We’ve all felt resentment at some point in our life, but what is it, why does it happen and what does it do to us on a personal level?
I remember years ago when my former boss called me into her office, slid a piece of paper across her desk with a smile of satisfaction and told me that my services were no longer necessary. She had hired me just 7 months prior out of obligation and upon the recommendation of someone who had positional power over her. The problem was that I was a woman of integrity and could not be controlled, browbeaten or manipulated by her.
This threatened her position and her reign, and subsequently, she found a way to terminate me. She was resentful towards me because of my credentialing and because I held strong in my work in terms of doing what was right. Fast forward, and her tyrannical rule governed the fates of dozens of other strong and educated women who simply followed the rules.
Resentment is a negative feeling, an indignation or deep-seeded anger that emerges when an individual believes they have suffered some sort of insult or treated unfairly.
This perceived act is often an expectation based upon judgments or perceived ideals of what others SHOULD be doing instead of what they ARE doing.
In marriage and intimate relationships, resentment is listed as one of the PRIMARY predictors of divorce by marriage experts who have studied intimate relationships and predicted their demise with an over 90% accuracy rate.
If resentment can accurately predict a breakup and divorce, imagine what it can do to the other, less intimate relationships in our lives? Our career, our clients, our family and friendships. Even loose network connections can be burned down because ONE is resentful towards another about their beliefs and practices towards pandemic…just check some of those social media posts!
Resentment is an ugly monster within the soul, emitting poison within ourselves and destroying our own health, wellness and the wellbeing of those around us. It’s not healthy or normal in any capacity.
Why does it exist?
Because resentment is a deep and emotional feeling towards a perceived insult, it exists because it is about US, our wounds, our fears and our miswired circuits! It’s about our OWN insecurities, scarcities and fears! It exists because it’s a significant and organic part of a much deeper and deadly construct that sits within ourselves.
A healthy and normal response to someone being disrespectful or mean to you directly can create a plethora of feelings and emotions. These emotions are the direct response to the brain’s activation of thoughts affiliated with its wiring of the past. This is normal! If someone is demanding of me or attacking me in some manner, my circuits are activated and I begin to process mentally all of the affiliations with these attacks.
From there, I activate the fight or flight response and choose whether or not the threat is REAL and IMMINENT. I choose whether I want to stop it, or can I even stop it, or if I want to release it. It doesn’t mean it’s not painful or hurtful, but I hold 100% power over whether or not I will ALLOW it dominance or space in my life.
What do I mean? When someone speaks down to us directly, we may stand in our power and say ‘please do not ever speak to me in that way again’ or we may internalize their words and create stories or dialog that FEEL familiar to us….that touch on the unhealed emotional wounds. Either way, we respond based on our internal health and process through the emotion in the best way for us, moving onto something bigger and better!
To heal it, we must feel it. My mantra in all things!
However, when our neurological connections are wired based on deep, unhealed hurts of the past, such as neglect, abuse, betrayal, poverty and other traumatic experiences, we often unknowingly assign the affiliated emotions to the same situation without processing through them. These emotions fester deep within, creating rumination, an energy focus on highlighting the incident (whether perceived, falsely created or real) or even the rallying of support of others in order to validate our negative story line (can you believe SHE said THAT?….).
It is within this deep emotional focus of a perceived righteousness against a perceived assault where resentment lives and grows.
And it is pure poison!!! It creates stories and false accusations. It sculpts dialogs and manifests energies. It’s pure evil.
But what does it do to us exactly?
Although the outcomes vary individually, resentment is an excellent and accurate predictor of one’s internal discord and the necrosis of overall health and wellness.
For the more toxic individuals, it can be used to perpetuate fabrications and contortions of a simple story in order to attempt to discredit or undermine an individual (SEE! I TOLD YOU HE WAS OUT TO GET YOU!). It actually grows delusions and paranoia to the point of pouring gasoline over a fruitful garden that simply need to be weeded.
You see this a lot in relationships that have ended or where a betrayal has occurred at some point. Just read my story about the wellness physician who, years
after his divorce from his toxic wife STILL speaks of her with an energy so caustic that it has the potential to attack all bliss in the room.The worst relationship on the planet!
For other folks, resentment becomes a silent cancer eating away at their emotional well-being, and eventually their health. Because they are upset or distressed on such a deep internal level, they tend to hold this energy inside. Clinging to it as a means of false security. As more and more ‘attacks’ or assaults on the individual are perceived or felt, the cancer grows creating a distance or avoidance of the attacker. This might be a man who dislikes a specific man talking to his wife, but never says how he feels or why he feels this way in a healthy manner of communication. He remains silent and watches as his wife continues to grow the possibly unhealthy relationship with the other man. He develops an inner hate towards their interactions and even towards the man. This can cause emotional and physical distancing in his own relationship with his wife, avoiding intimacy or sexual interactions altogether until the relationship is beyond repair.
There are folks who suffer so deeply from resentment, they don’t even realize they are hurting others by ‘stirring’ the pot of what they perceive as righteousness. Maybe they THINK there is an injustice based on their own judgments, and therefore go to someone else and share their beliefs and perceptions.
Where poison didn’t once exist, now it does, and this individual’s resentment feeds the resentment of another until they form a collective union against the unreal ‘threat’. A unified front of resentment. We see this today in individuals who band together against a political party or political belief system.
Resentment towards a political leader current, past or possibly future is normalized in society, even defended and used as a means to eradicate otherwise healthy and beneficial individuals from our lives.
Resentment is directly correlated to:
Firing/lay-offs/quitting a job
Personal health issues
Lack of sleep
Lack of wellness
Anxiety and depression
Condescension/ controlling behaviors
A resentful individual is NOT happy with themselves, therefore they need to locate something within someone else’s life in order to ‘highlight’ and twist in some capacity in order to elevate themselves into a space of POWER or SUPERIORITY. They create betrayal where it doesn’t exist. They falsely believe they are doing righteous work, when in reality they are destroying themselves and the lives of them around them.
The resentful have significant TRUST issues, burning all possibilities of trust in order to ruminate and create injustices to which they can be justified against.
Many of the resentful will REPLAY an injustice over and over and over. They will bring up a past hurtful experience again and again as a means to FEEL a surge of false POWER. It’s a story about how someone months or years ago wronged them.
The old man who breeches everyone’s land. The ex who was materialistic and shallow.
The client who was trying to seduce your spouse.
The guy who cheated on you.
The addicted person from your past.
The time you got fired and put out on your ass.
They become the righteous ones; the victim of a horrible injustice; the one who deserves to act irrationally because of the perceived assault.
Resentment is poison. It is a form of black magic for the resentful individual to use on others because it is a direct spell on someone else, either directly or indirectly.
Recognizing resentment in ourselves and when we are being attacked is necessary. We cannot control or prevent someone else’s inner demons of resentment towards us, but we can identify them by taking notice of their interactions:
*Sarcasm is one of the greatest forms of expression of resentment.
*Turning someone ‘in’ for living their life (I call it tattling with a twist!).
*Assigning meaning to something innocent.
*Treating an individual poorly over and over and over through manipulative means, often never speaking to them about how you truly feel.
*Getting back at someone who hurt you or someone else. Revenge is one of the major red flags of resentment.
*Exerting perceived POWER over an individual (termination, gossip, blocking them from a forum/group, giving them ‘grunt’ work while treating others differently, having contemptuous comments and conversations with them but being kind to others, yelling or demands, sarcasm etc).
The road to resentment is painful, both internally and with others.
Do some inner reflection if you ‘believe’ you are justified in being sarcastic, mean or snarky to someone else. Is this person your spouse or loved one? Are you holding onto paranoia or fear? Are you upset that the individual has something you want?
Are you expressing resentment towards another?