How do you relieve yourself of anger and resentment?

I heard a great story this weekend, a story from Buddha and one of his resolutions of anger and resentment. He basically said: when someone is making you angry and you feel you may begin to harbor a resentment, act as if the anger is an unwanted gift, and kindly return it.

Although simple and not exactly everyday practical - I try to not harbor anger for anyone, or at very least I try not to be so angry that I build a resentment. But if we are being real and true to the nature of this message board, I must say I am not perfect in dealing with the mundane anger that can form into a resentment.

I believe resentments can act like water over stone. Usually they go right over it, and flow on past, but over time the water can get into the cracks and eventually split it appart. I think this happens with a lot of marriages these last few decades, and I believe that if resentments and anger were managed correctly, divorce rates would plummet. That is a discussion for another time.

So on the topic of anger and resentments; how do you deal with them and how do you avoid them?

Kick my dog.

I used to be quick to anger, but am much more mellow these days.

Mostly I think it’s about perspective - for example, most of the Pit thread subjects just make me think “You got het up over that?” I just can’t be bothered putting energy into being angry about something that doesn’t really matter, particularly things that actually have no impact on my life.

Sometimes when I do get angry about something, and can’t let it go, I tell my husband about it. I always preface it with “I’m just saying this to get it off my chest, I don’t need advice or anything…”

This is an important lesson in Christianity. You must never, ever seek to return harm or injury by means of hate or anger. Although many people have forgotten it, I believe this is one major reason behind the generalized horror of “hot blooded killing” and why revenge is so very much considered injust. It’s rarely injust. It may be extreme, but by defnition, revenge is pretty just.

But my answer to your question is that there’s no easy way. Different people might come up with different psychological steps or tricks, but these really can’t be transferred or taught. You have to start by acknowledging that you do feel this way and even if justified you have to kill your resentment. The hardest resentment to kill is when you aren’t being silly or selfish. When someone not only imposes or harms you but does it full well knowing the impact, just because they don’t care - that’s the hardest.

But even if you start out forgiving people for making accidental mistakes, that’s real progress.

SMiling Bandit I believe this is an important lesson no matter what your religion or creed is. You make some good points.

Anger is the dollop of spaghetti sauce that drops onto my new pants- it is easily wiped away. Resentment, however, is the stain that I can’t get rid of no matter how many times I wash them. It lingers and frustrates me every time I try to wear the pants, until I give up and decide that they’ll be my painting pants or the ones I’ll wear to mow the lawn. The stain is still there, but I’ve at least managed to move it way down my list of what’s really important.

Eventually, after that spaghetti spot is one of many stains and it has become part of the collage of messes on the pants, I’ll throw them out and forget all about them. It might take years to get to that point.

If that’s not a teaching from the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, it should be! :stuck_out_tongue:

Plot revenge, execute plan.

I sometimes just ask myself, “Yeah, but does it really matter, no really?”

It’s surprising, I find, how often the answer is that no, it doesn’t matter at all.

Booze, violent video games, self-destructive eating.

I wouldn’t recommend it, though.

Same here. It’s not quite as much fun as firing a gun at the TV or picking a fight with someone weaker than me, though.

On the front page, the link to this topic (it was the latest post at the time) said “How do you relieve yourself…” :eek:

Truly, McNew has been Touched by His Noodly Appendage.

I play rock and roll to banish the demons. Musical performance of any sort is good for the soul.

Anger is the knee-jerk reaction to something that pisses you off. Someone does something that upsets you, and you get pissed. Generally these incidents (and there may be lots of them in a given day) are pretty transient. They may feel pretty intense at the time, but they fade pretty quickly.

Resentment is a different animal, and I learned something that helped not really “get over”, but more to “keep it in check”. Resentment is that nagging re-living of some incident or incidents that pissed you off. And the repeated questions of “why did they do that ?” and/or “did I deserve that ?” and/or “what should I have done differently ?” And to a certain extent, the answers that you’ve come up with to those questions. But the indication of “resentment” is the repeated dwelling on the incident(s).
Someone once told me that things that provoke strong emotions are flags or pointers to things you are not sure of in yourself. That is, your reaction is exaggerated because of some insecurity or doubt about the infraction. And I see that resentment is a form of this. The dwelling is like a reminder (or more like a nagging) that something about the incident/situation strikes some chord within your psyche.
So if I can pull myself out of the cycle (and this is the hard part), and kind of step back and analyze the situation, it can help to keep the resentment in check - more in control. The key is not to ask “why” the person did what they did (which you may never get an answer to), but rather “why” does this strike such a chord with yourself. It takes being pretty open, and you may not like what you find. But what it does is that it shifts the feeling from the “offence/offender” to your “reaction” to the offence/offender. And your reaction is something you have some control over.

This has worked for me on a number of occasions (but not all). And it has helped to sort of limit the level of the resentment, if not do away with it all together.

Enough of my self-help, mumbo jumbo for one morning.

I listen to heavy metal music. It’s what keeps me the calm and even-keeled.

I try to focus on how anger and resentment are taking up my valuable time. That is not how I want to spend my time.

I am also pretty good at removing myself from situations that are likely to cause anger or resentment. I know people have different strategies for dealing with things, but I have one friend who often ends up angry and resentful after spending time with her sister. When asked why she continues to see her sister, she says “oh, but I have to, it’s one of those things, it would be worse if I didn’t, that’s just the way things are in my family, etc etc etc.” Seriously, if I was in that situation I would stop seeing the sister and never have half a moment of guilt, regret or doubt about it. The downside of this approach is that other people have commented that this can seem a bit cold … at the core, I guess it is, but life is too short to spend it being angry and upset.

Unfortunately, I usually cry or at least, feel like it. Anger makes me sad and tired most of the time, which is why you don’t see me ranting in the Pit too often

I’ve decided that:

You can’t change people
You also can’t hit people
But you can beat the piss out of the heavy bag and no one will mind.

I’ve tapped in to the fact that I have this primal violent temper and deep down all I want to do is beat things or even get beaten up when I’m angry. If I take care of business at that level - in a completely safe, legal way (karate, heavy bag, pushups, etc) - then anything else up the emotional ladder is wiped away.

When I get angry, it’s usually over small things and I get over it immediately; kids not listening, asshole drivers, etc. I internalize and rationalize and don’t let it fester. I don’t know if I’ve ever been resentful in my life. I can control that which I can control. What I can’t control is other people’s concern, not mine.

Five or six really good beers helps too.

If I have a moment or can eke one out, I go running to get rid of it. If I can’t, I try to take a step back - usually by removing myself from the situation and trying to calm myself down (doesn’t work that often, though - running is best).

Anger and resentment? I don’t relieve myself of anger and resentment. I’m chock full of both!