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Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in
Chicago, Illinois and Northfield, Illinois.

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How to Let Go of the Resentments
You Hold in Your Relationships

by Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D.

It’s inevitable that resentments will develop in any of your relationships. When resentments do develop, it’s likely that you become more and more focused on your partner’s short-comings and less and less focused on the qualities that you like about your partner. Unfortunately, focusing on your partner’s faults only serves to intensify the feelings of resentments and hostility that exist between you and your partner.

Once your resentments take control of you and your relationship, there’s little that your partner can do, say, or change to make the situation better. For, instead of focusing on your partner’s efforts at changing their behavior or improving the relationship, you become focused on what your partner is doing wrong without acknowledging what your partner is doing right. This serves only as an invitation for your partner to return the favor in kind, all the while perpetuating the cycle of resentment until the cycle spirals downward, out of control until neither you nor your partner feels accepted, appreciated, or even liked by the other.

In order for the hostility to go away, you need to do more than just count on your partner to make things better for you. You need to let go of your resentments. In order to let go of your resentments, you need to: 1.) Create an atmosphere of emotional safety,
2.) Take personal responsibility for your actions, and 3.) Express to your partner a spirit of acceptance and appreciation. Below are some suggestions to follow in order for you let go of your resentments.

Bridge Builder’s Checklist

1.) In order to create an emotional climate in which you and your partner feel safe to discuss the concerns that the two of you have about each other, try the following steps:
a.) Don’t blame each other.
b.) Don’t shame each other.
c.) Don’t threaten each other emotionally or physically.
d.) Don’t issue ultimatums.
e.) Don’t judge each other.
f.) Don’t criticize each other’s personality.

2.) In order to create an emotional climate that is strongly influenced by each of you taking personal responsibility for one’s own actions, use the following questions as a helpful guideline:
a.) What are you specifically doing to improve your relationship?
b.) What are the specific actions that you’re taking to address the concerns of your partner?
c.) What are you holding back that you need to discuss with your partner?
d.) What actions do you need to take that you are resistant to taking?

3.) To create an atmosphere in which your partner feels accepted and appreciated try the following steps:
a.) Become aware of what your partner is doing to address your concerns.
b.) Acknowledge to your partner your awareness of the steps that your partner has taken to address your expressed concerns.
c.) Express your appreciation of the concrete action your partner has taken to address your expressed concerns.

For more information about how to let go of your resentments in your relationships, read Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. free online books, Making Molehills Out of Mountains and Building Better Bridges: Creating Great Relationships With the People Who Matter Most.



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