Recognizing signs of Resentment:
1. Using phony friendliness to cover your true feelings.
2. Speaking sarcastically about the person resented.
3. Speaking in a demeaning way about the person resented.
4. Expressing agitation and unexpected anger for no apparent reason.
Effects of Resentment:
Resentment is most painful when it is felt toward a person you’re close to, such as a parent, good friend, or spouse. If you don’t overcome feelings of powerlessness, you might develop a cynical, hostile attitude.
Cynicism and hostility seem to protect a person by lowering his or her expectations in relationships. But they also cause the heart to close itself off, keeping a person from love and intimacy.
A healthier way to deal with resentment is to figure out how you may have participated in letting someone treat you unfairly to avoid repeating the same pattern. Sometimes people have no choice in their situations, as for example, being a child in an abusive family. But in many cases, we unwittingly allow situations to become unfair.
Here are some questions to help figure out how to avoid resentment in the future:
1. Is the unfair treatment real or imagined? If real, why did the other person treated you badly?
2. Why do you hesitate to respond with more personal power? Are you afraid of conflict? Do you feel undeserving? How is your lack of personal power hurting you more than possible disapproval or loss?
3. Are you afraid to speak up for yourself because you tend to become defensive and make things worse? How could you learn to speak up assertively—with a positive attitude?
4. How would your life improve if you were to eliminate your resentment?
When people let go of resentment and learn to speak up for themselves without bitterness, they gain confidence and optimism. In turn, others are LESS likely to treat them unfairly, and if they do, they won’t get away with it.
Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.
~Viktor E. Frankl
by Alison Poulsen, PhD