Dr. Tarra Bates-Duford
The Damaging Effects of Resentment
Feelings of resentment can create conflicting and confusing emotions, leading to increased frustrations and distress. Resentment refers to the mental process of repetitively replaying or ruminating on negative feelings, thoughts, and events leading to the triggering of maddening or otherwise angering feelings. Unlike, a lot of other emotions once resentment starts to build we begin to ignore the facts, or the pertinent details. Unfortunately, we re-experience negative emotions and events in ways that affect us emotionally, psychologically, physically, and spiritually in very destructive ways. Failure to manage and reconcile negative feelings associated unpleasant situations, people, and events can lead to one’s inability to overcome resentment; creating barriers to repairing relationships, improving mood, and healthy mental functioning.
Resentment often feels like an involuntary response – it may feel as if we have no choice but to feel resentful when a highly distressing event occurs – however, the truth is it is a choice, and there is a way to let go and manage feelings appropriately. Feeling resentful has a powerful effect on your physical, emotional and mental health. The effects of resentment are also detrimental to all other areas of your life, including but not limited to mood, productivity, concentration, memory, vocational, romantic, social, and familial relationships. Intense feelings of resentment affect the choices and decisions we make, the way we react to people and situations, the way we communicate with others, and the way we conduct ourselves overall.
Effects of Resentment- Physical Health
Your body goes into stressed state known as flight, freeze, or flight.
Increased heart rate
Blood is redirected from organs to limbs (when you are in a physical confrontation, running, etc.)
Being in a prolonged state of emergency can lead to physical distress, illness, or disease
Effects of Resentment- Emotional Health
Difficulty enjoying things, people, and events once enjoyed
Difficulty managing and stabilizing mood
Difficulty trusting others
Difficulty feeling love, gratitude and kindness since the stress hormones are literally flooding one’s system.
Emotional reactions and communication with others are all negatively affected by the state of resentment
Effects of Resentment – Mental Health
Difficulty processing feelings and events
Find it difficult to concentrate or remember things
Have trouble problem solving, recognizing an issue, or understanding the true impact of the problem
Increased feelings of anger and anxiety
Difficulty making decisions
Difficulty recognizing opportunities
While resentment is an overwhelming emotion, there is a way to free yourself from it unto healthy functioning. The fueling and maintenance of resentment is well within our control. Although, we cannot always control our environment or the people around us we can control how we respond to negative people and events. It is important to recognize and approach resentment as an addictive state of mind, using it to ruminate on undesirable and distressing people and events. Resentment should be examined in the context of the events, situations, and people in our lives as well as our reaction to them. Learn to identify potential triggers that can provoke or make resentment more likely to occur. When feelings of resentment develop, practicing cognitive behavioral techniques can help us reduce and or stop indulging in resentment.
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