How Can I Heal From Resentment And Move On?

by | Feb 7, 2019 | Marriage, Mindset, Personal Growth, Relationships

Photo Credit: Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

Why Can’t I Let Go And Just Move On?

Every time I saw him, I felt my blood boiling and I couldn’t get away fast enough. What he did was inexcusable.

Anyone would agree — I had a right to be angry and to resent him.

And as I shared the incident with others, they all said, “I can’t believe what he did to you! How could he have done such a thing?!”

My friend would have set him straight, fighting for my honour.

However, strange as it may sound, my friends weren’t helping me process through my growing resentment.

Finding Help To Deal With My Resentment

It wasn’t until I shared my pain with my mentor that I began to work through the resentment. While she validated my pain, she wouldn’t let me stay there.

“Let’s pray about that,” she said.

First, she led me through a series of prayers to help me forgive my offender. Next, she helped me to identify the lies I was believing about my pain and the person. Then she guided me to identify powerful vows I had made that were directing my life, even though I hadn’t been aware of them.

Although it wasn’t easy, and forgiveness didn’t happen overnight, as I walked through the process of forgiveness, I gained freedom.

This freedom enabled me to face my offender in my true self, unhindered by bitterness or resentment, so I could choose what kind of relationship we would have in the future.

Resentment Feels Good… For Awhile

Resentment is a powerful emotion and when it stirs up inside of us, we spew this poison on the people around us — especially those we love.

But in the end, the person we end up hurting the most is ourselves.

Now, none of us can escape feeling resentment at some point in their lives. Resentment typically comes after somebody has hurt us deeply and we immediately respond with blame and defensiveness.

  • “It was HER fault that I made that mistake at work.”
  • “He’s always late and he makes me late.”
  • “She never thinks about anyone but herself. She’s so selfish.”

At first, it feels good to blame them… because they hurt you, after all! And so you want them to hurt too.

How Resentment Weighs Us Down

When we blame someone else, it helps to relieve some of the cortisol that’s racing through our body. However, when we start to ignore it, or worse, nurse it like a baby, like when we feed it with negative thoughts, then it grows and starts to change the way we think.

In reality, resentment impairs our ability to think clearly and it weighs us down.

And when we don’t deal with it, it gets heavier and heavier.

Unfortunately, resentment won’t go away until we both acknowledge the pain and work through the process of forgiveness.

Look At Resentment Through A Different Lens

In this post, though, I want to reframe resentment… because I’m sure you already know that resentment is bad. That it poisons you. And so on…

Instead, what if you looked at this emotion through a different lens and saw it as an important emotional signal that you need to listen to?

A signal that tells us that we…

  1. Are hurting on the inside.
  2. Need to look after our emotions and heart, just like we would look after our body if our hand had an infection. We would take extra measures to stop the infection and help it to heal.

Resentment is similar in that it’s an infection and pain of the heart and we need to listen to that pain, which is signalling that something is wrong.

When this happens, we need to stop and care for our emotional well-being to make sure the infection doesn’t grow.

What Forgiveness Is And Is NOT

The way to deal with the infection of resentment is to forgive.

Bernard Meltzer was a radio host in the United States of the show What’s Your Problem for several decades and he said: “When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.”

There’s a lot of truth to that statement. However, sometimes forgiveness is difficult because we don’t understand what it really is and what it’s not.

Forgiveness does NOT…

  • Let the other person off the hook for what they did or said.
  • Set them free from the pain and hurt they caused you.
  • Mean that you will forget what happened.

So what is forgiveness for? It’s for the person who forgives — it’s for you.

And it’s for me.

Now, the forgiveness process takes time depending on the depth of the pain and resentment. The deeper the resentment goes, the longer the healing process will take.

The 3-Part Healing Process Of Forgiveness

There are 3 parts to the forgiveness healing process:

Part 1: Choose To Forgive

This is an event where we make the choice to forgive the person regardless of what was said or done to us.

We always have the choice whether to forgive or not and often times, we don’t feel like forgiving them… but if we don’t, then the resentment will continue to poison us and we will end up hurting the people we love the most.

As Corrie ten Boom said, “Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”

Part 2: Go Through The Forgiveness Process

Depending on how deep the hurt is, this could be a short or long process. This step involves naming the specific events to validate the pain you feel.

Your pain is real and the incident can wound very deeply at times. So, when the pain is deeper, you may need to go through the forgiveness process repeatedly until you feel completely free from resentment.

Part 3: Retrain Your Thoughts To Stay Free

This is the grand finale where we acknowledge that we’ve gone through the process, that we have forgiven the person who hurt us, and that we now want to be free.

In this stage, we may need to remind ourselves that we are free when the thoughts of resentment pop up. Those resentful thoughts may have become a habit and if so, then we will need to practice a new way of thinking that gives us freedom. Changing our thinking will literally change our brain.

How To Know If You Need Help Dealing With Resentment

If you’ve been nursing resentment for longer than 6 months, then it’s time to bring in the troops and get some help.

Don’t suffer any longer on your own.

And if you’re dealing with a serious issue, such as abuse or neglect, that is causing you great emotional or psychological pain and grief, then you will need the help of a counsellor. Don’t try to work through that by yourself and don’t delay in seeking help.

However, depending on what you’re struggling with, working with a coach can help you deal with resentment as well. In my practice, I ask insightful questions to help you talk about the pain, which then validates the pain, and then we pray through a series of prayers to help release you from the pain that you feel.

As we go through this process, you will gain freedom and be able to let go and move on.  

About Ann

Ann’s work is centred on the belief that every woman has purpose. So her mission is to empower a community of women to live their extraordinary lives with joy…

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4 Comments

  1. Jill Hamming

    Hi Ann
    This is a really well written post.
    Lots of truth in it.
    I agree with every single point … and you know how much I have had to deal with these issues…
    You are a gift and a blessing.
    Thanks for the work that you do.
    I pray for you for courage to keep on,
    for discernment,
    for energy,
    for the ability to not carry the women you work with but give them to Jesus to carry,
    for trust and rest in our heavenly Father, Who adores you.
    love from Jill

    • Ann Visser

      My dear friend, Thank you for your encouragement, prayers and wisdom! Because I know a little of your story this note means so much to me! Always in my heart, Ann

  2. Elizabeth Wiegner

    I really appreciate your point about retraining your mind to be free. It really is *work* to forgive. And it’s not something you just snap your fingers and all the sadness or bitterness is gone — we have to work to get our minds back on the right track. So thank you for this!! You keeping putting out content at the same times I’m needing it <3

    • Ann Visser

      Thanks Elizabeth! Yes, sometimes it’s easy to feel like we should “just get over it”. But as you said, we can’t just snap our fingers and have all the hurt gone. But I think we gain something valuable by going through the process of forgiveness. So glad that it’s speaking to you where you’re at 🙂

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Women's Mindset & Leadership Coach

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