Feeling resentful? For women in abusive relationships, resentment is a common experience. It comes from an imbalance of responsibility. Your partner leaves responsibility to you for things that should be his. You take up the responsibility because you want the relationship to work. But your efforts don’t change things. More responsibility gets placed on your shoulders, and you find yourself feeling resentful more and more often. Does this sound familiar? Read on to discover exactly what this looked like in my second marriage.
My cell rings and I pick up . . .
“Have you heard from him?”
“Did he say he’s going to kill himself?”
“Did you call the police?”
“Because – I don’t CARE!”
Angrily now: “You need to call the police!”
“You can call . . . ”
“If I call they may not respond. You are his wife! YOU need to call the police!”
I dial 911. I tell the story.
This morning my husband accused me of having an affair and I responded by pointing out that I don’t have time for an affair and if he really thinks that about me, then he doesn’t know me. I asked him if he was having an affair – to which he said “no.” I responded by saying:
Then, I left to go to a meeting.
Later, he calls me and says I don’t need to worry about him any more, that I’m a “really good gal” and that I “deserve to be happy.” I want to know when he’s going to get his shit out of my house.
“I’m not going to need that stuff any more.”
“Oh, really? You going to off yourself?”
“I’m not telling you that.”
“Great! Have fun with that.”
No. I don’t know where he is.
*Sigh* Fine. Yes, I’ll be home later this afternoon so the coroner can come to help me fill out a missing person report.
“He has a scar here from an auto accident with a compound fracture . . . and here from open heart surgery last year . . . and here . . . “
Healthy is sharing the burden of responsibility for making decisions
and sharing the consequences for every joint relationship decision.
What happens when decisions and the consequences for those decisions aren’t shared?
You get to know resentment really, really well. Until, ultimately – you just. don’t. care.
Mind you – this was five years in with this man. There had been plenty of decisions he made that left me with the consequences of his choices.
The first one happened about two months in. He lived and worked in San Diego when we met. I owned a home and he had been in an apartment. He moved in with me after our wedding and proceeded to drive 112 miles each way. Every day.
**I know you probably already see the red flag in the house/apartment scenario. I’ll tell you that we married after less than a year of knowing each other (a function of an unhealthy Church Social Culture and it’s teachings.) I have plenty to say about that. But, not today. 🙂
Anyone driving from Riverside, San Bernardino or Los Angeles counties has to share the same road with everyone else from those counties to get there. That means that the 112-mile trip often takes four hours to drive.
Yup! He was doing 16-hour days between his commute and his job.
Believing that wasn’t a sensible long-term plan, I tried to talk to him about it.
“I didn’t marry you for you to be gone 16 hours every day for work.”
All he said was: “ok.” Nothing else.
He came home from work the next day and proudly announced that He Had QUIT His JOB!!!
No joint decision making
***He Just Quit***
That’s when I should have sent him home to his Mamma. He never went looking to find a new job. I finally insisted that he go and join the Electrician’s Labor Union and they did put him to work just in time for him to need open heart surgery. That was followed by a year of recovery/disability and his deep, ugly depression. All while I carried the responsibility of keeping us financially afloat. The labor union should have worked out. They, in fact, saved his life!
But, when it was time to go back to work, he proclaimed that he hated Labor Unions and quit them, too!
Now, who’s holding the bag?
Needless to say, I wasn’t going to let his “decision” to off himself be something that left me holding the bag this time. AND, I wasn’t going to let it be his successful guise for crawling back into my life.
And once he had his “secret meeting” where only that guy who insisted I call the police could “come alone” – oh yeah – and after helicopters used his cell phone signal to identify his location and go find him, they were able to successfully “talk him down.” Go figure, he didn’t off himself.
I hope this illustration helped you understand where it’s coming from if you’re finding yourself feeling resentful in your relationship. If you are ready to take the next step, learn what it takes to create a healthy relationship and claim the healthy love you deserve?
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© Tamara Bess, LMFT 2016 All Rights Reserved. Any use of this article without Tamara’s express written permission is prohibited.