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  • From Resentment to Contentment: Anger


    Resentments are the addict’s number one offender.  Holding on to resentments is like swallowing poison, then waiting for the other person to die.  This age-old expression sums up the futility of holding on to resentments.   One of the pathways to happiness and contentment is doing good deeds for other people.  It makes us happy to help those in need.  The path leads to resentment when we have expectations other people have to reciprocate.  When they don’t appreciate what we do for them, or make unusual demands upon our time and efforts, we build resentment. Other people hold on to resentments from their past.  Resentment is really a form of anger we hold on to and don’t let go of until it is too late and can lead to depression.

    Depression & Anger

    Depression is really “anger turned inward.”  When we don’t express anger outwardly, we hold on to it, hoping it will simply go away.  Usually, it doesn’t just go away but festers in our subconscious and turns into resentment toward the person, institution, ideology, or belief system we are angry at. These resentments pile up and we end up feeling depressed.

    According to Hilary Jacobs Hendel, author of It’s Not Always Depression, “sometimes it’s not depression but a reflection of our internal struggle to express our feelings.”  Instead, we use all kinds of defense mechanisms to hide our anger, shame, guilt and anxiety that thwart our attempts to fix the problem. Defenses protect us from feeling pain, fear, and hurt. They convince us that it’s better to compartmentalize feelings and leave them there, so we don’t have to relive them.  Other defense mechanisms include addiction, vagueness, passivity, low self-esteem, judging and comparing. Anything we use to convince ourselves is not worth expressing our emotions.

    There are several warning signs that feed depression. When a person feels lonely, they need to seek out people instead of isolating.  Sitting around and doing nothing, thinking of your problems, past mistakes, lack of friends, money, keep us feeling depressed.

    For the rest of the story of how to get from resentment to contentment, click on this link for a free e-booklet.