What is Resentment and How Can It Be Healed?

Compiled and edited from the works of Dr. Hora

by Nancy Rosanoff

As long as we blame someone for anything, we are angry and resentful, and we desire to punish or get even or hurt somebody; but we usually hurt ourselves. If we give up blaming, we will not only forgive, but we relieve the pressure under which we are living. To carry a grudge is a very crippling mental condition.

Anything that would threaten to deprive us of what we cherish, or invalidate what we cherish, will provoke fear and resentment. The more we are inclined to cherish the more vulnerable and insecure we shall be in life, and the more we shall be given to anxiety, resentfulness, frustration, and even hatred. Therefore, the Zen Master says: “Above all cherish nothing.” In our language [Metapsychiatry] this saying translates as “Cherish only God,” because “nothing” is a Buddhist God. In other words, God is no thing, and the Buddha nature is love, beauty, intelligence, harmony, peace, serenity, assurance, joy, health, freedom, perfect being. Thus, the gate of Paradise is to cherish nothing.

If we are loaded with bitter resentments against our parents, or some individuals from the past, and we are very angry, and we don’t know what to do with it, then anyone who is willing to be abusive to us is welcome, because we have a desire to be able to express some rage. That will give us a good excuse. This is called transference.

But if we start the process of forgiveness, suddenly people who we haven’t seen for years may begin to turn up, call us, or ask to see us. They come to be loved, and they come to be forgiven without realizing this. They may come to us in our dreams. This process will heal us and set us free for further growth.

Relationships and Resentment

The prevalent mode in love relationships is that of objectification. We tend to turn our fellow man into an “it.” And what happens when we deal with one another as objects? We become manipulative. To be manipulated is not a pleasant experience; it is dehumanizing, humiliating, even infuriating. The hostilities and resentments and strife that we observe in everyday life have much to do with an erroneous approach to our fellow man. It is the manipulative object-relations approach which simply means that we treat our fellow men as if they were objects. If they are objects, like for instance a chair, they can be pushed around, turned upside down, even smashed.

Without realizing it, people are led to believe that a loved one is an object here for our personal gratification. If we love someone, we have the right to use that individual to make ourselves feel good. Love thy neighbor as if he were an object. This is what it comes to.

Rape could be considered an extreme case of object love. Combined with murder, it would carry the theory of object-relations to its ultimate point of absurdity by rendering an animate “object” into an inanimate object. If our assumptions about life were based on such theories, the result would be indeed disastrous.

Forgiving Long Held Grudges and Resentments

Now, the question could be asked, What is the meaning of holding on to resentments for so long? Sometimes our grudge is so great that we are afraid that it would destroy us. In that case, what usually happens is that we develop compulsions. This kind of compulsiveness is a cover-up for an emerging or threatening memory, a forbidden emotion. Whenever we are compulsive about something, be it work or affection, or even stamp collecting, it is always a cover-up of undesirable memories.

What is the difference between compulsive goodness and love? Love is letting-be. Letting be is reverence for life. Compulsive goodness is based on the fear of becoming aware of hating someone. Compulsive evangelizing or proselytizing is based on fear of becoming aware of sinful tendencies and desires.

Now, how can we give up blaming if we feel like blaming?

If someone acts injuriously or wrongly against us, we must understand that it is ignorance that is controlling his thinking. So, we are victims of ignorance rather than of an individual who is malevolent.

This is only possible if we understand that by forgiving people, we are not doing them a favor; we are doing ourselves a favor. We are hurting ourselves by carrying a grudge, and that is no way to live. We must forgive endlessly, continually. We must forgive our parents; we must forgive our siblings, our friends and our enemies. As long as we hate someone and carry a grudge, we are not able to be conscious spiritual beings, because a spiritual being is a manifestation of Love-Intelligence. Now, is this not a preposterous demand? It is only preposterous if we don’t understand what the whole process of forgiveness leads to. It introduces us to the highest form of love.

As we keep forgiving, we realize a greater and greater peace, assurance, gratitude and love, and we are healed. By forgiving, we discover compassion, which is the greatest gift of God. We are able to love those we believed we hated or resented or carried a grudge against. We can even love our enemies, because compassion is: understanding the lack of understanding.

Someone remarked that it seems harder to forgive those we love than to forgive our enemies. We need to see that those we love and those we hate are sometimes connected.

 If we have not learned to forgive, then malicious, angry thoughts about someone can break through within us in the form of a physical disease. In this case, it may be even more difficult to become conscious of our resentments. Symptoms and physical diseases are thoughts, manifesting themselves in the body, because they are too dreadful to be faced in consciousness. In essence, it is transmutation of energy in the most acceptable form. Whatever we are afraid to face in consciousness will have to find a way to express itself, either in the body, in behavior, in circumstances or experiences. This is an indication that whatever is repressed has a tendency to manifest itself in one way or another. Our best protection is to learn the art of forgiveness.

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The following is a dialogue between Dr. Hora and a student asking about the healing of resentment. It begins to discuss the process of healing through understanding the meaning or the thought that is being expressed in the form of, in this case, enjoying feeling resentful.

For more information on the healing method of Metapsychiatry see PAGL News October 2016: The Basics of Metapsychiatry, and PAGL News January 2017: The Method of Metapsychiatry  

Dialogue on Healing Resentfulness

Question: For the past few days I have been aware of an undercurrent of resentfulness, and I must admit that I am secretly enjoying it. And I wonder what it may lead to?

Dr. Hora: What is the difference between enjoying being resentful and enjoying scratching an itch?

Comment: None.

Dr. Hora: If we have an itch, it feels good to scratch it.

Comment: That’s the quickest way to get rid of it.

Dr. Hora: I understand that New York City got into a financial mess by applying short-term solutions to long-term problems. When we are solving an itch by scratching it, we are doing the same.

Comment: The short-term solution to resentment is to vent our feelings. Dr. Hora: There was a famous psychiatrist in New York who advised his patients to have a punching bag in their apartment and daily express their anger with the help of this implement. What is the solution to these problems? Enjoying resentfulness, scratching our itches?

Question: Do you say we should ignore the itch?

Dr. Hora: We must neither scratch nor not scratch. Can that be done? When we scratch, we are involved with the itch. When we refrain from scratching, we are also involved with the itch. We must be involved with something else. What could we get involved with in order to neither scratch nor not scratch? The profitable way is to become involved with the thoughts of meaning. Never mind whether it itches or not, but what is the meaning of this phenomenon? What is it trying to say? Itching is not only an experience, it is a phenomenon. A phenomenon is a thought. It is never the body that itches. An itching body or a resentful person is a thought. What kind of thought is it? It is a thought about something that should be or should not be. And if we are more interested in coming to see the thought that underlies this phenomenon, we will be rewarded by a sudden discovery of the thought and at that moment the itch disappears, or the resentment vanishes. And then we can ask the question: “But what is what really is?”

Question: The itch and the resentment disappear just by understanding the thought it expresses?

Dr. Hora: Yes, because we have translated the phenomenon into its constituent thought.

Comment: That means that there is no more need for the phenomenon to call attention to the thought.

Dr. Hora: When we ask the question: “What is the meaning of what seems to be?” we are seeking the thought behind the phenomenon. In other words, we are converting the symptom into the thought.