Resentment is an iceberg in a relationship. Where does it come from and why does it destroy everything? | Psychology of life | Health

Choose any person you care about. For example, a spouse, mother, best friend or leader. Why are you mad at him? I won’t believe if the answer is no. Unfortunately, a very small number of people have such a high awareness that they do not take offense at the actions or words of others. But many, wanting to save relationships, have learned to hush up their grievances, discount their painful feelings, or rationalize what happened, thinking that this helps to solve existing difficulties. However, it is not. If we consider the story of a woman who has been legally happily married for more than 20 years, then she will have many grievances from the very first months of dating, which can still negatively affect relations with her spouse.

Resentment is that feeling that imperceptibly creates an insurmountable distance between the most loving people. turned to Gestalt therapist Alla Bazhanto find out in more detail about the mechanism of the occurrence of resentment and the way out of the state of an offended person.

How is resentment formed?

Adults become touchy because they were traumatized in childhood by the behavior of loved ones. Children are born pure, innocent beings. They do not have knowledge of how things should be, but there is a need for love and acceptance. Unfortunately, the child’s psyche on its own does not cope very well with the fact that, for example, the older sister did not want to take the younger one into her company, or the father went fishing with friends, or the mother was late at work and did not buy a toy. Despite the fact that each of these people could have good reasons and in no case did they have malicious intent, the child interprets such situations in his own way, as a rule, not in his favor. At such moments, in the ideal picture of the world, there should be an adult who will regret, support, explain the feelings of the child and say: “I am there. I am very sorry that this happened. Sometimes it happens. I see that you are offended. I love you”. Thanks to the attention, words and hugs of an adult, the strong feelings of the child that have risen are lived in the moment and the pain goes away, and the resentment dissipates.

However, quite often it happens differently, and resentment remains unexperienced, stuck in the human psyche. If the mother or other adults do not have developed emotional intelligence, the baby who comes for help hears instead of words of support: “Pay no attention. Find yourself something else to do.” Don’t blame an adult for this. Saying such words, he sincerely believes that it helps. Nobody taught him to express his love differently, and, most likely, in his childhood he heard the same words. And besides, the main task that faced previous generations was to survive: to feed, clothe and teach. Now parents go to the other extreme: they try to anticipate any difficulty of the child so much that the children do not have the opportunity to act independently. Against this background, social adaptation is weakening. Going out into the world, they wait for instructions, sincerely not understanding why they are not given them. As a result, they are offended by the lack of sensitivity of others.

I have nothing of value

Such situations in childhood form the child’s feeling of being useless, uninteresting, inability to defend himself and his boundaries, inability to deal with such situations differently, except to be offended, inability to support himself independently, to live his disappointment, powerlessness and pain. Thus, by accumulating undigested painful feelings, children gradually learn to turn off their feelings. They conclude that it is pointless to tell another about the pain caused, it is useless to ask for help, it is easier to remain silent and endure: “What is the point of talking? I already know what they will answer me. The person stops trying to influence what is happening. However, resentment and rising feelings do not disappear anywhere, they gradually accumulate inside, turning into a time bomb. And the rather standard words of a loved one or leader can cause severe pain and resentment, because unlived feelings from a similar situation in the past begin to mix in there. A person himself can understand that the strength of his emotions is disproportionate to the situation, but he cannot influence this.

In fact, the resentment of an adult is his aggravated internal situation in relation to external circumstances and the lack of the ability to take care of himself.

What do children’s grievances flow into?

There are different mechanisms of destructive resentment. How exactly a person deals with strong feelings depends on the experience that has been acquired in the family system. For some, workaholism or any kind of addiction is the way out, someone punishes a partner with silence, someone is looking for a mistress, and someone can even get very sick. Thus, a person unconsciously punishes another for his inconsistency with expectations. All these actions are aimed at maintaining contact and the desire to change the situation in their favor.

Nevertheless, despite the desire, such methods inexorably increase the distance and cool the relationship, because, in fact, the offense itself does not decrease from this, and the offender sometimes does not even realize that he is the culprit of this celebration. Nobody tells him directly about it. Accordingly, he can continue to behave in the same way, and the offended person is even more offended because they do not understand him. From this, a person feels trapped in a vicious circle from which it is impossible to get out.

If a person is really ready to learn how to deal with their grievances, then he will have to seek help from a specialist in order to find the source of pain, live it and try new ways of behavior in such situations. Alternatively, you can try to start figuring it out on your own by asking yourself:

  • Why did I react this way?
  • To what extent does the strength of my reaction (resentment) correspond to the situation?
  • Where and when have I encountered similar sensations before?
  • How does this story remind me of my childhood?
  • What words of support or actions of adults did I lack in childhood?
  • How could I do otherwise?

For independent analysis, a person must have a high level of reflection. But even in this case, there are stories that cannot be parsed alone, because with severe pain, the psyche automatically turns on defense mechanisms.


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