And they all have chores. They all have things that
they do, but even still, I just never really feel like my house top to
bottom is just clean. And I had this cleaning service and they became short
staffed, this and that. And so I lost the service and haven’t had anything
like that for several months.
I own my own business. I work a lot. I have a baby that’s almost a year
old, busy husband, all the things. And I have noticed myself feeling
resentful at my family that they’re not more helpful. Come on, get it
together. Come on, you can do more. And I decided that I can ask for the
things that I want. I can hold that line and have consequences when people
don’t follow through with the standard of what kind of standard I want in
my home. But I can also support myself. I can honor the things that I want
and I can make myself worthy of those things and just make it happen. I
don’t have to excuse it. I don’t have to have a good enough reason. And so
this very day, I had a new cleaning service owner come and give me a bid
and we’re going to start up again.
It’s been several months. I’m starting up again and I’m taking
responsibility for that. It’s something that I want, and I can coach an
extra client. I can do different things to help pay for it. It’s something
that I want, so I’m making it happen. It feels a whole lot better than
sitting here resenting my family for being messy. Right? So I’m looking at
the long game going, okay, relationships. The relationships matter a lot
more than being right. So yeah, my family, we can enforce the rules, we can
enforce all of that, and I can also support myself at a higher level. We
all can win. Okay? So my friends, what do you really want? It may
temporarily seem like a good idea to want him to grovel, to be your
personal yes man, but is that really what you want long term? My listeners
who were unfaithful, do you want to be the yes man at your own expense in
muting how you feel?
Muting what you want? This is the time to be more honest than you ever have
been. It takes a tremendous amount of courage because we always risk
rejection. Someone saying no can feel very scary. If somebody says, no,
actually, I don’t want to do that. But think about this. Scan out to the
long game. Would you rather have a marriage that is based on real and
honest truth, even if sometimes painful or one that is propped up on
half-truths and resentment and contempt and bitterness and things that end
unhappily? Would you rather feel some honest discomfort now? Honesty in the
name of building something real, like really real that you know is real? Or
would you rather just put a Band-Aid and patch up the things that you want
and need and cover them up and think, oh, I have to do this, or I can’t
really have what I want, and then have to deal with it later?
One way or other, sometime you’re going to have to deal with it, okay? It’s
either going to blow up into something messy or it’s going to be
uncomfortable now, as you learn to be the person that advocates for
yourself, okay? Do it now. Courage, courage, courage. Speak up. Ask for
what you want. All right? You can do this. It cuts through resentment.
Resentment does not feel good. There’s something that feels so much better,
and that is showing up for yourself, speaking up for yourself, asking for
what you want, giving other people responsibility for things that you don’t
want, and moving forward, actually living in the creation of the life that
you want today. All right, my beautiful friends, thank you for being here.
Always a pleasure. I will see you next time. Bye.
Thank you for listening to the Heal From Infidelity Podcast. If you would
like to be kept in the know about upcoming free classes, new podcast
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