My last major resentment was a real doozy. Two years ago, on the day of my wife's funeral, my Chinese mother-in-law made a stink about Lola’s will. We had just buried my wife and her daughter and she’s complaining about money! I was outraged.
For a week I complained about my mother-in-law to anyone who would listen. Finally, a sobriety buddy suggested I work a fourth step around my resentment. When I resisted, he pointed out that holding a resentment while negotiating my wife’s estate with my parents-in-law was not a good idea. I certainly didn’t want to try and forgive her, but I realized he was right, so I put pen to paper.
I enjoyed taking my mother-in-law's inventory in column two. I judged her insensitive, money hungry, cheap. When I got to the third column, “how it affected me”, I had a startling revelation. When I asked myself what I was really feeling below my anger, I saw I was hurt. I discovered that the source of my anger was not my mother-in-law’s coldness or her Chinese values toward money. I saw I had expected her to show appreciation for all I had done as Lola’s primary caretaker for the eleven months before she passed away. The resentment was not about my mother-in-law at all. It was about an unfulfilled expectation I carried. Once I saw my part, the resentment evaporated like the mist when warmed by the morning sun.
I was free.