Handling Resentment

Content
What is resentment?
How is my resentment manifested?
How does resentment develop?
What are the negative effects of my unresolved resentment?
What irrational thinking underlies my resentment?
How can I overcome resentment?
Steps in overcoming resentment

What is resentment?

Resentment is the:

* harboring of animosity against a person or group of people whom I feel has mistreated me.
* unresolved anger I have over a negative event which occurred in my past life.
* seething, aching emotional turmoil I feel whenever a certain person or event is discussed.
* lack of forgiving, the inability to let go and forget.
* root of distrust and suspicion I have when dealing with people or events that brought me pain in the past.
* unresolved grief I experience when I find it difficult to accept a loss.
* result of being heartbroken after exerting a great deal of effort and energy to achieve something that eventually was lost to me.
* result of feeling that I was unjustly victimized with no resolution to the problem.
* long-term suffering in silence when an open expression of hurt is unwanted and uninvited.
* cancer robbing me of contentment in life.
* grudge I hold against a person or group of people whom I feel has kept me from achieving.
* feeling offended but silent when I believe that a person or group of people have ignored or denied my rights.
* root of my depression.

How is my resentment manifested?

When I am filled with resentment toward a person or group of people I:

* pout or fume silently in their presence or at the mention of their name.
* get upset when music, a movie or a TV show reminds me of the unpleasant interactions I have had with them.
* speak in a derisive or demeaning way about them.
* have nightmares or distressing thoughts or daydreams about them.
* become stuck in my efforts for personal growth and I don't even know why.
* get furious for no apparent reason.
* get depressed, despondent and find myself going in circles in my attempts to overcome these negative feelings.
* avoid mentioning or discussing anything that relates to my past anger or upset with them.
* grit my teeth and smile when I really want to scream and yell when these people are mentioned to me.
* fake enthusiasm and excitement about being with these people when I'd rather have nothing to do with them.

How does resentment develop?

Resentment can be the outcome of:

* accepting negative treatment from others passively, never expressing negative feelings about it.
* agreeing to do something for others yet feeling that I am being taken for granted or taken advantage of.
* trying to get others to see my point of view while they ignore or deny the truth or wisdom in what I have to say.
* seeing others succeed who have not worked as hard as I have. I feel they don't deserve this measure of success.
* going unrecognized for my good work or competency while others who are more in favor are recognized.
* working hard and having others prevent me from realizing the bounty of my success.
* having someone whom I have tried hard to please reject my efforts of caring and concern.
* an impossible position in a relationship with someone where I am damned if I do and also damned if I don't do what the person wants from me.
* being embarrassed by a person whose goal was to belittle me.
* being consistently rejected, unapproved, unaccepted and abandoned by another.
* being the object of discrimination or prejudice.
* being ignored, put down, scorned and rejected by a person or people for whom I made sacrifices.
* having someone I care about be treated unjustly with my requests to stop such action going ignored.
* trying my best to please someone but no matter how well I did, it was never good enough.
* recognizing that I am the one who always makes the effort in a relationship, and when I stop giving the relationship ceases.
* giving in a relationship hoping to sustain it, but the other person abruptly terminates it.
* never getting the chance to seek reparation for having been victimized.

What are the negative effects of my unresolved resentment?

When I have unresolved resentment I:

* am touchy or on edge when I am reminded of the person or persons I resent.
* usually deny any anger or hatred against those whom I resent.
* am provoked or angered when I see those whom I resent get recognized and reinforced for their achievements.
* am bothered by my hostile, cynical and sarcastic attitude; it becomes a barrier between me and the people with whom I want to establish a healthy relationship.
* get stuck in my efforts to grow as a person.
* reject all efforts to get me to work on forgiving and forgetting past offenses and hurts.
* resist all attempts to get me to get on with my life, including the suggestion that I have unfinished business with people from my past which needs to be addressed.
* find it difficult to open myself up to trust others, especially in new relationships.
* find it hard to believe that I'll ever be recognized for my competency, worth and abilities.
* tend to overcompensate in my efforts to be successful.

What irrational thinking underlies my resentment?

* No matter what I do, it is never good enough, so why try?
* People are out to get me so, I'll reject them before they reject me.
* There is no use in resolving unfinished business with people from my past who mistreated me.
* Everyone is out to get me.
* Hard work, a clean life and treating people fairly is a waste of time; it has never paid off for me.
* There is no way I can forgive or forget my negative past.
* I'll never win at anything I try; I've always lost up until now.
* There are the "haves" and the "have nots," and I'm a have not guaranteed to be a loser.
* My life should at least be fair.
* It is better to grin and bear it; I'll never get anywhere with an open, honest approach.
* What's done is done, so let it be.
* I've never been given a break in the past; why should I expect anything different now?
* It's all a matter of politics: who you know and what you have to bow down to that determines your fate.
* It's who you know rather than what you are that determines your success.
* Why is it that people with fewer talents, who work less and struggle little, always seem to get ahead while I remain stuck.
* The price of hard work and effort seems to be failure and disappointment for me.
* There's always going to be someone who will guarantee that I'll be unsuccessful.
* They are all alike; why try to win them over or be nice to them.
* It will never change; why try to alter the situation between me and them.
* There are always people more talented, prettier and more competent standing in the wings to take my place.

How can I overcome resentment?

Techniques I can use to rid myself of resentment include:

* admitting to myself that there is unresolved resentment behind my hostile, cynical and sarcastic attitude; and deciding to rid myself of it.
* doing private anger work-out toward the people I resent.
* writing a letter in which I detail all of the reasons for my resentment, but not mailing it.
* identifying the "hot buttons" that indicate the presence of resentment in me and working at defusing their impact.
* working at a rational outlook on my past life so that it isn't a chain around my neck in the future.
* listing those for whom I've got resentment and systematically working at forgiving and forgetting their past offenses.
* improving my self-esteem and self-worth; looking only to myself for approval and recognition.
* working with my support network to identify when I slip back into resentment over my past.
* developing self-affirmations and positive self-visualizations to overcome my negative outlook on life.
* re-establishing myself in pursuits in which I excelled, but dropped due to lack of perceived success.
* working at being a winner in what I do best.
* believing in myself to be a winner in life.

Steps in overcoming resentment

Step 1: To overcome any resentment I have against a person or people in my life I first need to identify who they are and what they did to make me resentful. I need to answer the following questions in my journal:

A. Toward whom in my past or present do I hold any level of resentment?
B. What did each of these people do to hurt, offend or victimize me?
C. How real or imagined are these offenses?
D. What has the specific resentment against each of these people done to my attitude about me and my future?
E. How paralyzed am I in my efforts toward personal growth by the resentment I carry toward each of these people?

Step 2: Once I've identified each person I have resentment against and the extent to which this resentment has affected me, I need to develop a new way of looking at my past, present and future life. To do this I need to answer the following questions in my journal:

A. What irrational thinking am I locked into because of my resentment?
B. How will ridding myself of resentment help me to develop a positive belief system in my life?
C. How can I loosen the bonds and open myself in anger work-outs over those I resent?
D. What blocks my attempts to express my anger openly?
E. How hard am I working at overcoming my blocks to anger?
F. What new behavior do I need to develop to freely express my anger and rid myself of energy-draining resentment?
G. What new rational thinking do I need to develop to overcome the negative impact of my resentment?
H. How will my life be positively impacted by getting rid of my resentment?
I. What new behavior do I need to develop to ensure that new resentment doesn't arise?
J. What new attitudes and approaches do I need to develop after ridding myself of resentment?

Step 3: Now that I've considered a change in attitude and belief system, I need to:

A. Write in my journal a letter (I will never mail these letters so I can be as brutally honest and straight forward in them) to each person I resent. In it list all real or imagined offenses.
B. Explain for myself why each person treated me badly. Was it real or imagined?
C. Forgive each person, let go and forget the offenses.

Step 4: Once I've let go of all of my resentment through forgiving and forgetting, I need to visualize my life, present and future, without the negative impact of resentment. I need to log this vision in my journal and affirm its reality daily.

Step 5: If I am still bogged down by the negative effects of resentment, then I need to go back to Step 1 and begin again.


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