Resentment is the feeling of bitterness, anger, or hatred resulting from a real or imagined wrong. The key difference between resentment, anger and contempt stems from how a person perceives the status of the wrong-doer.
Resentment is directed at people with perceived higher status;
Anger is directed at people with perceived equal status;
Contempt is directed at people with perceived lower status.
Resentment is often triggered by an expression of humiliation or rejection by another person with real or imagined power. There is a feeling of being used, taken advantage of, or being unrecognized for achievements while others succeed without equal merit.
When people feel they have no power to address unfair or demeaning behavior, negative feelings get internalized. Bitterness further causes others to overlook or reject them. So by stewing on negative feelings, resentment compounds the problem of being belittled and marginalized.
Thus, working on personal authority is key to eliminating feelings of resentment.
To enhance your own self-empowerment:
• Recognize people who take advantage of you. Try to limit your exposure to them.
• Learn to speak up for yourself in a positive way, without being defensive or petty.
• Own your own achievements, while avoiding the extremes of excessive humility and being a braggart.
by Alison Poulsen, PhD