Free Webinar: Loving Your Life After Divorce | Join us February 27 at Noon EST |   REGISTER NOW

Ep. 107 – Is resentment holding you back?

Resentment can be that negative emotion that can hold you back from the future you deserve after divorce. In this week’s episode Jeff and Doreen discuss why it can hold you back and what to do if you’re stuck in resentment.


Jeff: Hello everyone. You know, resentment after divorce is a negative feeling that you can hold onto for a while, and we’re gonna talk about today about how to get past it and move on with your life. So if you’re ready, let’s get started.

Doreen: Are you ready to create a life that’s better than ever before? We are Doreen Yaffa and Jeff Wilson, and we are here to give you the strategies you need to create the life after divorce that you deserve and desire. As partners both in marriage and coaching, we use our expertise as well as our own personal experiences to help you make the next chapter of your life the best chapter.

Jeff: Doreen. How are you?

Doreen: I’m good. How are you?

Jeff: I’m doing fantastic. I’m ready to talk about resentment.

Doreen: Ooh.

Jeff: It’s a very important subject when you’re dealing with your emotions after divorce.

Doreen: Well, I think it’s important also because if you’re holding on to that resentment that can look a lot of different ways anger, sadness, you know, comes out in different type of feelings. But if you have a lot of resentment after the divorce it’s gonna keep you stuck. And you know, we always, well, not always, but many times we come up with our topics based on things that are going on with our life. And over the last week, before today, we ran into two people that we did not know, like we were out for dinner on both occasions.

And just started speaking to people and when they find out what we do as coaches, of course many times they wanna talk to us. And both women that we met, were divorced for years. But we’re speaking about the divorce as if it was still going on. There was such emotion, like negative emotion, such, you know, resentment.

And so we thought an important to discuss this, identify it, and hopefully give you some tips on how to move past it. Because when you’re living in the place or the world of resentment, you’re certainly using your energy in a way that doesn’t serve your future.

Jeff: Right, right. You know, whether we call it resentment or blame, or complaining or whining, bitterness, we’ve covered this subject quite a bit in our podcast and we continue to do so because there’re very, very strong emotions that can hold you back from the future you desire.

Doreen: Exactly. So let’s start with the Google’s meaning of resentment. The Googles say that resentment is very simple, bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly.

Jeff: Okay.

Doreen: Yeah.

Jeff: That’s a definite definition.

Doreen: Just plain and simple. Right?

Jeff: Plain and simple, you know, and dealing with the resentment is part of the healing process, and it could be that, you know, that weight that you carry around on your back for all this time. So how do we get rid of it? How do we handle resentment?

Doreen: Let me just, can I just go on, because I also looked up what is resentment in relationships.

Jeff: Ooh, okay. That should be good one.

Doreen: Yeah. It says hovering somewhere between anger and disappointment. Resentment is a nagging feeling that you’ve been treated unfairly in some way by another person.

In romantic relationships, this emotion can be challenging to identify yet highly destructive, eroding away at the very fibers that hold two people together. Now, of course, in our circumstances, meaning the listeners here, they no longer have that relationship even. And they’re still holding onto the resentment, which to me is even more destructive.

It’s one thing to hold resentment in a relationship that is still ongoing. Right? Because it’s still destructive, obviously, and it’s important to get past that in order to heal your relationship and move on. But people that hold resentment after the relationship is over and they’re divorced, even more destructive.

Jeff: I think the key word in the definition there was hovering.

Doreen: Hovering over.

Jeff: It seems to be they just, it’s there and it stays there and it can weigh, really weigh you down.

Doreen: Yes. And you know, whether the divorce was prompted by your ex, maybe because of infidelity, emotional and or physical neglect, or the proceedings got really messy.

Many people find it hard to come to terms after divorce with the betrayal from someone they once loved and trusted. I mean, that’s where I think the core of it is, right? That is why resentment is often a natural part of the healing after divorce. In other words, you feel betrayed. This is a person you married.

This is a person you were in love with. This was a person you probably shared your most intimate secrets, goals, plans with, children with, and so it’s natural to feel betrayed. It’s when the resentment takes over and you can’t get past it, right? Because dealing with resentment is part of the healing process, the anger, pain, confusion.

We know it can last weeks and months. It’s when you’re, it’s lasting for years after the divorce is final.

Jeff: That’s when the problem I think kicks in when it’s lasting a lot longer than the process should be.

Doreen: I know. It’s amazing to me that the, you know, the several people that we met, two women in particular, like I had said, it seemed like the divorce was happening at that moment, right?

Jeff: Yeah. Yeah. I was surprised when they said how long ago it was. Cause they seemed like they were still going through it at this time.

Doreen: Yeah. So if you’re feeling any of these emotions are holding you back from what you want, which basically should be your goals and the life after divorce that you deserve and desire, that’s where hopefully we’ll give you some insight today.

Jeff: Right. You know, I think the first thing you want to do is you have to focus on you. I think when you’re bitter or blaming and complaining, you’re focusing on the other person, somebody else, at least.

Doreen: Well, and I think, you know, for a lot of people out there that are dealing with resentment, it is time maybe to look yourself in the mirror and say, enough is enough, right?

Jeff: Yeah. And if you’re out there and you’re ready to say, enough is enough. Well, we’re ready to do something about it. Okay. Go to the website and schedule a session with me and let’s figure this out together. What we do is a discovery call. Figure out where you are, what we need to do, and work together to get this cleared up. It’s time to focus on yourself.

Doreen: Because whether it’s resentment or it’s some other issue that you’re dealing with, you know, coming in for a discovery call is, it’s complimentary, number one. So there’s nothing to lose.

Jeff: Nothing to lose.

Doreen: I think a lot of people, you know are just, they’re having a difficult time maybe making that first step. Right? Sometimes it’s hard to make that first step, but I know that when you have your discovery calls with people, or I do, it really helps to bring clarity on the next path.

Jeff: Yeah. Well, they say that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

Doreen: Exactly. A

Jeff: And you take that first step, you’re gonna be very, very surprised on what you can accomplish.

Doreen: Alright. Now going back to identifying resentment and moving past it. Can you give us, let’s talk about some tips. Okay. Some things to think about.

Jeff: Well, I think one thing to do is to start with making a list of the things that you’ve always wanted to do. Let’s discuss, you know, like we discussed last week and when we talked about goal setting.

Doreen: Goal setting, right?

Jeff: Yeah. Yeah. Discover your joys and creativity and your passions and take time to reorganize and redesign what your life will look like and start writing things down.

Doreen: So I think the first thing is to acknowledge that your dealing with resentment, right? Acknowledgement is first, you know, writing down, being self-aware is the first step to making change.

Setting the goals is part of it, but the first thing I think is acknowledging it. The second thing I wanted to talk about is recognize the cause of the resentment. You know, you have to heal that in your brain first. You have to identify what is a cause, what is making me resentful about this divorce.

Jeff: Yeah. And it may be something very specific like infidelity, like we talked about earlier.

Doreen: Right. Or lack of trust.

Jeff: Yeah. Or being abusive or whatever it is. There could be that one specific thing that you need to focus in on.

Doreen: And sometimes I wanna suggest that if you can’t identify where the resentment is coming from, it might be a matter of really just sitting down and being in a quiet space and letting your brain kind of explore it.

Sometimes, other times, you know, we’ve dealt with clients that have to do this with the help of us as a coach. Cause we help you to explore your thoughts that create your feeling of resentment as being one of the feelings. So, it’s sometimes helpful to have help from third parties if you can’t figure it out. The next one you wanna take.

Jeff: Yeah. You want to take responsibility for yourself.

Doreen: Right. Well, for the emotion

Jeff: For the emotions, right? Yeah. I mean, it’s your thoughts, your emotions.

Doreen:  Once you acknowledge it, and then you recognize the cause of it, now you take responsibility. You own it, right? You understand that this is it. I’m not gonna change it. I can’t go past and change it,

Jeff: You can’t change the past.

Doreen: But you can certainly change the way you’re thinking about it so that you can move past the resentment, have a new thought that’s gonna create a better, more, you know, goal oriented feeling like enthusiasm and excitement and things of this nature.

Jeff: Yeah. So it’s not just taking responsibility for your thoughts today, but also taking responsibility for the thoughts you’re going to have.

Doreen: Right. The next one I wanted to, we wanna talk about is practice being present. In other words, being, again, this to me goes along with the first one, which is acknowledging it, but being present.

Acknowledge your resentment. Then be present in your life today. Like, what are the things that you can really take ownership of today that bring you happiness, the things that you’re thankful for, the things that, you know, just waking up in the morning and being healthy is an example. There’s so many people that don’t have that, but just being thankful of waking up and getting outta bed and being in a healthy body. Like that’s what I see the being present about.

Jeff: There’s a lot of things, if we dig deep enough, we can find the good in everything.

Doreen: Absolutely. You know, that’s where we help people change their thoughts. To create the results they want in their lives.

Jeff: Kind of reminds me of that digging for, looking for gold theory that I’ve used before and I love is, you know, they have to dig through a ton of dirt, ton of dirt to look for a little teeny bit of gold.

Doreen: Little nugget.

Jeff: They’re looking for the dirt. Are they looking for the gold, right? Yeah. They seek gold.

Doreen: The focus is on the gold.

Jeff: The focus is on the gold. The goal is to find the gold. But they have to dig through a ton of dirt. And it’s sometime it’s the same thing in our daily lives. We have a lot of C R A P out there to go through to find a little bit of good, but you gotta focus on the good.

Doreen: The other thing is, the next step we think is to cultivate forgiveness.

Jeff: Not easy.

Doreen: Not easy.

Jeff: Not easy.

Doreen: You know, but the forgiveness, you know, when you know that, when you, I’m sure the listeners can understand this, or you can. You’re in a relationship, it breaks up. I’m not talking specifically about marriage, and you’re hurting for a long time. And then you get to the part where it doesn’t bother you anymore. Right. You see the person, you don’t feel that you know that hurt, that resentment, that anger. You’re cultivating forgiveness, right? You’re moving past it, right?

Jeff: Yeah. And it’s almost like a weight lifted off of your shoulders. And when you say a long time, is it really a long time or it just seems like a long time.

Doreen: Exactly. And you have to also consider why it’s difficult to forgive. If you’re having a challenge forgiving, that’s another thing that you might wanna dig a little bit on.

Jeff: Yeah. Well, I think we hit it on.

Doreen: Wait! I wanna talk also about self-compassion. Because when you’re doing these exercise, have empathy for yourself and self-compassion. Yeah. We’re not suggesting that you judge yourself harshly. You’ve been through a rough time. And we acknowledge that. It’s acknowledging these steps of self-awareness really in a loving and compassionate way of treating yourself, because I wanna suggest that there’s so many listeners out there who are really hard on themselves, and if you were talking to your best friend who went through a divorce, who’s dealing with resentment and trying to find the acknowledgement, recognizing the cause, taking responsibility, practicing being present, and cultivating forgiveness. How would you say to, how would you deal with your friend? How would you talk to your friend? You would be super what? Supportive.

Jeff: Yeah. Supportive

Doreen: And loving

Jeff: Understanding

Doreen: And kind. These exercises that we suggest are not for you to treat yourself any less, with less compassion and forgiveness and love than you would treat someone else that you care for that’s going through the same thing. And it’s sometimes hard for us as humans to take ourselves out of that, that role and kind of think of ourselves literally as almost two people. You know what I’m saying? Like when you’re doing this work, and that self-compassion, right?

Jeff: Yeah. Well, sometimes, you know, when we think about forgiveness, we think about forgiving what others have done to us. But sometimes you put the blame on yourself and sometimes you have to forgive yourself.

Doreen: Yeah. And I was gonna talk about, you know, leaning into gratitude, right? It’s normal to get caught up in all the negative that’s happening around you, but you can bring more happiness and positivity into your life by focusing on the things that are going right. As we suggested before.

Jeff: Right. There’s plenty of things to be grateful for.

Doreen: Absolutely.

Jeff: And there could be some times in your past marriage that you were grateful for, like maybe grateful for your children or the time that you did have to spend together and focus on the good things that were accomplished instead of just the negativity.

Doreen: Yeah. Like your beautiful children that you had together if you had kids together. Right. And I also wanna suggest that I’ve had some clients come to me and tell me they’ve even thanked their ex. Not in a mean-spirited way. But because of whatever happened, let’s say if there was infidelity or whatever, the breakdown in the marriage was like, thank you so much, because now I’ve moved on.

And I’ve created this other life for myself that I never would’ve had. Again, most marriages don’t end by a quick situation, right? Most marriages end after years of trying and, you know, maybe there’s that straw that broke the camel’s back, and people tend to identify in that one thing. Right. But if you’re really being honest, the marriage is usually ridden with problems way before the actual divorce is filed.

Jeff: Yeah. And if you think about what you just said, there might be some situations in your past where something, let’s say bad happened to you, but it turned out to be a good thing. So well remind yourself of that when you’re in this situation now, that possibly what you’re going through now is where you’re supposed to be because you’re going to have an amazing future.

Doreen: True, true. Alright, well I think that was a pretty heavy topic.

Jeff: Yeah, yeah, it was. But I do want to, you know, give out our email addresses and our website again because I do believe there are people out there that do need to talk to us.

Doreen: Absolutely.

Jeff: And I love to hear from you. So if you wanna reach out to me. it’s [email protected] and our website is So go to our website and book that session with me,

Doreen: That discovery session. Yeah. Alright, my friends, listen, have a great day. Think about where you may be holding some resentment and the little tips and tricks that we gave you today to maybe start working past it.

And I wish you a beautiful week. Love yourself. Be kind to yourself when you do this exercise, and of course, be kind to others

Jeff: and have an amazing day.

Doreen: Alright, bye everyone.

Jeff: See you next week.

Doreen: Bye.

Jeff: You have the vision of what you want your life to look like after divorce, but maybe you just don’t know how to get there. So if you’re ready to take control of your life and want to find out more about our coaching, visit us at That’s L A D as in life after divorce dash

Doreen: Until next time, have an amazing rest of your day. And remember, yes, you can have an amazing life after divorce.


Start creating your best life after divorce and book your complimentary Discovery Call