The Danger of Resentment

All humans experience it. That nagging feeling of superiority because someone has wronged you. However, unchecked resentment will grow into a significant problem affecting your relationships with bitterness, anger, and hatred.

 

This piece shall focus on resentment and the power you think you gain by harboring it in yourself.

 

Resentment

 

 

Resentment is a combination of unpleasant thoughts and feelings experienced when you do not get what you feel you deserve or when you observe someone else getting what you feel you deserve and do not (Feather & Sherman, 2002).

 

No one is immune from feeling resentment. It is only a problem when you act on your feelings against someone else because they did not meet your needs or live up to your expectations. When you see someone else succeeding, it is better to acknowledge their success, but often we resent their accomplishment.

 

Besides anger, the feelings you may encounter in resentment are frustration and hostility that damage your personal relationships with others. Those who feel resentment hold onto these negative feelings, and it is like bearing the weight of a toxic ball of arsenic as it poisons you and everything you do.

 

Often people who live with dissociative identity disorder feel resentment because of how they were abused and neglected. These folks tend to hold onto their anger when discovering what happened to them and be resentful.

 

You might feel that because your abusers hurt you that they owe you. However, you would be wrong. As an adult, no one else is responsible for your life and happiness; that is all up to you.

 

 

Feeling Empowered by Resentment

 

 

Resentment is intoxicating as feelings of anger and rage add to a false sense of power and superiority over someone else. Resentment can encourage a negative expression of emotion, such as aggression, and being left unchecked will turn into hatred.

 

Below are a few signs of resentment.

 

  • Continually feeling strong emotions such as anger when you think about a specific experience.
  • Having an inability to think about your abuse.
  • Experiencing tense relationships with others.
  • Feeling fear or avoidance of conflict.
  • Feeling regretful.
  • Feeling invisible or inadequate.
  • A feeling of superiority over others.
  • Having a sense that you shouldn’t need to struggle because the world owes you.

 

The power one feels with resentment is real as you find yourself in power and wielding an invisible sword of anger. However, the energy and anger you might get from resentment are short-lived and injure you and those around you.

 

While it may seem to be expected for those of us who have experienced severe childhood abuse and neglect, the only people who are harmed by holding resentment is yourself.

 

Letting Go of Resentment

 

 

You will inevitably feel resentment toward your abusers for a while, but if you wish to live a happy life and heal, you must be willing to give it up. While there can be no doubt you were horribly mistreated by those who you should

have been able to rely on and trust, resentment is ugly, and you become ugly too.

 

Letting go of resentment means finding peace with what happened to you and moving on. Letting go involves choosing to get rid of resentment and adjusting one’s frame of mind and emotional responses toward the past.

 

Here are some helpful suggestions on how to let go of resentment.

 

Think about why letting go is so tricky. What emotions surface when you think about moving on from the resentment? How do you feel when you read articles like this one that encourage you to move on? Letting go of resentment can trigger fear of losing your identity, but changing your mindset is freeing.

Practice self-compassion. If you are harboring feelings of regret or anger, you might be holding onto resentment as your security blanket. Using self-compassion, you can gently challenge your negative emotions and recognize that while it is a coping mechanism to feel resentment, it will wear you down after a while.

 

Cultivate gratitude. No, you do not need to feel gratitude over what you experienced as a child, but you must foster gratitude throughout your life about other things. Try making a list of things you are grateful for. If you cannot think of anything, start more simply with, “I can walk” or “I can see.” There is always something to be grateful for, and this change in thinking will help you heal and leave resentment in the dust.

 

Talk to a therapist. If you do not already see a therapist, it is time to choose one and follow through with treatment. Resentment is a tremendous emotion that one should not tackle alone, especially if you have dissociative identity disorder. Your therapist will offer a safe environment to express your resentments and work through them.

 

Ending Our Time Together

 

This article isn’t very long, but I hope it was somewhat helpful.

 

I have encountered resentment many times on my healing journey. At first, when I entered treatment, I felt a sense of self-righteousness over those who harmed me. I held in my heart and soul anger that poisoned how I saw the world.

 

At one point, my resentment grew so large that I became homicidal and made plans to murder my abusers. I was so overcome with rage and resentment that I had a psychotic break, and thank god someone stepped in to stop me.

 

Resentment is that dangerous.

 

Letting go of resentment toward those who hurt you as a child is not the same as forgiving them. I don’t think forgiveness is genuinely possible. Instead, letting go of resentment is letting go of the false sense of power and self-righteousness that keep you alone and angry.

 

Don’t allow resentment to reign over your life. See a therapist and begin the process of gaining true power. So long as you allow yourself to feel resentment, you are letting the bastards win.

 

“Anger, resentment, and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others– it only changes yours.” – Shannon Alder

 

“Let today be the day you stop being haunted by the ghost of yesterday. Holding a grudge & harboring anger/resentment is poison to the soul. Get even with people…but not those who have hurt us, forget them, instead get even with those who have helped us.” – Steve Maraboli

 

References

 

Feather, N. T., & Sherman, R. (2002). Envy, resentment, schadenfreude, and sympathy: Reactions to deserved and undeserved achievement and subsequent failure. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin28(7), 953-961.

 

O’Dwyer, S. (2020). Meritocracy and resentment. Philosophy & Social Criticism46(9), 1146-1164.

 

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