Resentment & Anger Management

Reading Level: Gratifying

Resentment not dealt with is a roadblock to emotional and physical healing.

Resentment usually results from a lack of dealing with conflicts. This doesn’t necessarily mean you must resolve the conflict with the other person; sometimes, that isn’t possible, especially if the person is volatile or hostile. However, you must deal with your feelings toward the past conflict in your own mind. As will be mentioned later in this post, emotional and physical ailments result from not coming to terms with past events and dealing with your resentment.

The first step in ridding yourself of resentment is to own up to your own choices.

As the old saying goes, “It takes two to tangle.” By admitting to the mistakes you made in the situation, it enables you to stop the blame game-to stop your focus of solely blaming the other person for your problems. This does not condone the other person’s harmful behavior toward you. This does not mean that you pretend that such behavior is wrong. However, instead of being focused on solely blaming the other person, you take responsibility for your own poor choices. For example, maybe you chose to get into an abusive relationship by ignoring the warning signs. Or, maybe the conflict arose because you insisted on discussing a difficult topic when you knew the other person was too tired or ill. Or, if you are a compliant dealing with a controlling person, you need to admit that you “allowed” the other person to control you and did something that you later resented when, instead, you should have set boundaries by refusing to do what you knew was not in your best interest. If your resentment stems from being over-giving to loved ones or over-involved in a good cause, again you need to admit your own fault in not setting healthy limits instead of feeling resentful that no one else stopped you or tried to help carry the load you chose. When you reflect on the situation causing resentment, do you catch yourself saying phrases such as, “I had to…” or “They made me…” If so, you are ignoring your personal responsibility. You are in control of your own choices, whether you “feel” like it or not. If you make decisions based on winning someone’s approval or due to guilty feelings, resentment will follow. You are the one who lives with the consequences of your decisions, so you must make choices that you are happy to live with.

Decide now what the limits should be from this point on in the relationships that are causing resentment.

Remember that giving is supposed to be a gift of love, not done because of someone else’s insistence, manipulation, temper, or the guilty feelings you get by saying “no” to their unreasonable desires. God reminds us that the principle of giving out of love, not compulsion, is just as necessary in our relationship with Him as with others. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7).” If it is a friend or loved one who won’t take responsibility for jobs that are theirs to be done, or procrastinate and then expect you to use your time to bail them out, decide now if these are situations you should help with at all and how much help you can give cheerfully so you will live free of resentment. Realize that the person will very likely not be happy about these new boundaries because they have developed a pattern of life of other people doing their responsibilities for them; it is possible that their personality is so controlling that no one has ever said “No” to their unreasonable requests. That person may have wants and needs, but so do you. To have a loving relationship, we must respect each other’s limits. Your limits must be carefully decided by you because you are the only person who knows what you can give-in the areas of emotional support, time, energy, etc.-and still have time for your own mental, physical, and spiritual health, and what you want to give (are able to do and still feel positive about the situation). Only by realizing your limits and living by them can you avoid repeating and deepening already existing resentment.

Other steps to proper anger management are also beneficial to rid your life of resentment.

I’d like to direct you to further reading by Dr. Dorothy Neddermeyer. I’ve referred you to an article by her before. Here are a few quotes from her article and the link below to the full post.

Approximately 70% of people have a tendency to suppress anger. In other words, they bottle it up and lash out later…Given the statistics, there is a 90% chance that you may not be communicating your anger in a compassionate way. What happens when anger is not communicated compassionately? In other words, what is the effect of either suppressive or aggressive anger behavior? Aside from destroying relationships and careers, the physical health affect of inappropriate anger management can be deadly. My review of the medical literature over the past 30 years on the effect of inappropriate anger behavior health suggests a direct link with heart disease, arthritis, MS, high blood pressure, cancer, and strokes to name a few…As you can readily see, anger is not simply an unpleasant emotion. It can have a deadly influence on your health. However, note that anger per se is not the problem. It is what you do with the anger.

Communicating anger compassionately requires a two-step process.

Step I: Communicate with yourself by reframing your anger. Instead of blaming the other person or event when you are angry, ask the question, “What is my anger teaching me about myself?” You need to shift the negative focus off the ‘other’ person or event and direct the questions to yourself…Think of your anger as a doorway to some virtue that you need to learn. It could be that you need to learn personal responsibility, a greater sense of self-esteem, compassion or creativity.

Step II: Communicate assertively with others…Your goal is to achieve a sense of peace at the end of the conversation by having a better understanding of the person and the situation. [The article contains a long list of steps to do this.]

[Step III] If a person has left your life and you are unable to express your feelings, what can you do? In this case, communicate through forgiveness. To forgive means that you erase a negative memory or picture of someone with a positive one. It does not mean condoning someone’s negative actions or letting them off the hook. It merely means that you will no longer hold any anger towards them. Forgiveness is for your healing and your well being…Until you forgive, the blocked energy of resentment will remain within you. Either of two things will happen: it might materialize as disease, or angry events will occur in the future in order that you learn the lesson of forgiveness. This is why forgiveness is so important.

Read Dr. Dorothy’s full article on Anger Management here.


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3 Responses to “Resentment & Anger Management”

  1. Life Coaching - Maia Berens Says:

    I’d add, learn how to deal with old, unresolved anger and all of the above suggestions will be easier.

  2. anger management Says:

    If resentment can be controlled, anger can be re-directed.
    With spiritual help, resentment can be dealt with on a manageable level.

  3. Maude Tauares Says:

    Awesome post. Bookmarked for future reference! You can visit my site on how to deal with anger. Shared some useful tips over there :)

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