Resentment is an understatement of the pain and anger experienced whenever memories of infidelity,betrayal,or hurts caused by the people in our lives come to mind. Even after a reasonable time has passed for reconciliation, resentment often lingers. All might be forgiven,but forgetting may never happen.
Resentment as an energy vampire, is insidious and directly affects relationships.
You are you are feeling resentment when you harbor animosity against someone. Perhaps,you are holding a grudge,are really angry or feeling upset about a particular event. There is either a deliberate unwillingness to forgive the other person,or an inability to let go. Resentment often does more harm to the resenter than to the other person because it’s like a self-fed poison eating away at the resenter’s soul.
There are obvious situations that reveals why you develop resentment towards someone or people. Check to see below if any of these situations apply to you:
- You agree to do something and end up feeling used or taken for granted.
- You have unmet needs and feel ignored or rejected.
- Others have let you down in some capacity.
- You see others getting ahead who haven’t worked as hard as you.
- You feel that you are the one who always makes sacrifices in a relationship.
- You have experienced divorce,infidelity ,being mistreated or abused.
The Games People Play
Resentment comes in many forms. Everyday situations can cause us to withdraw, and everyone has patterns or games they play in relationships. When resentment occurs ,these games becomes evident. Can you spot yours?
- I will refuse to play with you. I will withdraw and fume in silence ,but watch out for my revenge.
- I will get back at you by keeping score. I will keep track so I can gain leverage.
- If I can’t win,then nobody will win.I will become a problem and you will know about it.
- I will never forgive or forget . I have a long memory and I will remind you of all your past mistakes. You will never be sorry enough to please me.
- I will attack and react. I will be in your face and on your back;nobody messes with me.
- I am right,period. I will get you to see my way,no matter how it affects you.
Now,it’s healthy to become angry and voice our feelings when we feel we have been wronged. However, It becomes a problem when we connect it to self-righteousness,adopting a superior position of ‘I’m right,you are wrong.’ Instead of controlling the other person and being assertive ,sometimes we prefer revenge. We feel that by getting back at him or her,it will cancel our pain.
For instance,a statement like this:
“Frank should be helping out more around the house,” complains Doris. “He knows how I feel about this. It shouldn’t be any suprise to him when I refuse to be intimate.”
Do you notice the shoulds? Doris may have a legitimate complaint. However,using her resentment to punish her husband will not create a win-win. It will probably make him resentful too. Instead of resolving the issue with honest communication and perhaps some compromise ,the relationship will become even more strained.
You need to take the HIGH ROAD. Let go of resentment.
- For a specific issue,first put it in perspective by asking, “Is this worth getting steamed up about? Am I over-reacting? Is something else the root cause of my resentment?
- Look for a rational solution to the issue. “Who do I need to talk to? What action must I take to have my needs met?”
- For significant issues,especially situations where you have harbored your resentments for a long time,write a letter. Release your anger and express your feelings clearly. You can always choose not to mail the letter.
- To release your anger,use the Total Truth Process which is a form of a letter written to the offender expressing your pains or hurts as much as you can in the letter. It’s as though you are mailing the letter. But you are not. (Just write all your pains,anger and everything that makes you bitter down. It helps to release all the burdens) Then you can choose a memorial: Burning it or throwing it away and watch the wind blow it away.
- Note: It is often advisable to have professional help form an experienced counselor when doing this.
- Be more aware of when you first start feeling resentful. Normally there is a buildup over time. The sooner you can identify this,the better. When you do,take action. Deal with the situation by speaking up,or doing what you need to do.
- Work on your self-esteem,so you can be more accepting and loving of yourself and others.
- Develop a good support network of friends who can give you honest feedback when you are holding on too long to negative feelings.
- Believe in yourself. Develop your strenghts and be assertive. Do not allow others to belittle you.
- May be this is the most important. Learn to let go and forgive. This is the higher road.