Resentment is an easy trap to fall into. A boss piling on the work and turning down a raise request can start the ball rolling. Working hard to keep the house clean and provide a healthy meal for your family is another area. After all, the family will only make the house messy again and complain about not having pizza for dinner. Anything done without appreciation from others is a potential problem.
What happens when we do slip into the trap of resentment? A lot of bad things and some of them could threaten your health.
Poor Care: This can be poor self care or it can be poor care of another. If you resent what is happening, the attitude shift can have a tremendous impact on you, your work and your family.
Bad Attitude: Do you find yourself snarling at any request? I’ve done that, and when I have the background goes straight to resentment. This doesn’t just hurt the person or thing that is causing resentment, it hurts everyone. It can ruin relationships.
Hidden Anger: Most of us know when we’re angry. There is a specific reason or even list of reasons. I’ve known people to start yelling about the most recent activity and pretty much go back to how long they were in labor (yep, mostly female on this one).
Resentment can hide that anger. There isn’t a real specific action or conversation to hang it on. There isn’t a clear list of misbehavior. It just is, but it’s too tenuous to see.
Increased Stress: All of this will increase stress levels. Stress causes harm to the body, so this subtle thief is taking your health along with your mood, attitude and relationships with others.
Going Postal: There is a relationship between resentment and violence. It comes via the hidden anger which has been left stewing too long. It doesn’t matter what is causing the resentment. On a large scale, it could be societal. Riots have broken out because of resentment and hidden anger. It could be on a small scale; vandalism or a fist fight.
The bottom line here is that resentment should be recognized and resolved. Each of us should spend some time, particularly if we find ourselves in a bad mood, looking for what is making us feel that way. If we can do that honestly, a means of resolving the emotion can prevent itself.
Ask yourself: did the boss pile on more work just to spite me? Is my lack of a raise because I’m not appreciated? The answer may be that your boss is doing even more work and the company is unable to afford more pay. If the answer is that the action is purposeful, then it may be time to look for a new job. Don’t stay in the bad situation; make the necessary changes.
With the house and dinner, think about it. Do you think your family looks at you as Cinderella or is it that kids tend to be messy and hate vegetables? If it’s the former, sit down and institute new (fair) house rules. If it’s the latter…do the same thing. Children need boundaries and you don’t need the stress.
Resentment is a subtle thief, but it can be caught and banished. It takes work and it takes the ability to analyze events. If you can’t do this for yourself, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor. A counseling session or two can give you the tools you need to defeat resentment and kick it out of your life.