I am tired today… the following is a repost.
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-=[ Resentment ]=-
“Sadly, some folks want others to feel their pain, to hurt as much as they do — or more. My grandmother once told me to avoid colds and angry people whenever I could. It’s sound advice.” — Walter Anderson
“Resentment is a lot like pissing on yourself: no one feels it but you and you end up stinking up the place.” — Eddie
Our problems with anger and our relationship issues go hand in hand. In my work, I have found anger to be a highly misunderstood emotion. Because of this misunderstanding some of us cope with anger by holding it in, eventually leading to resentment. Others turn to venting their anger and becoming abusive. Many others are so frightened of anger that they end up closing off the dialogue in their relationships when angry feelings come out.
Anger can be a form of violence and it often has its roots in shame. No matter how I present this idea, no matter how much I use people’s own experiences to help them understand this important dynamic, they don’t get it. On a physical level, responses to anger release stress hormones that were initially developed to help us survive. Sometimes it leads to the fight or flight syndrome — a state of high alert. After a lifetime of constantly being in flight or fight mode, is it any wonder that we literally destroy our hearts? Stress kills — really.
Anybody here remember the scene in the Jerry Maguire film where Tom Cruise’s character bursts into his love interest’s living room determined to confess his love (with the vomit-inducing line “You complete me…”) only to be confronted by a divorced women’s group? In the film, that group is little more than an excuse for bitching sessions. Bitching — or better put — resentment — is merely a form of frozen anger.
Many people believe that if you don’t vent your anger that something bad will happen to you, but closer inspection of venting reveals that it’s just as bad as holding it in. Venting is practicing to be angry, does nothing for your peace of mind, and reinforces unhealthy responses to anger. Yet people believe you will explode or disintegrate or some such nonsense if you don’t vent.
Resentment is anger that has been stuck in your spiritual GI tract, causing spiritual constipation. I think both men and women do this: we get stuck with our anger and lash out at the “losers” who have made us unhappy. Bitching/ venting/ resentment is the language of “woundology” at its best.
S/he hurt me! Waaaaahhh! Look at my wounds!
When you hold on to resentment for another person, you are binding yourself to that person by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. That’s why I feel many forms of psychodynamic approaches to therapy fail: they get stuck in revisiting the past, creating stronger linkages to trauma as a result. ‘Sides, insight doesn’t matter — you will find countless ways to justify and rationalize your resentment until it eats your core.
Still others have wasted energy by focusing anger on people who weren’t really important to them. The question that stands out in my mind is do we truly want them to become so important. An individual spent a lot of time saying bad things about me — to the point of character assassination. Someone asked me one day what I thought of the person and my answer was that I didn’t. On the other hand, perhaps our important relationships became frozen because we weren’t open and respectful with our anger.
The fact of the matter is that it isn’t possible to be close to someone without being angry at times. We invite and allow our loved ones to be part of our lives by feeling our anger when it is there and expressing it openly, directly, and respectfully to them — or by hearing them when they are angry. The only way to transform anger — which is only an energy transfer — is to feel it. Venting or suppressing our anger are ways to deny the experience of anger. It’s an avoidance strategy. Actually experiencing our anger helps us create the necessary space in which to create a dialogue that will help us to let it go.