With Mothers day recently being celebrated here in Australia, I was reminded of how so many mothers admit to holding resentment towards their family, husband or marriage … and how incredibly unhelpful this toxic emotion is for us all.
Resentment is destructive emotion in any relationship; it can create an ever-widening divide that like a cancer that keeps on growing, until the marriage ends or a partner leaves. For a mother though, resentment is even more dangerous though, as she can pass this onto her children unknowingly.
What is resentment?
The dictionary define resentment as bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly. My personal definition is slightly more broad as I believe; resentment represents all the times we didn’t speak up for ourselves.
All the times we didnt say “no, that’s not ok for me. No I can’t do that / help you with that right now as Im already over-committed” and so on.
You see I don’t believe that as adults, we can’t ever blame another person for treating us poorly. As adults, it is our responsibility (as fully functioning people) to communicate our personal boundaries calmly and clearly.
Another person can never fully know what we are comfortable or uncomfortable with, therefore it isn’t their job to manage this! That means we need to take responsibilty to communicate with our own voice, then take appropriate action so that are living true to ourselves and our feelings.
The link between resentment + self-care
If each of us can understand how resentment about another’s attitude or treatment of us, is really a just a feeling of violating our PERSONAL BOUNDARIES, we can start to reclaim this ground within ourselves.
In my self-care teachings, I talk about the foundations of emotional self-care and this includes the ability to put ourselves first. You see when we violate ourselves to please or placate another – our husband, our friends, our family – even if only in small ways – we are NOT valuing ourselves, loving ourselves or being true to who we really are.
In addition, as we blame another and build up feelings of resentment toward them, we begin to give our power away by saying “they did this to me”.
Blame is really just a transference of power – one which does NOT empower us.
Instead it only weakens and devalues who we really are, and what we really feel.
Imagine if instead of blaming or resenting others, we each had insight into what is happening in our own mind and body, at any time. Just like following our intuition. Enter the concept of self-awareness.
You have surely experienced a moment in life when something inside if you screamed loudly NO, yet you chose to ignore it and push on despite a horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach… this is that exact moment when we are violate ourselves, through not putting ourselves (and our true feelings) first.
The reasons for allowing violation of our emotional self can be long and varied, but the solution is simple – to notice and acknowledge moments when we are unsure, when there is discomfort or unease about a situation BEFORE proceeding with it. In this way we prevent resentment from building-up, by honouring what is RIGHT and true for ourselves in that a moment.
Through growing our self awareness, we also gain the opportunity to notice a feeling of unease and dig deeper into the emotions that sit underneath it… This can lead to all kinds of interesting realisations such as “I’m angry at myself for taking on too much lately”.
Over time, this kind of self-awareness makes it easier to release resentment, instead of directing blame at others. It is freeing to remember that we are the ones who are truly in the drivers seat. And when we get to that place, it feels incredibly freeing.
disclaimer: I do need to be frank and honest with you here.
Living from a place of such truth, as we learn to put ourselves first can sometime be rather uncomfortable!
It can mean saying “no” to a friend when we really want to say “yes”, and worrying about hurting the feelings of someone who you care about or respect.
But I truly believe that until we learn to say no, we are only continuing to do ourselves a dis-service. Besides, what kind of friend would want us to knowingly dis-honour ourselves for them ??
If you are interested in learning more about the art of emotional self-care, you can join me at my upcoming self-care retreat for mothers where we will explore all of this in a more personal and empowering way.
I am also available for personal coaching + therapy sessions in Brisbane or online, you can learn more about working with me here.
Here’s to each of us living with more enjoyment, empowerment and alignment with our own truth on all things, so we can be more authentic, heart centered parents.
About the author
Bree Taylor Molyneaux is a Brisbane based women’s self-care + happiness coach specialising in fertility, pregnancy + birth, motherhood + beyond. She is trained a HypnoBirthing® practitioner + personal renewal facilitator with is passion for helping women bring more self-care into daily life.