A universal feeling that often gets uncovered in coaching sessions is resentment. This sometimes covert feeling can really eat away at someone and linger if it is not addressed, so I thought it would be helpful to define it and start to talk about ways to work with it so it doesn’t cause further harm.
According to Google, resentment is:
the feeling of displeasure or indignation at some act, remark, person, etc., regarded as causing injury or insult.
I also believe that resentment comes from the belief that we are entitled to something, or an injustice has occurred and often keeps occurring. There can be a lasting effect, meaning the person continues to do things that you continue to feel resentment over, thus building and building over time.
For example, in a relationship, we can start getting angry or frustrated with a partner who does less housework. We become envious of them sitting on the couch and relaxing while we are vacuuming and doing the dishes, and as time progresses, this anger and frustration turn to resentment. Or a parent who seems to show more love and affection to another child. The build-up of seeing this repeatedly can raise the intensity of the resentment.
Like many issues I help clients work through, the first step is always the awareness of your feeling states.
Since resentment builds over time, it is important to see if that anger and frustration are the beginning signs of resentment.
Once we can witness the resentment both cognitively and somatically, it can be so helpful to say out loud to yourself or a coach or mentor what it is you are resentful about and allow yourself to feel that resentment with someone trained to hold the space for it.
Often, we avoid or repress this feeling because it doesn’t always feel good in the body, so giving it the floor can be super helpful in helping it move through you and dissipate.
Once your resentment has had time in the spotlight, then we can start to explore options for moving forward in a way that feels more empowering. For some people, this involves communicating with their partner more. Or expressing and requesting someone to stop doing something or to do more of something.
Suppose the person is no longer in the person’s life or has passed. In that case, it can be very therapeutic to let go of the belief that the person in the past “should have done something differently,” accepting the reality of the situation and finding the lessons and wisdom from it can help someone be free of this resentment.
Every situation is different, but I invite you to at least explore if your anger and irritation are leading to any resentful feelings. Often there is an opportunity for acceptance, forgiveness, and boundary setting once we uncover what you want more or less of in a relationship.
If you would like to explore private coaching with me around this topic, I welcome you to reach out and schedule a 1:1 call with me.
Enjoy the rest of your week.
Melanie Shmois, MSSA, LISW-S, is a licensed social worker, holding a Master’s Degree (MSSA) from Case Western Reserve University and a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Spanish. After spending 2 decades helping others achieve their mental and personal goals, Melanie worked with Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo, and became a certified Life and Weight Coach through the Life Coach School.