What is resentment? Have you ever been on the receiving end of a bitter, angry person? But rather than them being open about what is bothering them or speaking to you directly they act in a underhand way that leaves us feeling confused, is it something we’ve done without realising it?  And then they choose to behave in a more passive-aggressive manner?

By ways of

  • Being ignored or given the “silent treatment”
  • Sarcastic remarks and putdowns
  • Talking to others behind your back in an abusive way towards your character
  • “Trolling” you online
  • Lying
  • Agreeing with you but not feeling that as their truth

Often jealousy plays a significant part of the reason behind such behaviours. Or, something they have perceived you to have done to hurt them in some way, leaving them with a feeling of injustice or wrongdoing. It may be that they feel taken advantage of, of not being recognised, or they feel some discrimination.

Resentment is the opposite of gratitude, and if the feelings are not dealt with it, they only increase and can eventually lead to thoughts of wanting to seek revenge on the other person. It is one of the most toxic emotions we can experience as a human, and it will affect our behaviour in other areas of our life if not addressed.

How might the person experiencing resentment feel?

  • Consistent feelings and thoughts of an angry or bitter nature
  • Ruminating over a specific event or person
  • Avoidance of conflict (therefore the passive aggression comes in)
  • Tense relationships
  • Regrets
  • Physically sick as the emotion “eats away”

How to heal these feelings of resentment?

  • Write out a forgiveness letter to the person and one to yourself, and then burn or rip up to release the feelings and energy surrounding it
  • Think loving thoughts towards the person you feel resentment for and remind yourself of all of their good points. Do this repeatedly while you are feeling in pain.
  • Examine your own motives and expectations – was their an underlying thought that has triggered the situation? Be honest with yourself about it
  • Write out a gratitude list for all of the things, people and opportunities in your life that you are currently grateful to have. This helps you to move into a good feeling and away from feelings of bitterness.
  • Do something that you really enjoy, and that makes you laugh. Replace your attention on joy rather than anger.
  • Put yourself into the shoes of the person you have angry feelings towards. Are they struggling with inner demons? (most people are!) Ask yourself if you can feel compassion towards them?
  • Allow yourself to feel the feelings and move through them. Don’t resist them, or they will only increase.
  • Try regular calming mediation or try practising the forgiveness ritual of ho’oponopono to help with forgiveness and reconciliation
  • Talk to a trusted person, and if you don’t have that person in your life, you can reach out to a counsellor or therapist such as myself to help you to work through these painful feelings.