Sunday 11-20-22, Reflections on Resentment

“Every unrealistic expectation is a resentment waiting to happen.” ~ Fr. Richard Rohr

Happy Sunday!

Earlier this month, P was working on a small DIY project at our flat. He removed more of the room trim than I was expecting so, I found I could not control myself, I had to butt in. I see now that I was triggered. I tried to control my anxiety by acting like I just wanted to know what he was planning and then telling him how I thought it could be done. He pointed out that I didn’t have to act mean. This got my attention—I had to agree with him.

All that day I felt distant from him as my mind spun stories of me being justified in my actions, feeling self-righteous. It didn’t feel good though, so I understood that I was blocked from broadening my perspective. The next day, while in meditation, I asked HS what the block was. I received the answer, ‘resentment’. Still in meditation, I asked for help to move the emotion out. I felt it shift. After that I felt uplifted and had an easier connection to P again.

November 11

The word resentment remained in my mind. I saw how this trigger that showed itself with P had also come up in my past working life. I would get angry with my co-workers for not doing things as I expected. (As a type 1 on the enneagram, the perfectionist, and also having anxiety related to confrontation, I did most tasks myself—my way of controlling.)

I did a finger test to ask if I needed to understand more about this resentment and got a positive response. So I sat down to journal, to have a conversation with HS about resentment. This helped me to understand I had a fear about loosing my peace and/or comfort. This all related to the sensitivity of my ego now living with a loss of identity as a worker and mother.

After receiving this insight, I tried to tell P about my reaction to his project being about resentment. I did not do a very good job as I felt he did not understand. I still didn’t understand.

November 14

I had been looking forward to getting back to the house to further my understanding of resentment. Brene’ Brown’s ‘Atlas of the Heart’ book was sitting on my coffee table so opening it was one of the first things I did upon returning home. For me, this is a reference book, an encyclopedia describing human emotions.  Was I ready to hear what Brene’ had to say about resentment?

Wow! She described me. Here was the thing that I was trying to explain to P but did not understand well enough to put into words. Resentment turns out to be the ‘me’ that I really don’t like about myself.


“While resentment is definitely an emotion, I normally recognize it by a familiar thought pattern: What mean and critical thing am I rehearsing saying to this person?” ~ Brene’ Brown

(I felt weepy when I read this – too close to home.)

In the book, Atlas of the Heart, Brene’ and her team define resentment as:

“Resentment is the feeling of frustration, judgement, anger, “better than,” and/or hidden envy related to perceived unfairness or injustice. It’s an emotion that we often experience when we fail to set boundaries or ask for what we need, or when expectations let us down because they were based on things we can’t control, like what other people think what they feel, or how they’re going to react.”

I read this and see all the times in my life that I became someone I didn’t know and didn’t like. I showed a meanness that I remember to this day because it was like someone else was flowing through me. There was an early date with P when he talked of other women he was still dating; there were times at work when co-workers didn’t bring their work up to the level I expected; and many hours of my mind spinning through words to throw at P to control how I expect things to be.

I feel grateful to HS, and Brene’, to bring me a new awareness about my self that was not on my radar. This is such a blessing to have a new tool to look at bad behavior in me differently.

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