After having a child, our lives and identities alter dramatically. We discover that our roles and duties shift as a result of these developments. Communication with your partner is crucial during this new time with your new bundle of joy since emotions are running high and sleep is at an all-time low. You can quickly fall into bitterness toward your partner if you don’t communicate effectively.
I’ll never forget when my husband, Bryan, returned to work after I gave birth to our son, Milo. Milo and I used to have a great time together during the day. We’d listen to lullaby renditions of today’s hit tunes, conduct tummy time, eat, change, swing in the bouncing swing, and repeat the cycle. When Bryan began attending in-person meetings rather to only Zoom sessions, I discovered I was feeling something I had never felt towards him before. It seemed as though my emotions had been clumped together and poured into a puddle of sticky black tar. My emotions were becoming engulfed by the stickiness of this odd, new sensation.
I enjoyed spending time with Milo, but I missed the social engagement that came with having coworkers. I missed seeing and spending time with other grownups. I felt alienated, much like I did in the year 2020. Things began to feel strangely similar now that I was a mother. When I thought about it, the tar in which my ball of emotions was caught symbolized the complex sense of resentment. Even though I didn’t want to be anywhere else but with Milo, I felt hatred toward Bryan for returning to work.
How to Deal with Resentful Feelings Toward Your Partner
If we do not reflect, resentment can develop from one point in our lives to the next and be carried out on others. When we dive deep and analyses this sense of resentment and all of its numerous components, it can appear as a mess of feelings mingled and clumped together. It’s not easy to untangle that tangle of emotions and comprehend them. Recognizing the greater feelings that cause resentment, on the other hand, can assist us in identifying the buried emotions beneath the large sensations.
Living the no-sleep, new-parent lifestyle requires a lot of adjustment. It’s difficult to put your finger on how you’re feeling. As a result, I’d like to normalize feelings of rage, solitude, sadness, grief, and any other emotions you might experience as a new parent. When these sensations are combined, they might lead to some difficult situations and even more feelings to add to the feelings ball. There is, however, a remedy to this! The solution isn’t magical, and it will take some time to master. However, that is certainly feasible.
1. Recognize how you’re feeling.
Identifying the tangled emotions we’ve accumulated is a crucial aspect of the problem. Knowing what triggers you and discussing with your spouse can help you avoid negative emotions. It’s incredible if you can do it in real time. The majority of us aren’t quite there yet, and that’s perfectly fine!
Keeping a record of your feelings can help you focus on what you want to say to your partner. Writing down your ideas and feelings can also help you see them more clearly. When we look at them, we may sometimes see what is rational and what is irrational. You can begin to imagine ways to inform your spouse what’s going on after you see your thoughts on paper and gain a better understanding of them.
2. Have a Discussion
You might use your written thoughts as a guide for what to say to your partner. You can also use it as a personal checklist. After discussing with your partner, you can cross off the items on your list and then reflect on your ideas and feelings.
The usage of a “I-Statement” is a sure-fire approach to help convey your feelings to your partner. When you make an I-Statement, you talk about how you’re feeling in a non-judgmental way. “I feel when because ,” for example. This may appear simple. This is, nonetheless, an excellent method of communicating your requirements. It’s also a method of resolving conflict, sometimes even before it arises. We tell kids to do this with their feelings all the time. As adults, we can do it as well!
As a therapist, one of the most prevalent subjects I discuss is boundaries. Boundaries can be thought of as a restriction that keeps your emotions in check. Boundaries allow you to be emotionally available to others while also allowing you to stop when you feel too vulnerable. When you’re upset by anything someone did, thinking about what disturbed you is a good place to start. Creating a nice boundary for yourself by using contemplation and then articulating a resolve is a fantastic way to start.
When you’re feeling resentful of your partner, you can set a boundary by using an I-Statement and then enabling your partner to answer freely and honestly. Using effective listening skills (such as active listening) and showing respect for your partners’ perspectives contribute to the development of stronger boundaries that enable you to reflect and respond. Resentment will begin to fade as you establish honest and respectful limits with one another.
4. Integrity is a top priority
Why keep things hidden when you know they’ll eventually come out? Resentment can exacerbate a difficult-to-understand emotion. It can occasionally manifest itself in the form of fury or another heightened emotion at an inopportune time. When we are open and honest about our feelings and set limits, we create a respectful environment in which resentment has no place. Don’t give in to resentment. And this is especially true when you have the option of helping yourself and your spouse by being honest and setting clear boundaries.
After such a life-changing event as having a baby, it’s natural to feel animosity against your partner. As parents and spouses, you’re both fighting to discover a new normal. Give each other grace and make room for each other. Before resentment can take root, make sure you understand how you feel, why you feel it, and how to successfully communicate your feelings with your partner.