Swetha, Liz, and Spencer discuss resentments. We find some commonality in defining resentments as anger over something that happened in the past. Sometimes it’s “righteous indignation” about someone else’s behavior, about some injury that someone else did to us.
Mark calls in and asks whether we have had resentments against AA, maybe about the time our loved ones spend in meetings or treatment. Liz had huge resentments, because her loved one was “never” home. After about 4 months, she asked him, “now that your 90 days are over, do you still have to go to a meeting every day?” Spencer talks about his resentment towards a local treatment program that wouldn’t allow him to talk to his loved one while she was there.
How do we handle resentments? Swetha uses an inventory as a tool to see what is involved in the resentment while also being gentle with herself, and to formulate a plan of action for dealing with it if it recurs. Liz sees that many of her resentments are against people who treated her in a way that feeds into her own insecurities. She finds that addressing those feelings in a healthy way with the other person helps to reduce or remove the resentment. Spencer find that many of his resentments are not about reality but are about his expectations of how someone will act or react in the future. He can deal with those by stating his needs and desires, and finding that the response is not what he expected it to be. Sometimes the best thing is just to get “out of his own head”.
Liz finds that physical activity is a great way to release anger and resentments. Yoga is a favorite activity of both Liz and Swetha, especially since it also includes some meditation. Spencer remarks that much of his anger comes out of fear of some sort. When he can identify the fear, then he can let go of the anger more easily. Sometimes he is “living in the wreckage of the future.” Liz follows up that she can be resentful over past behavior that is actually no longer happening, and recognizing that it isn’t happening is good for her. Sometimes she has to get past her anger of the moment before she can come around to the “healthy thinking”. Her tools include talking to someone else, spending time with her pet, or doing some sort of “mindless” activity. Swetha uses a “time out” tool to help get through her anger.
Liz gave us a quote attributed to Rumi, “And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to the Earth,‘You owe me.’ Look what happens with love like that. It lights up the sky.” Sometimes our resentments arise from a feeling of being “owed.” Spencer finds this feeling of love without obligation in Al-Anon meetings. Liz talks about writing a “gratitude essay” to recognize all the positive things in a relationship, to get out of her negative, resentful thinking. Gratitude can be “the anti-resentment”.
Next week's topic will be Step 2, which states “[We] came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” Please share your questions or experience with this step by voice (734) 707-8795 or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Music from the show
As promised, here are two versions of The Grudge by Tool. The first just has the lyrics over the song. The second uses the song as the soundtrack for an animated short called “The Backwater Gospel.” It is somewhat disturbing.
Finally, another great “resentment” song that we didn't have room to include — Forget You by Cee Lo Green.