Resentment is a deep and self-destructive emotion. It is awakened in us by the actions of those we perceive to have hurt us or those we love. We think that we are justified to hate, or harbor rage against, someone who has hurt us deeply enough to create these emotions. We believe that they deserve it and are made to suffer by our hatred of them. We tend to think that they will be cursed this way, but in reality, those feelings change who we are. They change our heart and mind. These emotions can spread so widely and consume all other positive emotions in our heart due to which our behavior could be either external (aggression) or internal (deep bitterness). Hence, we at Parvarish Recovery Center give a great deal of importance to process resentments that our clients hold.
What might cause resentment?
Few of the causes that might evoke resentment are:
- When we expect other people to make us happy, and they don’t.
- When we agree to things we don’t want to.
- When we have undisclosed expectations of other people.
- When we fear confrontation, deny or devalue our needs and thus don’t get them met.
- When we try to control people and things, over which we have no authority.
- When we are nonassertive while communicating; i.e., we hint, blame, nag, accuse, etc.
- When we don’t set boundaries to stop abuse or behavior we don’t want.
- When we deny reality, and therefore, want people to meet our needs who have shown that they won’t or can’t.
Characteristics of resentful people?
People who are resentful always hold on to the things that hurt them like burning pieces of wood they can’t seem to let go of. They do this in order to throw those things back at the people who hurt them anytime they please. The amusing thing is that, by doing this, they only end up hurting themselves. There’s nothing positive about holding on to that burning hatred and anger for so long.
Another thing that’s usually a part of this menacing formula is revenge. Even though it sounds physically aggressive, it isn’t meant in a direct or violent way. All they want is the other person to get a taste of their own medicine and feel bad about what they did. Our team of clinical psychologists and therapists at P-R-C addresses all the resentment our clients hold, and help the clients process those feelings in a healthy way.
Following characteristics might be seen in people who have resentful feelings:
- Inability to forgive
All of us know that forgiving isn’t the easiest thing to do. However, we must keep in mind that it’s an important thing to do if we want to get closure and move on with our lives. Resentful people don’t want to forgive anyone. All they do is feed their pain by replaying the triggering event over and over. By doing this, their feelings of despair and anguish amplify.
- Black or white thinking
You’re either with me or against me. You either help me or you’re betraying me. This way of thinking automatically causes cognitive distortion. The worst part is that resentful people don’t even realize they think this way since it becomes so natural for them. Going to extremes is their way of handling everything. They tend to push everyone away because of this.
- Immense pride (ego)
Resentful people are always defensive. They will always find a way to get upset at you, no matter what you do. Even the smallest things make them feel bad about themselves. Thus, it’s not easy to coexist, have a conversation, or reach an agreement with a proud person because you know that, at the end of the day, they’ll take everything personally.
How to let go of resentment?
Here are a few steps that our team at PRC Clifton Karachi finds helpful to let go of resentment:
Step 1: Make a list of all the people you have resentments towards
Step 2: Next to each person’s name, write what they did to cause you to resent them.
Step 3: Now write whatever part of your life each resentment affects.
Step 4: What would you have done if you were in their place? Can you think from their perspective?
Step 5: Keep their behavior/action separate from their character/identity.
Step 6: Next to the reason, or cause for resentment, you are going to write down your part.
We at Drug Rehabilitation Center believe that there is power in forgiveness. Forgiving is about you, not them. You don’t have to have the other person’s cooperation in order to forgive them. Or else people who actually love and care for you might never have the real you. If you allow them to make you hate and resent them, they win. Their judgment will come from a higher power, not you. Forgive them not as a gift to them, but as a gift to you, because you are worth it.