Resentment is a powerful, negative emotion characterized by a feeling of being treated unfairly. This injustice may real or perceived and can be due to feeling you are not given the respect, admiration, importance, consideration or affection that you are due.
It is a destructive emotion that rarely goes away on its own because there is very little motivation to change it. Emotions like anger produce a significant amount of adrenaline that, after a while, exhausts the body and the anger slowly fades away. Resentment does not have the same effect on the body and thus can remain unresolved and persist for years.
Most people feel resentful at one time or another but for some, this emotion becomes habitual and a way of being as opposed to a reaction to a specific event. Chronic resentment, then, acts as a magnet for future resentment. It gravely distorts thinking so that every new incident of perceived unfairness becomes magnified and added onto the existing resentment.
Overtime, the resentment builds to the point where the person does not remember how to not respond resentfully to any forms of injustice. In it’s worst forms, resentful people begin to predict the future based on their resentful past by assuming that people will continue to treat them unfairly.
Habitual, unresolved resentment leaves the person in a bad mood on a regular basis, allowing them to be extra sensitive to any injustice no matter how big or small. In addition, things that have nothing to do with the individual also begin to feel like injustices like someone else taking the open parking spot, traffic, the or even the weather. Other people’s behaviors and opinions, even if they are not related to the resentful individual, may also trigger a feeling of unfairness. It can be the source of passive aggressive behavior or even emotional and physical abuse.
When this happens, chronic resentment can permanently damage marriage, parent-child relationships, friendships and professional connections. It can take a toll on work productivity and intimacy. Even worse, it can have long term effects on an individual’s physical health and overall wellbeing.
What do you think about resentment?