Being worn down by a lifetime of resentment: complication - it's not me
July 12, 2014 2:38 PM Subscribe
How do you help someone get beyond their resentment of the slights, perceived and actual, against them?
posted by filthy light thief to Human Relations (19 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I have a relative who is a martyr, putting everyone ahead of herself, but now that she has been retired for a number of years, her children are all grown up, and her mother passed away, she has no one to take care of other than herself.
Taking care of others helped her hide her resentments, but she has collected them for most of her life. She still brings up that her husband didn't book a hotel for their first night as a couple, when they were planning a road trip, so they had to find some second-rate place. She even brings up the fact that a long-dead relative didn't thank her for setting up a nice birthday bash.
I know I cannot directly change her, because the only person I can really change is me, but is there any way I can support her and give her tools or guidance to help her come to terms with these grievances? I want her to be happy (or at least happier), but she has so much attachment to the past that she is having trouble moving ahead, with relationships and with her own life.
A complication to this is that she has come to terms with the fact that she has let others make decisions for her, under the guise of "going along" with people to avoid creating a fuss, but she hasn't found a balance between letting others decide and getting angry at what she sees as selfish decisions made by others.