Contempt is another word for hate mixed with a touch of resentment. If you suffer from contempt in relationships, only you can change things.
Hate based on resentment and bad feelings doesn’t make for a happy union, whether it is between your family or your significant other. There can be contempt in relationships of various kinds. Most of us have been in cyclical relationships where you get along one minute, and the next it is all shot to hell, and everything is wrong. Behind the hot button of “I’m done” is something called contempt.
It is the inability not only to forget, but also to forgive. The problem is that if you are holding onto contempt in your relationship, it is not only hurting the other person and the relationship, but you too.
12 ways to get over contempt in relationships
Contempt is not an easy thing to let go of, but carrying it along with you is even more difficult. If you want to find a way to get past the contempt in relationships, it is about learning to forgive, understanding, and starting over. In any relationship, you may have to start over a hundred times… or sometimes more.
But, the key to starting over is truly letting go of the past to start anew. Otherwise, starting over is nothing more than picking up the baggage and carrying on. [Read: Tumultuous relationship – 15 ways to deal with a messy romance]
#1 Assume the other person is coming from a place of love. The reason that many relationships find themselves back in the same horrible position, again and again, is because after you are burned or hurt, you have a tendency to make assumptions that people mean to hurt you in some vendetta.
If you want to move forward with someone and believe they are good enough to build a life with, then you have to assume that when things go bad, their actions or behaviors are coming from a place of love instead of always assuming the worst.
People have a tendency to live up to your expectations. So, if you stop expecting the worst from them, you may just find their goodness. [Read: Is your negative thinking ruining your life for you?]
#2 Ascribe no intention to actions and behaviors. When you are in a tumultuous relationship, you often ascribe intention to behaviors that aren’t real. If your husband didn’t take out the garbage when you asked him to, don’t automatically assume that he left it there to add one more thing to your already full plate.
Perhaps he just forgot, or thought he would bring it out when he got home. Prescribing your own projections onto any action can lead to miscommunication that can’t be fixed, and an argument around every corner. If someone hurts your feelings, ask why they did what they did before you accuse them of doing it intentionally.
#3 Forgive… truly forgive. There are many times when we say we are going to forgive, but we really don’t. Forgiveness is not an easy thing to do. The problem is that if you don’t forgive, then you are forced to carry the situation around with you. And it will forever taint every situation that you have going forward.
Forgiving means to put things behind you. If, every time that you have a fight, you bring up the same issues, then you aren’t forgiving. Once you have forgiven someone for something, then you promise in your heart never to bring it up again.
If you continue to bring something they did before into the present after you have already forgiven them, then you didn’t really forgive them to begin with. A fight should be only about things that are real and present, not a laundry list of all the past wrongs. [Read: How to forgive and forget – 15 guidelines to follow]
#4 Recognize how you play a part. If you think that you aren’t responsible for anything, you are wrong. There are rarely situations where a fight or argument is a one-way street. In fact, if only one person is responsible for an argument, then by definition it isn’t anything more than an opinion or a statement. It truly takes two to tango.
If you want to stop having contempt in relationships, then you have to take responsibility for the part that you play. You know their hot buttons as much as they know yours. If you don’t walk away and instead stay and fight, you are just as responsible.
The truth is that if you didn’t have anything to do with the inability to get along, you would have just walked away seeing that they aren’t worth it. If you want the relationship to work, then you have to stop thinking that you have to work on them, and perhaps have some introspection to work on your behaviors too. [Read: 16 silly bad habits that can hurt your relationship]
#5 Look at the situation from another perspective. If you are always looking at things from your perspective only, you are never going to see the whole story or how to stop the animosity.
The only way to stop contempt in relationships is through empathy and the acknowledgement of how the other person feels. If you are always putting your own feelings first, you aren’t ever going to find a happy medium or a way to be happy together. [Read: 12 signs you’re being selfish in the relationship]
#6 Seek out a third party analysis and be HONEST. When we have contempt in relationships, we often seek out people to vent to or to analyze the relationship with us. The problem is that we go to the people in our lives who will tell us we are right and what we want to hear. There is no better feeling than someone providing you validation.
Turning to your family members or the people who love you to be the judge and jury will never help you solve your problems. In fact, it is a sure-fire way to put more distance in your relationship. Seek out someone who will tell you not what you want to hear, but what you need to. [Read: 13 signs your friends are unintentionally ruining your relationships]
#7 Try counseling. Sometimes if you just can’t seem to get through the contempt in a relationship, you have to seek someone to be a mediator. A mediator can come in many forms. But, a relationship counselor is someone who is trained to help you work through your stuff in an effective manner.
They can also help you develop better skills to communicate with one another in productive ways. When you get stuck in a rut, talking in circles with someone only creates more frustration, which can lead to contempt. If you feel like you need a third party to “translate,” a counselor can be a great resource.
#8 Read famous theories on romantic relationships. The reason that the sexes have such a hard time living together is because we are inherently different in the way that we think and the way that we communicate. Many famous books have been written about how to relate to the opposite sex.
Some people find them very helpful. For some, they aid to get past the hurt in a relationship and find a way back to love. Books like Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus and The Five Love Languages can sometimes be a great resource to aid couples in getting past their struggle. [Read: 20 things happy couples don’t ever do in a perfect relationship]
#9 Forget the communication and move forward. Many couples think that their problems stem from a lack of communication. But sometimes it stems from too much communication. If you think that you can “talk” your way out of contempt by presenting your side, over and over and over again, guess what? It isn’t a communication problem.
The next time you want to talk things out, try being silent as a new approach. Sometimes your actions and behaviors are way more effective than the words that come from your mouth.
#10 Stop looking for an apology, or if one is offered, accept it without conditions. If you are waiting for an apology, you may have gotten one and missed it. Or, you may have accepted one and then thought it didn’t go far enough.
To forgive someone, you don’t have to hear an apology. Sometimes people are incapable of saying they are sorry in concrete ways, or in the specific way that you want. If you know that someone is trying, give them a break and stop hoping they’ll do things they are not capable of.
Stop looking for the exact words you want, or the signals that they are really sorry, and accept what they are capable of giving you. [Read: 17 awww-so-sweet ways to genuinely let your partner know you’re sorry]
#11 Stop overanalyzing. Sometimes contempt in relationships stems from overanalyzing it. If someone says something to you, then take it for what it is worth. If you sit and mull over a situation, or go over in your head twenty different scenarios about what they were saying, then you are playing the relationship out in your mind instead of what is really happening… or any real sense of reality. [Read: 20 ways your overanalyzing is ruining your relationship]
#12 Let go of fear. Fear is one of the worst things for any relationship. We have all been rejected, hurt, or downright torn apart by a relationship in our past. Letting go of fear can help you to forgive and move forward.
The fear of being hurt again can keep us stuck and stop a relationship from mending. If you have contempt in a relationship and have built up a wall, it isn’t doing you or the union any favors.
Having contempt in relationship is a silent killer that encompasses everything. If you want to get past it, then you have learn to forgive – truly forgive – and let go. If you keep pulling the past into the future, you won’t ever find happiness. Let go of fear, prejudice, ascribing intention, and assuming the worst so you can find more peace in your relationships.
If you are tired of carrying the load of all the baggage, then don’t. Put it all away and resolve not to pick it up again. That’s how you heal contempt in relationships