The Lethal Hold of Resentment
Updated: May 14, 2022
“Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” -Malachy McCourt
Holding onto a grudge is detrimental to one's overall health, since it forces you to ruminate in feelings of anger and frustration. Rather than moving forward in your life, you remain stagnant. You are the one that suffers. Being unable to cope with certain feelings leaves you stuck in the past and trapped in unpleasant interactions that cause distress over and over again. It is unhealthy to constantly obsess over negative feelings, to blame others and hold onto your frustration for long periods. Such internal anguish can build up over time and create added stress, worry, anxiety, aggression and negativity. Ultimately, resentment makes you an ungrateful person and can even impact you physically.
I know that when I was drinking, I suffered tremendously by constantly holding grudges. I had a lot of resentment towards others causing me to be extremely unhappy with myself. There was a lot of frustration from my bigger past experiences over the years that I never had the tools to deal with. I repressed quite a lot of anger for various reasons, not even realizing it, and those emotions would come bubbling to the surface when I would drink.
For example, little things would set me off. Maybe my husband would come home late for work, after promising to help with the kids. I would immediately resent him for leaving me to deal with the kids and the bedtime routine, and I allowed my resentment towards him to get me worked up into such a frenzy. I would obsess over it and ruminate in my feelings of frustration towards him, thus making me more unhappy with myself. I would often turn to my wine once the kids were in bed, drinking my feelings of frustration away. By the time Evan got home, I was half in the bag, all riled up from the alcohol.
Consuming alcohol was my number one way of coping with these tiny bouts of resentment, and sometimes my solution would be to drink enough to numb the feelings away completely. Sometimes the next day I would forget all about it, only to start the cycle over again the next night. By the end, I was physically and emotionally ill in so many ways from this way of coping.
In sobriety, I have learned that I can no longer run away from my problems. I have come to face life head on. These days, I don't hide from the things that I used to drink to forget. Because of that, I am healing on the inside and outside.
I know a lot of people that hang onto feelings of resentment. Perhaps, you may resent me for something I did to you in my past drunken life or you may resent another friend or family member for a hurtful decision they made. All I can say is that harboring such feelings of distress is not worth the physical and emotional toll it takes on your mind and body.
Learning to move through the emotions and live in the present day is so much more gratifying than ruminating in the past. Setting boundaries for yourself and the people around you helps to define your feelings surrounding these difficult situations, and it gives the space for forgiveness. It has taken a lot of therapy and self-reflection in my own life to understand that though, and everyday I am still working through it.
Do you hold grudges? If you find that you have feelings of ill-will, anger or resentment, try reevaluating the root of these emotions. Perhaps it is time to stop drinking the poison (or legit stop drinking and get sober!) and define some new boundaries for yourself. I promise you it is not worth the constant, daily distress - especially if you are stuck in the vicious cycle of drinking alcohol to manage your emotions like I was. Resenting others everyday and hanging out in a permanent space of negativity is no way to live your life.