I’m sure you’ll agree- a woman can hold a resentment.
We are built to remember all the things. Our minds take in everything around us. I’m pretty sure my uterus doubles as a homing device, because if someone can’t find something, I can usually tell them where they left it. We carry the mental load, as well as the responsibilities for the household, career, parenting, and when our hubs is an addict or alcoholic, all the things he’s supposed to handle, too. That’s where the resentment comes in. Doing for him what he should (and probably can) be doing for himself.
Have you been his alarm clock? Maid? Mother? I know I did. I covered for, lied for, justified, went without financially and emotionally while he carried on doing whatever, whenever and however he felt he needed. He’d listen to me nag and cry and carry on, and then he’d do what he wanted anyway.
I felt unloved, unappreciated, and stuck. Then I got pissed off.
I could feel my blood boiling when I’d think about everything he was doing ‘to me’. He was the reason I couldn’t pay my bills on time. He was the reason why I couldn’t get a good night’s sleep. He was why I was absolutely miserable. It was all his fault and I hated him for it.
But was it really all his fault?
“Resentment is often a woman’s inner signal that she has been ignoring an important God-given responsibility – that of making choices.”
― Brenda Waggoner
It was SO easy to see all of his flaws and faults. He was the one smoking crack and drinking. Not me. I was taking care of the house, paying the bills, working, parenting, and having to mother him too. I should get a damn medal for everything I was doing! And anyone would have agreed with me. In fact, I sought out people who would confirm that he was the perpetrator and I was the victim. My “friends” would remind me how lucky he was to have me, and he should appreciate me and he owed me.
At the end of the day though – I was the one who stayed.
I allowed those behaviors to continue. I participated in the madness. In all reality, it was my fault as well that our marriage was the way it was. I was so worried about placing blame and getting even that I took the focus off of the only thing that I really could control – ME. I allowed him to make choices for me by default. He could blame the alcohol/drugs/childhood. I could only blame him. I was really angry at myself for allowing things to get that far, and for not being the strong woman I knew I was deep inside. I allowed myself to believe that I was the victim and that the only way to make it better was for him to quit drinking.
When you own your part – that’s when things change.
I recently read in a book called “Boundaries in Marriage” that you are responsible for half of your marriage, and ALL of yourself. How does that feel? For me, I thought gee, if I’d have known that when my husband was using I’d have felt a lot less pressure! If I’d realized I was only responsible for half of the marriage, perhaps I could have allowed him to have his half, and if I’d realized I was responsible for myself, well, maybe I wouldn’t have allowed him to have so much power.
You are responsible for YOU.
I know you feel obligated to ‘fix it’ and ‘make it work’ but sister, you can’t fix it alone. Our spouses have to be a willing participant. How would you like it if he brought you kicking and screaming to his dealer’s house? Maybe that’s how he feels when you drag him to counseling. I’m not at all discounting the value of church, therapy, or any other means of assisting your relationship. I’m simply asking you to check your motivations. Are you trying to control and fix him? Or are you trying to work on the marriage? Or to fix YOU?
It wasn’t until I started unpacking my suitcases of the crap I’d brought from my past into our relationship and dealing with that pain, hurt, guilt and unrealized potential that I was able to make strides in healing our marriage. It’s not easy, it’s humbling and yet empowering. It is SO worth it though. Not only is our marriage better for it, but I am better for it too.
Are you holding on to resentments? Are you willing to look at what you brought into the mix?
It’s not easy love, I know. But it IS simple. Work on YOU – and the rest will fall into place.