Resentment is like taking poison in the hope that your enemy will die.
Resentment is victim anger. Self-pity is victim pain. Both are normal emotions, and they are not toxic if in fact we have been the object of a boundary violation. Resentment and self –pity are important when we feel someone has wronged us and treated us as if we were worthless. Resentment and self-pity help us go to a proper defense. But when we falsely feel that we are victims, when we feel the need to get even with someone who has not victimized us, we become obnoxious and self-defeating. If, for example, our partner has just made a well spoken remark about the opera and we resent him or her for being “arrogant,” that is just a failure of our own self-esteem. Just because something has gone badly for us – we didn’t get invited to a party or our term paper didn’t get a good grade or bad weather spoiled our vacation – does not mean our boundaries have been violated. To feel resentment and self-pity in the latter cases becomes a self-inflicted poison and makes us our own tormentor.
© Pia Mellody