“Expectations are resentments waiting to happen”
Have you ever heard that expression – because I’ve heard it over and over for twenty years in recovery. Resentments sound bad and they are bad. They’re destructive to your daily well-being and happiness and can increase anxiety, especially if you have anxiety. But, let’s back up. What is resentment? Resentment is defined as,
A complex, multilayered emotion that has been described as a mixture of disappointment, disgust, anger, and fear. Other psychologists consider it a mood or as a secondary emotion that can be elicited in the face of insult and/or injury
What Causes These Angry And Hurt Feelings
Resentments are caused by a sense of wrongdoing or injustice. Many situations can end in resentment but they usually start with someone feeling used, abused, taken advantage of, humiliated, shamed, jealous, envious, etc. Basically, resentments live with our lesser emotions and serve little purpose except to make us unhappy. Personally, resentments also make me quite obsessive. I can overthink a situation I’m unhappy about for weeks.
What Happens When You Can’t Let Go Of Feeling Wronged
Well, depends on the person and resentments. They don’t go away on their own so at worst, without thinking or talking about them, you’re not giving yourself a chance to feel happy, joyous and free. You probably won’t be able to unburden your brain from worry and that can lead to all kinds of things. Resentments can certainly wear down relationships, if not destroy them altogether. They can also disrupt your mental health and wellness. Some people can also make themselves physically sick with anything from anxiety to headaches, stomach aches, ulcers, and worse.
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The first thing to healing resentments
is figuring out what they are covering. Do you feel hurt, embarrassed, jealous, unseen? Once you identify the feelings below the resentment, you might see this all stems from fear, sadness, or vulnerability. Learning to be OK with those feelings is the first step to dealing with resentment.
There are many tools that can help manage and heal resentment. Talking to someone trustworthy who has good judgment will always add a useful perspective. Learning to see if you have any part of what happened will also be painful but a growth experience. For me, I realized, I often did have a part in the outcome of situations I was unhappy with. There are other outlets such as journaling, or using exercise or meditation. The goal is to learn new behaviors and replace the old ones with healthier new ones.
Instead of jumping into jealousy or anger, learn to pause and exercise before you react. Talk to someone and find out if you’re seeing things clearly. And, always be accountable for what you bring to the table.
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