How can I let go of bitterness and resentment that I have accumulated over the years with my in laws?

This question was one of the most popular when we asked our Saas Chat facebook group a few weeks ago  what advice they would love to have by professional coaches.  This question has been answered by a lovely life coach called Nadia Patel.  Nadia is a compassionate and passionate life coach that has helped many women and mothers find their true purpose and meaning, achieve goals and live a more happier life after they were struggling with certain areas.  More information on her website, check it out.  Nadia answered this question to Saas Chat on telephone so it was written from the notes of the conversation.  We hope you find this advice helpful.

 We generally have resentment due to a real or imagined injustice. It doesn’t matter if the injustice is real or imagined because it is ‘real’ to the person who is holding it. The first thing we need to understand is that resentment, anger, fear are all connected and we can easily become trapped in them, making our life a misery.  It’s pointless.  Holding onto resentment is like swallowing poison but expecting somebody else to die.  Resentment does nothing but eat away at you, making your life a misery and inevitably effecting not only you but also your loved ones.

Firstly, you have to make the decision as to whether or not you want to let go of this resentment.

Good questions to ask yourself; what is the cost of not letting go? What is the cost to your health, energy, happiness, wellbeing?  What is the impact on your kids, marriage and future? When you take a step back and look around to see what impact it is having this may encourage you to start letting go. Do you sometimes not pay attention to your children?  Do you feel angry inside after leaving your in laws and then take it out on your husband causing arguments?  Are you often in your head and not present? Does it keep you up at night?

Many people believe they can’t let go, but in actual fact you CAN let go and you have to realise that it is a CHOICE.  You have the ability to make that choice and let go at any time ( no matter how long you have been holding onto this resentment) you do have the ability to be happy and make peace with the past. It all starts with being willing and having an open mind.  Once you have chosen to let go, here are a few ideas that may help you.


What we focus on, is what we get.  When we are around people who we find irritating or unkind, that is exactly what we will continue to see.  Every time you interact with your in laws and you focus on them being irritating or hurtful or whatever it is that upsets you, that is what you will see (this may be happening subconsciously)   However, if you decide to change your focus and start looking at good points, you will start to see more positives.  You may think you can’t think of anything good, but if someone offered you a million pounds and asked for you to come up with 5 examples of when your in laws have been kind /what’s good about them surely you would find things wouldn’t you?! Once you start looking for positives, you will start to see more because you have changed your focus. It might take a little bit of work for you to gradually get there, but you have to make a start.


Start each morning with gratitude. This is another step forward to letting go of resentment. When you focus and are grateful for what you do have, instead of what you don’t have there is less room for resentment.  The way in which you do that is each morning wake up and write down in a journal, 3 things you are grateful for in your life and do the same at night.  The way in which gratitude works, is that the more you grateful you are, the more things the universe will give you to be grateful for.   It’s about finding the extraordinary in the ordinary, no matter how small e.g ‘I’m grateful for that lovely dinner’, ‘I’m grateful for my family’, ‘I’m grateful I have a roof over my head’, I’m grateful for that lovely walk in the park’, I’m grateful for today’s sunshine’.  So then once you start doing this, you can start doing it with your with your in laws. E.g ‘I’m grateful they babysat my kids today’, ‘I’m grateful we have our own place now’, ‘I’m grateful they cooked us a nice meal this weekend’, ‘I’m grateful my children have a special bond with their grandparents’.  Once you start to tune in with gratitude, resentment will start to fade away. After some practice, gratitude will eventually start to happen naturally in your head throughout the day. Even when you’re in a negative situation, you will start to see the good, making you les bitter and angry.


Very often we can have unrealistic expectations of a situation.  You need to start to look at things objectively and ask yourself ‘is what I am expecting fair?’  For example, if your mother in law is not a good communicator or good at handling difficult situations and you do things she doesn’t like, it may not be realistic to expect her to talk to you about it if she’s not good at being direct or talking about uncomfortable things.  Her way of dealing with it may be to go to your husband about what you have done, you might take it personally and be upset at why she wouldn’t come straight to you but in actual fact maybe she just may not know how to.  Everyone has had a different upbringing and maybe she came from a family that do things differently and it could be she was never encouraged to speak up about things she didn’t like or maybe everyone in her family deals with issues just like this. Resentment often comes from taking things personally. Sometimes it’s worth considering the person who has offended you doesn’t know how else to deal with a situation or even that they are doing something wrong! When you start to look at things objectively rather than taking things personally you will be less resentful.  Look at what that person is capable of and their character traits. We don’t all have the same upbringing, personality or vales.


You can choose to forgive and free yourself from resentment.  Things happen in life, everyone is doing their best,everyone has different personalities and by you not forgiving and holding on to things I believe you are drinking poison and expecting somebody else to die. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you condone what has happened it just sets you free. It is also important to forgive yourself.  When we sometimes put up with behaviour that’s not right, we often don’t forgive ourselves for allowing it to happen and end up dwelling on how we could have handled things differently.  Sometimes if we are in a situation where we perceive somebody has disrespected us, very often, it’s not just them we are angry with but we are angry with ourselves for putting up with it. Once you learn to forgive, you can let it all go. There are many forgiveness exercises and meditations that you can find on the internet that may help you forgive if you need it. The cost of carrying resentment and anger around with you is huge, it has a knock on effect on everyone and everything including your kids, marriage, friends, family and it’s important to understand it is in your control and possible to forgive. Accept and forget what has happened and make peace with the past so you can create the future that you want for yourself.

Happiness is in your control, you will end up being happy if you practice all of the above not because your in laws have changed, but because you have changed how ‘you’ deal with things.  It is a process to get to the other side but if you have chosen to deal with it and choose to heal from it you CAN get there.



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