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What is resentment?

Resentment refers to intense feelings of anger or other negative emotions in responses to being mistreated. Feelings of resentment typically stem from an inability to experience and process painful emotions. An example of resentment can include someone who is very angry by the actions of their partner, but may be too fearful of conflict to address their partner’s behaviors. This might lead them to feel constantly irritated by their partner over time. Resentment can also occur when someone self-abandons their needs for the needs of others. Other signs of resentment or things that can trigger resentment include: unrealistic expectations of others, rumination, and feelings of inadequacy. 

How does resentment impact me?

We all have and will experience anger, annoyance, and irritability with others from time to time. However, it becomes problematic when we are unable to forgive others and move past the pain. This can lead to resentment and grudges. Resentment can impact our relationships when left unresolved. We may tend to continuously feel angered by our relationship(s) and might even begin to hate the other person. Resentment can also increase negative emotions like anger, fear, and hopelessness which can  impact anxiety and depression. 

How can I move past resentment?

One of the first things to consider when grappling with resentment is understanding why letting go is so hard. Sometimes we hold on to resentment because we believe it’s protecting us, but in reality it is causing us more pain and is rupturing our relationships. Learning to manage conflict and communicate when we are hurt by someone’s actions can also be very helpful. Setting boundaries with loved ones can also help ensure we are not prioritizing someone else’s needs over our own. Finally, therapy can be a very safe and productive space to process and heal past resentment.

This page is also part of the Roamers Therapy Glossary; a collection of mental-health related definitions that are written by our therapists.

While our offices are currently located at the South Loop neighborhood of Downtown Chicago, Illinois, we also welcome and serve clients for online therapy from anywhere in Illinois and Washington, D.C. Clients from the Chicagoland area may choose in-office or online therapy and usually commute from surrounding areas such as River North, West Loop, Gold Coast, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Lake View, Rogers Park, Logan Square, Pilsen, Bridgeport, Little Village, Bronzeville, South Shore, Hyde Park, Back of the Yards, Wicker Park, Bucktown and many more. You can visit our contact page to access detailed information on our office location.