Is It Normal To Feel Resentment Towards Your Child

3 months ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">People are not always aware of the concept of resentment, in fact some of us don’t really know what it means. But even if we don’t understand it, it doesn’t stop us from feeling it and going through the motions that are involved in such concept. So to make it simple, we can define resentment as holding something against someone, holding them responsible for your unhappiness. It is a basic blame mechanism where we project fault and responsibility onto someone else, instead of blaming ourselves and taking full responsibility. Sounds complicated? That’s because resentment is actually quite a complex psychological state of mind, and unfortunately it has its place in relationships and family life.</span></p><p><strong>How does resentment work?</strong></p><p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Let’s exemplify things so that it is easier to understand. In our example, we are a single parent with a child. People in this situation will know that it is very difficult to find any spare time. Between work and dealing with your child, you end up very stressed and with little time to enjoy yourself. Furthermore it might make it very difficult for you to find a new partner. So in this situation, resentment could come in the following way: you cannot find a partner, you cannot find love; you are lonely and you start blaming your child for it. You don’t actually think it directly but you just start harbouring negative feelings towards your kid because they seem to get in the way of your happiness.</span></p><p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Does it sound selfish, does it sound bad? It sounds like it does, after all a child certainly cannot be responsible for your emotions, they are too young to even comprehend what is going on. This is why you might not see that you are holding them accountable for your sadness, because in terms of logic it doesn’t actually make sense. Instead what happens is you start growing distant from your child, and you lose your patience more often. This can end up in you shouting and telling them off at times where it isn’t warranted at all. You know you should feel love but instead you hate your child a little more as each day goes by, and it is not something you are able to control.</span></p><p><strong>Can it be avoided?</strong></p><p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They say </span><a href="…"><span style="font-weight: 400;">communication</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is two thirds of a marriage, and indeed there is validity to that claim. In our example, you the single parent doesn’t have many people to talk to about your feelings because you are simply too busy all the time and you don’t have a partner to talk to. Talking to your child about it might just not be possible, not in the sense of trying to have an adult conversation about a complex psychological issue. However there are people you can talk to. Friends can help so it is important to reach out to them, but another option is to reach out to mental health professionals. Think about it this way: you’re unhappy and it is only growing further and deeper. This is a very good justification and a good reason why you should try to talk to your local General Practitioner about your situation. They will then be able to recommend you to your local mental health services. Talking to someone we don’t know like a shrink allows us to me more honest, as we don’t feel we are being judged by our friends as we describe our feelings to them.</span></p><p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Next you want to </span><a href="…"><span style="font-weight: 400;">shift the blame and responsibility</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> where it really belongs, and that is you. This is not about feeling that everything is your fault, but rather facing the situation in the following way: “I don’t want to feel like this anymore. I am in this situation and I am the only one who get myself out of it, and I acknowledge it will take some help and time.” So in our example of our single and mature parent, you might hold your child responsible for you not being able to get a new partner. In that case, just break the pattern and start looking for a partner. Sure finding time is difficult, but reaching out to people online or even in your community won’t take so long to do. You can use dating sites to talk to new people online, and ideally you want to find someone who is mature enough to accept you and your child. Traditional dating sites are full of people who just want to have fun, but maybe you will have more luck looking at </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">mature dating sites</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Once you’ve even spent a few minutes chatting with people online, you will realise that you could have done that a while ago, and you will realise that your child wasn’t stopping you from reaching out to others. The bottom line is that it is easy to get stuck into our own heads, and taking responsibility for our feelings can lead to good things happening. It is not about blaming but instead it is about moving forwards.</span></p><p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There is also one essential aspect of life you might be missing out on: getting some </span><a href="…"><span style="font-weight: 400;">me-time</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to yourself. Beyond talking to others and taking responsibility, you really need to insure your brain is getting a break. Too much time spent working and dealing with your child could leave you to feel devoid of your own personality, you are just functioning and constantly switched to survival and parenting mode. You eventually lose your sense of self, which can lead to further resentment. So make sure you do things you enjoy, pick a hobby and make time for it. You need to free your mind again, and you need to feel like you are free rather than constantly feeling trapped into the same predicaments over and over again.</span></p><p><strong>The brain shuts down</strong></p><p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The reality is that when your brain goes under such stress, it just shuts down. We all get told that we have to be strong, but not everyone can face the stresses of single parenthood. Seeing all those inspirational examples in the media only makes us feel worse when we are having difficulties coping, which only leads us to shut down furthermore. We stop listening to advice because it feels like a critique, like people are telling us that we’re doing it wrong every day. Our brain goes in a loop, it is repeatedly creaming: “you’re doing it wrong” so eventually we shift the blame because it is simply too much to take in. All of this happens at a subconscious level so we don’t see it happening; but it is at this level that it gets the deepest. Once rooted inside of us, resentment will become an integral part of our personality and the brain will shut down to the point where we feel that are the only victim in this whole situation.</span></p><p><strong>You’re not a monster</strong></p><p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here is a good reason not to feel bad about how you are feeling: it is only a natural reaction, and you’re not the only one who is feeling like this. In fact you can try to reach out to other single parents about it. It might sound difficult to say to people: “I have very negative feelings towards my child”; but you will find some people who say the same and who agree with you. You want to love your child but there is simply too much going on in your head. Stress has clouded your judgement because of the sheer amount of pressure you are under. Eventually something has got to give, and this is exactly what is happening to you. Those feelings are not who you think you are, and it is not how you want to be. You just need to know that a lot of states of mind are temporary, and you can grow out of those by dealing with the problem head-on. It’s hard, it will take time but once you do you will feel the biggest weight has been removed of your shoulders.</span></p>