My Definition of Resentment

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    Melissa Dinwiddie

    Years ago, during my reign as The Dating Queen (seriously, there were a few years when I dated like it was a full time job!), I discovered that — lo and behold — I was not very effective at setting limits.

    Setting limits is kind of important when you’re dating…

    In more case than one, I found myself going just a tad further with some guy I was on a date with than I really wanted. Then I would feel resentful later! I would get so annoyed and angry at the guy in question.

    After one such incident it occurred to me that — lo and behold — the problem was my own. I was the one not setting clear limits!

    I realized that resentment is actually anger at oneself, misdirected at someone else through the lens of victimhood.

    This has been a catch phrase of mine ever since, and has pulled me out of many of resentment spiral!

    I’m curious how this jibes with you. Does this definition resonate?

    Jarl Forsman

    Hi Melissa,

    I think you definitely hit upon the truth! I’ve found that every time I’m angry at someone, it’s really me that I’m angry at for not setting limits or honoring my truth at the time. Great to discover this, it puts you in the drivers seat rather than feeling like a victim of circumstances. Empowering! Good catch. 🙂

    Melissa Dinwiddie

    Yes, exactly, Jari! It takes you out of victimhood and gives you your power back!

    I noticed this recently, when I started kind of blaming my sedentary boyfriend for my own lack of consistency with my exercise commitment. Studies have proven that low physical fitness is “contagious,” and I was latching onto that scientific fact to set the blame outside myself.

    Um, HELLO! It is MY choice whether I exercise each day or not! Yes, I wish my boyfriend were more active, but my own physical fitness is MY responsibility.

    I think it’s an easy temptation to set the blame outside oneself, but I always find it really empowering when I finally suck it up and accept 100% responsibility for my own happiness. 🙂

    I made a piece of art with that saying on it, “100% responsible for my own happiness!” which you can see here (I tried to upload it, but couldn’t):



    I love the way you put this word “resentment” into focus for me. It all comes back to the self! I have just recently been setting boundries with others and I have become so much happier how that has made me feel about myself . I have been amazed and how that has helped my relationships as well. As I practice this my resentments are melting away.


    I completely agree with your view on resentment, you summed it up so beautifully! I’m learning that when I find myself resentful of another person, that I need to really examine what it is specifically that is making me so angry. 9/10 whatever perceived character flaw or unfair action I see them exhibiting is something that I am guilty of as well. The people who we find ourselves resentful towards are our teachers. Usually the things we see in them are reflections of what we see in ourselves – the struggle becomes learning to change those things in ourselves instead of blaming other people for being the way that they are. Adopting realistic expectations and creating firmer boundaries is a huge load off our shoulders. The more we take responsibility for ourselves and the less time we spend waiting for others to do the same, the happier we will be.

    Melissa Dinwiddie

    Kerianne that is so true — the things that annoy us in others are so often the things that we don’t like in ourselves. And yes, realistic expectations and clear, firm boundaries make everyone’s lives better!


    Re-sentment = to feel again. When people dwell in the past, nobody gets better. Hear it then follow that Light.


    I know I’ve got myself stuck firmly in the victim role; now only because I can’t find a different perspective that makes any sense.

    On reading your idea that resentment is anger at oneself if one looks for the actual cause my first thought (for a change) wasn’t “here’s where your argument falls apart.” Rather it was, with a pathetic whine I am loathe to admit to, “but I can’t find it!”

    I can’t resent my parents: it wasn’t their fault. Taking logic backwards – if not them, who? – one arrives at…. Insert your vision of the beginning.

    Any suggestions on what the underlying anger at myself – as yours, in the example, was failure to set limits – might be?

    Throw out lots of ideas please, one and all: I’m looking for an “A-Ha!!!” moment.

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