How do you relieve yourself of anger and resentment?

Resentment is the result of anticipating getting something that didn’t come. That means you did this, hoping, awaiting, praying that it would cause this to happen. It’s like giving a gift hoping for something in return.

Now we all know that we should do things out of the goodness of our hearts, just as we should give gifts without strings attached. But people are complicated, sometimes we think we’re doing one thing, and then it turns out we were doing something else. The trick is, once you know this, you can correct yourself quite easily. Nobody makes you do things. The things you do, you do because of who you are, never forget that, it’s an important piece of the puzzle. It’s really easy to convince ourselves otherwise. You will see people do it all the time, but it’s not correct and it leads to - resentment.

As for anger, I have found that anger is pretty easy to dispell. Have you ever noticed that it’s a lot easier to be angry with your wife, mother, the world, than it is to be angry with yourself? That’s because you keep waiting for them to atone or show remorse, and grow more angry when you don’t see it.

I have found that if I embrace everything in life as my choice then the only person I can ever really get angry with is myself. The truth is that if you look hard enough you have some ownership in everything that happens to you. Everything. So look a little harder, take responsibility for your choices, own your part in things. You’ll still be angry over things that go badly but you’ll be right there ready to offer remorse or atonement to your ownself. And the anger will dissipate instead of stew.

I cannot offer these simply words of advice without mentioning compassion. People think that compassion is feeling for those less fortunate. And it is, but that’s the easy part of compassion, and only half of the lesson. Compassion for self is much harder to muster, especially for those feeling undeserving or beaten down by life. Compassion for others, while valuable and honourable is not nearly as important as self compassion. Compassion for self keeps you grounded, down here on earth with the rest of the mere mortals. And compassion for self will make your compassion for others swell in ways you cannot imagine. And, of course, it is compassion for self that allows you to forgive yourself when you’re angry at you!

Er, excuse me while I climb down ( a little red faced ) from this soapbox.

Hmmm. I don’t know how I do it. It just seems to happen. I completely suck at staying angry or holding a grudge. I guess I do some sort of “forgive, but don’t forget”. Meaning, I’ll let it go to the back of my mind, where it isn’t having any perceivable imact on my feelings toward [subject of anger/resentment], but it will not be forgotten in case of further injury by [soa/r] so that if a pattern forms, I’ll be aware and can cut my future losses by [soa/r].

Writing a really nasty letter (that you don’t actually send) is one way I’ve used to get anger and resentment out of my system.

Beats me. I generally don’t get angry/resentful out of things I can’t control. That said however, I’m having a really hard time being resentful over some things that have happened this year. I put myself and my family at risk for someone who (to me) was as good as family. I fought hard for this person (not just me, we all did, but I gave up last). It seemed that the effort was flaunted in a public and humiliating way, and in a way that said (to me) “I do not care, as long as I am in the center of a tornado”.

Sometimes I console myself with the fact that it would be unfair to expect this person to love in the same way that a stable person might. Sometimes I feel like I failed. Sometimes I feel like I wish I never met this person. It’s not a matter of a stain on the pants, because the entire pair of pants bothers me. I have to learn to not even put them on. This has not been easy.

This board has been of some help, and I can’t remember who said it here but what has helped me was the phrase “don’t stick your hand in the crazy.” Whoever you are, thank you, you gave me a wonderful thing to repeat when I was tempted.

I get older. I have more experience. with both anger and resentment. I let myself feel what I feel, and then think about whether I want to keep feeling that way. Usually I don’t

I know that the feelings might come back, but I can choose to acknowledge them and move on again. Sometimes, if the resentment is just grumbling away in the background, I have to take it out and put it in a very bright light. I’ll learn from that, and it will either go away or get a lot quieter. (Sometimes this process repeats a few times … :wink: )

But really, mostly I just get older. I have a better sense of what’s important and what isn’t. I know, from personal experience, darn it, that things will get better in a while. It might hurt to break up a relationship, for example, but it won’t kill you. Breaking up a marriage comes closer to killing you, but it doesn’t actually.

Did someone die? Is someone gonna die? No? Don’t really need to hang on to this …

This has fallen out of favor as a way to effectively deal with anger. There are quiet a few articles and expiriments dealing with it, free for all to see, so I’ll just link one: (not linked because it’s a pdf)

Read a good book or play a video game; something that I enjoy and that absorbs my attention. But it has to be a book where the antagonists aren’t too nasty, or the anger will just transfer to them, and keep reminding me of whatever is angering me.

That’s assuming that I want to relieve myself of it, of course. Sometimes I want to be angry.

I try to remember that the anger and resentment don’t hurt the object of those emotions, they hurt the feeler of them. If you’re angry, your hormones surge, your flight/fight instincts kick in, your stomach churns, your blood pressure goes up. All of that hurts you, but does absolutely zilch to the one(s) you’re mad at. Don’t give them free rent inside your head. Let it go.

A teacher of mine several decades ago also pointed out that anger is very useful IF it is used to right a wrong or actually accomplish something. Otherwise, it is best discarded. Easier said than done, of course.

I agree with this. I find it odd how people can manufacture great amounts of bile for some things. Then again, everyone has their buttons. If you hit them, you might set them off.

I go for a walk. This is pretty much my answer to all of my problems. Taking a walk gives me an opportunity to think through whatever’s going on and work out a solution. Because I am not good at staying angry, it usually gives me the time to calm down so I don’t take my anger out on someone who doesn’t deserve it.

Sometimes when I am taking my walk, I think about posting my problem to the SDMB and asking y’all what you would do in the situation. Then I imagine your answers. Thinking about how someone else would see my problems gives me a little bit of a sense of perspective and forces me to forget about the anger for a moment to use my common sense (which I admit that I occasionally abandon when really pissed off).

Sports video games. There’s no irritation in the world that can’t be soothed by beating the Yankees 21-3.

If you do this, first make sure you’re not living in a sitcom - because in that case, your helpful cheery room-mate will post it for you while you pop out to the corner shop for cornflakes and you’ll spend the better part of your day with your forearm trapped in the mailbox after you try to retrieve it.

Heh - I think Atomicktom is practicing restraint of tongue and pen. It’s a good quality to have.
What ahow are you talking about Mange? Sounds like a Benny Hill episode.

This is an interesting subject for me. Holding on to anger and resentment can be a real poison inside a person.

Lots of good posts but I especially liked #13 from cormac262 and #21 from elbows

As I’ve gotten older I find I am more ready to forgive others and let go of animosity because I’ve made my own mistakes and need some forgiveness myself. When people do something that really gets under my skin I feel it but try to let it go as soon as possible I try to figure out why I reacted the way I did and is there something I need to be aware of about myself to help me deal with those situations better. To have a better understanding and control of myself.

I’ve also learned that with people I come in contact with on a regular basis it’s good to tell them what I think with honesty but diplomacy as well. It may or may not change their behavior but I usually feel better about it. Other times in work situations I modify my behavior in a way that stops someone from taking advantage of me or manipulating me. I try to let their issues be their issues.

The thing I struggle with most is people who are consistently dishonest. Especially if it’s someone I come in contact with on a regular basis. It definitely lowers my respect for them but I find I also have some underlying anger about that kind of personality.

Oh, and several people mentioned venting through exercise or some way of getting the anger out without hurting anybody. Also a good idea.