Resentments, who do they really effect?
Annoyed with a friend? Fed up with a co-worker? What about your honey bunny? Want to scream when he/she enters the room? Then you have probably set yourself up for some resentment. I know, you are screaming at the screen, “I did not set this up!!” but you did, read further and I will explain how.
The Unconscious Deal
I have found that when resentment rears its head, most people have been setting themselves up for it. You may be saying to yourself right now “I did not ask for this!” Oh, but you did. People tend to create lots of unconscious “deals” with the people around them. These “deals” are expectations of what they think they are owed in exchange for certain things.
Most of the time, you may not even know you’ve made unconscious deals until you are angry or resentful.
Take Jamie. She loves her boyfriend, John. He’s a great guy and loves going to basketball games. Jamie goes with him and has a great attitude at the games. Jamie talks to John’s friends, knocks back beers and never says a word about how she’d love to have a romantic dinner date somewhere instead of always doing what John likes. Jamie keeps their apartment tidy, endlessly picking up his dirty underwear, and cooking dinner almost every night. Jamie thinks that this has earned her a gold star in the girlfriend department. Somewhere in her brain, she thinks this secures her role as best girlfriend forever. She thinks that the more she capitulates to John’s needs, the more he will appreciate her and feel obligated to stay with her. Then John decides to move on with another girl by summer’s end.
When this happens, Jamie goes berserk! Beside herself with anger, she can’t sleep. She easily bursts to tears. She’s obsessed with the unfairness of this! She thought that if she was so great to her boyfriend, he would appreciate her and stay committed to her. This is how Jamie set herself up.
Whenever you bend over backward for someone — while putting your own needs, wants and desires aside — you will eventually become resentful.
John knew nothing about this “deal.” In fact, he would have appreciated knowing what she wanted and what she was feeling. Maybe he would have enjoyed a quiet night out.
Does this sound familiar? “My husband had the nerve to not plan an anniversary date after all the trouble I went to for his freakin’ birthday party last year?!” This is an unconscious deal that you have set up and your spouse knew nothing of it.
Or, “I have been clipping my neighbor’s hedges for years now, and he can’t even take in my papers when I am out of town?!” Another example of how we unconsciously make “deals” with others in relationships. Did you ask your neighbor if they were willing to sign up for bringing in your mail for exchange for trimming the bushes?
There are lots of unconscious deals here that both parties haven’t agreed to. Ask yourself:
- Is there something you are doing for someone else that you are starting to feel resentful about?
- What could you be expecting from them in return?
Being upfront with someone about your limits before you get annoyed is respectful for both parties.