What is resentment?

Resentment. You most likely have felt it before at one point or another in your life. Although
resentment is a rather complex emotion, most people feel some sense of anger, disappointment,
bitterness, and hard feelings. Most of the time, resentment will come out of an experience (s) of
feeling as though there has been some form of unfair treatment. Resentment may occur on a personal
level within your relationships or on a broader level, such as feeling strongly about a political topic.
A person experiencing resentment may feel personally victimized but may be too angry or
ashamed to discuss the resulting emotions, which may lead to a grudge if not otherwise
addressed. Your emotions are valid and are telling you something important, so it’s vital to
explore this emotion more in depth.

How do I know I am holding resentment?

  • Continual or recurring feelings of a strong negative emotion when thinking about an
  • experience, a person or a situation
  • Feeling triggered when interacting with a person, experience or situation
  • Feelings of anger
  • Feeling that you are being treated unfairly or with injustice
  • Feeling like you give more than you receive or are being taken advantage of
  • Feeling yourself “keeping score” in any relationship

How to deal with resentment

Making peace with something that has happened or a person that you feel has harmed you can be
incredibly difficult. Typically, resentment is detrimental on your own mental health, which is
why it is imperative to work through the situation and the emotions. Here are some tips on where
to start.

  1. Create boundaries: If you feel as though things are unfair, are there boundaries you
    can set to make the playing field feel more even for yourself? If you feel “taken
    advantage of” why are you allowing yourself to be taken advantage of? You might
    find benefit in individual therapy if you are having a hard time with boundary setting
    to explore the reasons why you have a difficult time.
  2. Communicate: If something is bothering you, the other party might not even know!
    You can truly do wonders by letting people know how you feel in an empathetic and
    kind way. Recognizing the cause of the resentment is a great first step. That way,
    when communicating, you will be able to be clear about the way you feel and the
    way(s) you are being impacted.
  3. Empathy: Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. This is a great perspective
    shift on resentment that might allow you to understand where the person is coming

from or why the acted the way they did. With this, you will be able to have more of a
forgiving perspective of the situation, allowing yourself to heal and move on.

  1. Notice your own triggers: Where is this resentment coming from? If you are able to
    explore your own reaction to a situation, you will better understand why you feel the
    way you do, which can be validating. Take a moment to pause and figure out if you
    are being triggered because of something bigger that happened in the past. If so, it
    might be a good idea to explore this with yourself or a mental health professional.
    As always, emotions can be complex! It’s important to listen to how you feel and explore
    the reasons behind any emotion.


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