January 6, 2020 Stacey Mendelson 0 Comments

Recently I shared a therapy appointment with my teenage son Ben. I thought it would do us some good to have the negotiation from child to adult mediated by a third party.

I have been struggling with his lack of emotional regulation that he saves up just for me.  He has been struggling with feelings of resentment toward me that I did not even know existed.

Frankly, I was shocked. How can he resent me when I have devoted my entire life to helping him become the best version of himself? Now that explains why sometimes he can act like a bit of an a-hole when I least expect it! Turns out it is an act of defiance stemming from anger and resentment.

Who knew I was harbouring resentment?

This got me thinking about how I show up in the world, and if I too have behaviours that stem from anger and resentment. Turns out I do. Lots. Especially toward my parents. Funny how history repeats itself?‍♀️…

I know a lot of my Divorcee Tribe harbours feelings of anger, hurt and resentment toward their ex. Here’s the interesting thing about this. The ex does not experience your feeling. The feeling is a vibration in your body only. Another person cannot feel your emotions.

The other person will only experience their own interpretation of your behaviour. Your ex, and your children get to experience your behaviour that the feeling of resentment generates. Things like not speaking to your ex, being rude to your ex, being short with the kids.

Being resentful is not a direct punishment to someone else. Hating someone  does not punish them. If you feel like being angry or resentful is serving you and hurting them, you have it exactly backwards. In fact, it really only punishes you because, let’s face it, anger hurt or resentment feels like ass.

Why do you feel anger and resentment?

I know you are going to want to tell me it is because of what someone did or said to you. We all have a long and compelling tale. I hate to break this to you, but it is not that at all. It is because of the way you are thinking about what they said or did.


These nasty feelings are caused by your thoughts. What a person did is just a circumstance and it cannot touch your emotional life until you have a thought about it.

That is kind of good news because the biggest protection between what someone did and how you feel is how you think about what they did.

What someone says or does has no power over you. Most of us give away our power by thinking horrible thoughts about what they said or did. Most of us make it mean something about ourselves.

Coaching through anger and resentment

Let me give you an example using the self coaching model that I teach. I think many of you will relate.

Circumstance: my husband had several affairs

Thoughts (pick your favourite):

He never should have done this to me.

He is horrible.

He ruined my life.

He ruined my children’s life.

Feeling: angry and resentful

Action: be short tempered with my kids, be hostile to my husband, drink lots of wine with my friends, lie around lethargic all day

Result: I ruin my life. I ruin my kids life. I am horrible.

The truth is, you get to feel how you want about this and you don’t have to feel angry, resentful or scorned. You don’t have to surrender your emotional life to someone else. You don’t have to be hurt any longer than you want. Here is a model you can work toward:

Circumstance: my husband had several affairs

Thought: this has nothing to do with me

Feeling: confident

Action: leave the marriage, seek coaching and therapy, work on my relationship with myself, have compassions for my children,  and start a new chapter

Result: I am able to do what is best for me. I am an example to my children of how to take responsibility for my feelings

Feeling resentment and anger puts us in the victim mode. You can decide to stop being a victim of someone else’s behaviour and drop the resentment and anger. Next week I will teach you how.