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Dealing with Resentment

“Resentment is like drinking poison hoping the other person will die.” I’ve heard this quote lots of times. Therapists have relayed these words, 12-step meetings, support groups of all types, perhaps even in the church. I understood what it meant and have tried to take it to heart whenever I feel like the world (and/or specific individuals) are coming down on me. The point of the quote is to help us understand the futility of resentment and negative feelings towards those that we have perceived have wronged us.

How does resentment begin?

One of the most common themes here on the site is that no one understands. I even saw someone post the other day they felt that their family wanted proof that they were actually sick. Does this type of behavior breed resentment? You can bet your bottom dollar. So how do we let go of these negative feelings when we already aren’t feeling strong or good or even functional some of the time? It’s very hard, but in the end, even if we can channel some of that negative energy towards our own healing process, it might just have a very positive effect.

Who do I feel resentment toward? Probably a lot of the same people you do. An ex-boyfriend or girlfriend. Your boss. The people who are getting ahead of you at work because you are not 100% health-wise because of your IBS and/or illnesses. OH, and the family. That seems to be the big one. The ‘no one understands’ factor. So, as you can see, there is a lot of resentment floating around. A lot of poison taken in.

How I deal with resentment

For me, the first thing I take to heart is really the crux of the statement. The nasty feelings, rumination, envy, jealousy, and frustration are causing us the problems; not them. In some cases, you will find the odd empathetic soul that will sit down with you and deeply try to understand what you are going through. Mostly you’ll either get sympathy or apathy. That may sound cynical, but for the purposes of this point, it’s true. They do not care as much as you do. They are not lying awake at night worried about it like you are. So, what does that tell you? You have to get rid of it one way or the other in order to feel better. And as bad as we feel already, we need all the help we can get.

I am a big fan of therapy. At one point I went every week for six years. There are all kinds of therapy and I have gone into a lot of them in some of my other articles. Therapy helps a lot with learning to cope with resentment. So does meditation and yoga, if you are into that sort of thing. Exercise, hobbies, self-empowerment books…whatever works for you. But, it’s important that we deal with it because ultimately we aren’t hurting anyone but ourselves.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.