Ep #175: Resentment: The Secret Poison in Relationships

Real World Peaceful Parenting with Lisa Smith | Resentment: The Secret Poison in Relationships

Have you ever noticed your child or teen harboring feelings of resentment? Whether it’s towards siblings, friends, or situations they perceive as unfair, resentment is a heavy burden to carry at any age. 

As parents, I know you find it difficult to manage, accept, and parent resentment when it shows up. Many of us have no idea what to do with it. Resentment is a complex mix of emotions, and it poisons our minds and relationships when left unchecked. So, how do we let go of it, and how can we act as a guide in showing our kids the power of releasing grudges and embracing inner peace?

Listen in this week to learn why you must not let resentment fester, and my four-step process for releasing resentment. To help you better understand the complexities of resentment and its impact, I’m sharing two real-life scenarios of how resentment can show up, and how you can begin modeling harmony and peace instead.

If you’re ready to imagine parenting with ease, I invite you to sign up for my free Yell Less workshop. This is where I’ll be breaking down the three simple steps to saying goodbye to yelling forever, and I hope to see you there.

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What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • The problem with harboring feelings of resentment.
  • 2 real-life scenarios that offer insights into the emotional landscape and impact of resentment.
  • How even children can experience complex emotions like resentment.
  • Why harboring resentment poisons your mind and relationships. 
  • 4 steps to releasing resentment and cultivating inner peace.
  • How forgiveness is an act of self-compassion. 


Listen to the Full Episode:


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Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to Real World Peaceful Parenting, a podcast for parents that are tired of yelling, threatening, and punishing their kids. Join mom and master certified parent coach Lisa Smith as she gives you actionable step-by-step strategies that’ll help you transform your household from chaos to cooperation. Let’s dive in.

Welcome, welcome, welcome. Welcome to today’s episode. If you’re brand new to the podcast, welcome, I’m so glad you’’re here. And if you’re a regular, listening weekly, you know that this year, 2024, we have declared this the year of self-regulation. And today is an opportunity to add another piece to the puzzle of self-regulation by helping you navigate the challenges of parenting with awareness, tools, and support.

So let me ask you, have you ever noticed your child or your kid or your teen or your adult harboring feelings of resentment? Hmm, resentment. Have you noticed them harboring feelings of resentment towards siblings, friends, or situations they perceive as unfair? You know, resentment can be a heavy burden to carry. A heavy burden for our kids or for ourselves.

And here’s the thing that I want you to question today. If you have a kid that is harboring resentment and or harbors it regularly, I want you to ask yourself, am I inadvertently modeling this behavior for him, her, or them?

Resentment as defined is that deep-seated indignation at feeling mistreated or wronged. You know, unfair, not right. It’s a complex mix of emotions. Resentment is part anger, part sadness, and part frustration. And the problem with it is that it can poison our minds and relationships if left unchecked.

And the thing I want us to ask ourselves today is, are we showing our children how to let go of resentment? How to embrace harmony instead of holding onto the unfairness, the grudges, the anger, the sadness, the frustration? Because what I know for sure is that resentment blocks us from connecting with people, from connecting with our children, and left unchecked can poison our minds and our relationships.

I know, right? It’s a big topic. It really is. Now, to better understand the complexities of resentment and its impact, let’s dive into a couple real-life scenarios. So first, I’m going to tell you about Alex and then Emily. Two young kids, two individuals navigating the turbulent waters of adolescence and young adulthood, each grappling with their own experiences of feeling mistreated, wronged, and unfair.

These stories offer poignant insights into the emotional landscape of resentment and the profound effects it can have on individuals at different stages of life.

Let’s say there’s a 13-year-old named Alex who has a close friend named Sam. Alex and Sam have been best friends since kindergarten and have always done everything together. However, as they’ve gotten older, Sam begins spending more time with a new group of friends that he’s met in middle school, often excluding Alex from their activities.

Now, at first, Alex tries to brush it off. But over time, he begins to feel left out and lonely, and he doesn’t know how to articulate those feelings. He sees Sam having fun with his new friends on social media and hears all about the exciting things they do together. Despite trying to reach out and maintain their friendship, Sam seems distant and uninterested in spending time with Alex like they used to.

As a result, Alex starts to feel resentful towards Sam and his new friends. Alex feels hurt and betrayed and wonders why Sam would abandon the friendship for others. Because he doesn’t know how to talk to his parents about his feelings and needs and all that’s going on for him in navigating this broken friendship with Sam, resentment festers in Alex’s heart leading to feelings of anger, sadness, and frustration every time he sees Sam with his new group, which is daily at school.

Despite his efforts to move past it, Alex can’t shake the feeling of being wronged by his once close friend and being mistreated. It seems unfair to him. This resentment begins to affect Alex’s self-esteem and overall happiness, making it a challenge for him to remain regulated after school and on the weekends.

In this example, Alex’s resentment stems from feeling excluded and replaced by Sam, highlighting how even children and teens can experience complex emotions like resentment in their relationships.

So my question is, have you ever noticed your child harboring feelings of resentment? Whether it’s towards siblings, friends, or situations they perceive as unfair, being left out, being excluded, not being heard, not being understood. Resentment can be a very heavy burden to carry for any of us at any age.

And as parents, I know we often find it frustrating and difficult to manage, accept, and parent resentment when it shows up on the scene, right? Many of us have no idea what to do with it.

Let’s look at another example. Meet Emily, an 18-year-old high school graduate with big dreams and aspirations. Growing up, Emily faced numerous challenges, including financial instability, family conflicts, and academic pressure. Now, despite these obstacles, Emily remained resilient and determined to create a better future for herself. She was focused and tenacious.

However, as Emily looks around at her peers in high school, she can’t help but feel a twinge of resentment. While others seem to have supportive families, financial stability, and opportunities handed to them, Emily feels like she’s been dealt an unfair hand in life. She resents the fact that she’s had to work multiple part-time jobs through high school to help support her family financially, while her classmates enjoyed carefree teenage years.

She resents the pressure to succeed academically, knowing that a single mistake could jeopardize her chances of escaping her challenging circumstance. Emily also resents the lack of guidance and support she’s received from adults in her life, feeling like she’s had to navigate the complexities of growing into adulthood completely on her own.

While her friends talk excitedly about their plans for college and beyond, Emily worries about how she’ll afford tuition and whether she’ll be able to break free from the cycle of poverty that has plagued her family for generations. Despite her resilience and determination, Emily can’t shake the feeling of bitterness and resentment towards her circumstances. She longs for a life free from struggle and hardship, where she can pursue her passions and dreams without constantly worrying about money, stability, and support.

In this example, Emily’s resentment towards her life circumstance stems from feeling disadvantaged and overlooked compared to her peers, highlighting the profound impact the systemic inequalities and adversity have on a young person’s life. And truly, she feels it’s just not fair.

I’m sure you can see the resentment in both examples, and maybe even feel for these kids and think, hey, Lisa, they have a right to feel this way. I totally get where they’re coming from. I know, I can understand that too. But here’s the thing, sometimes we inadvertently model this behavior for our kids. And the real kicker is you may not even know you’re doing it.

Alex’s parents might have resentment towards some of their friends or their extended family, and they might voice it regularly in front of Alex. Emily’s mother may have deep-seated resentment towards her poverty and struggle in life, and inability to pull herself up out of the poverty that she finds herself in.

My goal today is to ask you to check in with yourself, to take inventory, and assess. Again, resentment is the deep-seated indignation at feeling mistreated or wronged. It’s a complex mixture of emotions – anger, sadness, frustration –  that poisons our minds and relationships if left unchecked. And the question I want us to ask ourselves is, are we showing our children how to let go of the resentment and embrace harmony instead of holding on to the grudges and the resentment and the unfairness that poisons our mind and affects our relationships?

Now as you know, I’ve said this many times, our kids don’t do what we say, they do what we model. And so my goal is for us to constantly be checking in with ourselves and taking inventory as to what we’re modeling, consciously and unconsciously, for our children.

I often work with parents to identify and release resentment in their own lives. And what I’ve discovered is that many of us don’t know how to do that. We don’t know how to identify and release it. We feel attached to it. We feel like it’s part of us. We feel connected to it. We don’t feel like we have permission to let go. Like somehow the other people will win if we let go of the resentment. And that is 100% not true.

Some of us don’t let go of the resentment because no one discussed this complex emotion with us. We, until now, didn’t even realize that we’re carrying it around. No one has talked to us about the damage that it’s doing, that it’s keeping us down and getting in our way of happiness, that it’s poisoning our mind and our relationship. I get it. I grew up in that environment too. No one taught us how to release the resentment.

That’s my goal today, is to at least create an awareness, have you check in, and offer four steps on how to get rid of resentment if you find yourself holding on to it. Now, I totally understand how some of us arrived at this place. I totally get it. Sometimes we need to work on releasing the resentment that you’ve carried since your childhood. Or it’s resentment you feel towards a spouse who doesn’t pull his, her, or their weight.

Sometimes we have built up resentment towards a former spouse or an ex that we now have to co-parent with. Sometimes it’s resentment that we hold towards our ex’s new partner. Or it’s resentment we hold towards a boss, or a company, or a job, or an experience that didn’t turn out like it was supposed to.

Maybe it’s resentment towards a job loss or financial hardship. Maybe it’s resentment towards step kids, or an extended family, or a co-worker, or a business partner. Maybe it’s resentment that’s built up as a result of being a victim of a trauma or an accident.

Sometimes it’s resentment towards a child that has been challenging, maybe strong-willed since birth. Or maybe it’s unconscious resentment that’s built up due to a difficult pregnancy or a challenging birth that’s gone unhealed.

When you have a minute, take stock. Do an inventory. Reach within yourself and be totally honest. Do you have resentment in one of these categories? Even just a little bit, do you carry it around with you? Are you someone who looks at the world as unfair, or someone has wronged you, or a situation didn’t go as planned?

Do you feel mistreated or wronged? Do you have feelings of anger, sadness, and frustration that you’ve been carrying around for a long time? That, my friends, is resentment, and it poisons your brain and your relationships. So I want you to spend a few minutes checking in with yourself, and if you have some resentment and you’re ready to release it, freedom sits on the other side, I promise.

So now that we understand the definition and some examples of what resentment might look like in our lives, let’s turn our attention to the steps we can take to release it and cultivate that freedom and inner peace. Each of the four steps builds upon the previous one, offering a roadmap towards greater harmony within ourselves and our families. So let’s dig in.

Step one, embrace harmony. It’s the antithesis of resentment. You can’t be harmonious and resentment at the same time. Step one is about acknowledging and releasing resentment’s grip on our heart and minds, so that we can create a space for harmony to come in and flourish. It’s about letting go of grudges and grievances that allow us to foster healthier relationships with everybody in our lives and create a more peaceful environment for ourselves and our children.

So if you’re resentful to a boss that you haven’t worked with for three years, and you’re holding onto that grudge, that grudge is getting in the way of a peaceful environment and healthy relationships with all the other people in your life. So in step one, we’re letting go of the resentment. We’re letting go to foster healthier relationships with everybody in our lives.

And that leads to step two, the power of forgiveness. Choosing to let go of resentment isn’t just an act of kindness towards others, it’s truly an act of self-compassion. Let me say that again. Letting go of resentment is an act of self-compassion for yourself, to you, for you. Because the resentment isn’t necessarily hurting the other person. They may be over living their best life. The resentment is poisoning your mind and your current relationships.

Forgiveness liberates us from the burden of holding onto our past hurts, the burden. And it frees us to experience greater joy and fulfillment in our lives. It’s so good, right? Listen to this, I love this quote. “I never knew how strong I was until I had to forgive someone who wasn’t sorry and accept an apology I never received.” That, my friends, is step two. It’s letting go of the resentment as an act of self-compassion to liberate the burden and create greater joy and fulfillment in your life. Not the other person’s, your life.

I cannot begin to tell you the freedom that these four steps create for you, the lightness that you will feel if you can master these four steps. So step one, embrace harmony. Step two, the power of forgiveness, which leads us to step three, cultivate inner peace.

Like tending to a garden, cultivating inner peace requires patience, diligence, and care. By nurturing self-compassion and understanding within ourselves, we create a fertile ground for healing and growth, and then you model that for your children.

And finally step four, calm is an attitude. As parents, we have the power to be the calmest person in the room, even in the face of adversity. By embodying a sense of calm confidence, we model resilience and grace under pressure, inspiring our children to navigate life’s challenges with courage and composure.

By embracing these steps, we not only release resentment, but we pave the way for a brighter, more harmonious future for ourselves and our kids. When we model embracing harmony by letting go of the resentment, the power of forgiveness as an act of self-compassion, and cultivating inner peace by creating self-compassion and understanding within ourselves, and calmness being an attitude, we are modeling recovery of resentment for our children.

Remember, our kids don’t do what we say, they do what we do. So can you join me in taking this journey together, one step at a time, to get rid of resentment, create greater peace and fulfillment in our lives by releasing resentment and embracing harmony, which will cultivate an inner peace. Our children are watching and they’ll learn from the peaceful example we set. Yes? Yes.

So as we come to the end of today’s episode, let’s reflect on the transformative power of releasing resentment and cultivating inner peace in our lives and modeling that for our kids. By embracing the steps we’ve discussed, from acknowledging and releasing resentment to fostering forgiveness, inner peace, and calm resilience, we set a powerful example for our children.

And remember, our kids don’t do what we say, they follow the patterns we model. So I beg you to be intentional with your actions. Show your kids how to navigate life’s challenges with compassion, grace, and resilience, not resentment.

By letting go of resentment, we not only free ourselves from the weight of past hurts, but we also open the door to deeper connections, greater joy, and unbreakable bonds with our kids. And I’ll tell you, I want that for myself, and I want that for you. So good, right?

Okay, thank you for joining me today. Thank you for being open to understanding resentment on a deeper level. I want to encourage you to take these insights and tools with you and apply them in your daily life as you strive to release resentment and create harmony within your home.

Until next time, I’m wishing you peaceful parenting.

Thank you so much for listening today. I want to personally invite you to head over to ThePeacefulParent.com/welcome and sign up for my free peaceful parenting mini course. You’ll find everything you need to get started on the path to peaceful parenting just waiting for you over there at www.ThePeacefulParent.com/welcome. Can’t wait for you to get started.

Thanks for listening to Real World Peaceful Parenting. If you want more info on how you can transform your parenting, visit ThePeacefulParent.com. See you soon.


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Lisa Smith

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