What is resentment?

Resentment, in clinical psychology, is a painful combination of anger, sense of unfairness, regret, sadness, and disappointment. It is complex.

Causes of resentment:

    • feeling that your life was unfair in comparison to others within your peer or family group.
    • pretending like everything‘s OK when it’s not.
    • not being assertive about your needs.
    • being there for others and finding that they are not there for you.
    • saying yes to something when you wanted to say no.
    • being treated as the strong one all the time.
    • finding that the situation has not changed even though you expressed yourself honestly.
    • feeling used.
    • repetitively being told that you should be grateful. 
    • continuing in relationships where you feel less than important.
    • being the person that people call primarily when they need something.
    • feeling temporary; receiving attention during a crisis, only to be ignored when things are at baseline.
    • finding your ideas and work credited to others.
    • not resting or giving yourself downtime
    • constantly being the initiator, planner, organizer in your relationships.
    • not receiving positive feedback: ‘no news is good news’.
    • not feeling heard.

Ignoring resentment does not make it go away. It impacts the way that you interact with others, from avoidance to passive aggressive behaviors. The surge of resentment you feel is a signal of something that needs to be acknowledged. With self-compassion, it’s worth a look.

Also see Doors Behind Door: Secondary Emotions.

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