How to deal with toxic resentment in marriage: 7 practical steps

4. Be sensitive to its triggers

When we address our partner with a complaint or request about our needs, one of the most common responses is defensiveness or diversion.

Is it because I’m an idiot?

Look, I’m sure it’s possible. But in the vast majority of relationships there is a much more compassionate reason:

They are shot.

Something you have said has brought to light his insecurities and unresolved emotional wounds.

If you make a request that you would like to spend more time together, they will hear:

“You’re not doing enough. You’re a failure.”

When you tell them you feel unhappy in your marriage, they hear:

“You don’t make me happy because you’re not good enough for me.”

That is why resentment generates resentment. When you try to communicate about your injuries, it hurts your partner. They react, which hurts you more. It is a toxic cycle that can be difficult to break.

But if you can notice when your partner is on the defensive and responds with empathy, reassuring their triggers and insecurities, you are preparing for a much more productive conversation.

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