Sunday, June 21, 2009



When offence comes, and it will come, if we hold it, it turns to resentment. I seem to be prone to want to take offense and hold it. A timely offensive comment or gesture can set me off on a day or a week or perseverating. It’s like a trance that becomes the only thing on my mind. A perfectly good day lost to the toxic wash of negative thoughts. I have come to see resentment as a type of annoyingly seductive self abuse. It is the kind of thing I can see is clearly harmful to me, but yet I have to work very hard at not letting it have free reign. Sometimes I do better at letting stuff go by me than at other times. Sometimes I get triggered and I am off to the races. Once it occurred to me that just because someone throws a stone at me doesn’t mean I am obligated to pick the stone up and carry it around with me. It can get to a point where I am so loaded down with all the stones I am carrying that the weight is crushing . Not to mention messing with my capacity to function productively. I have also realized that if I am holding a resentment, letting it ruminate in my head and soul, I am responsible. I own that choice to be in that negative space. There is an old saying I love to tell myself as a reminder. “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.“ Most offenses come from strangers, people who don’t care what they are saying or doing and don’t care if it is offensive to me. These are easy to let slide by. The offences that get to me come from people I have a relationship with - and expectations of (usually unfairly unrealistic). And most of the offences are repeat offenses. Which means, by the wisdom of the saying, I am the fool for being fooled twice in the same way, or a hundred times or a thousand. If someone is continuing to offend me in some way, I have made a decision that the offence is part of the package, or that the consequence of removing myself from the offensive situation is greater than putting up with it. In which case, any continued offense taking, is completely my choice. This is a hard responsibility to own. Blame is allways at hand to transfer this responsibility. And then there is a good dose of victimization and self pity. All co-conspirators with the seduction of resentment. For me, once I am sick of the toxic wash cycle, it all comes down to owning my responsibility in my choice to hold a resentment, and then, as the owner of that, choosing to let it go. Which, when I can find the capacity to do, is a tremendous blessing.

3 comments:

John Hayes said...

Great thoughts on the mechanics of resentment, & its toll on us. A wise man once pointed out to me that the etymology of resentment has to do with "feeling something again (& again, ad nauseum). We have to ask ourselves if we want to dwell in those past feelings or move on.

John J. Franks IV said...

Very well put, People tend to neglect or forget the self control they have with these types of issues.

In this process, more than the one holding the "stones" are injured in so many cases.

I think it is human nature to an extent, human confusion may play a part as well.

Linda Pendleton said...

Sometimes it is hard to not react and/or to let go of resentments. But underneath it is about hurt, and when left unexpressed it can build. And then we allow that to have "power" over us. I think we probably all go through from time to time.