What emotion is behind resentment?

Resentment (also called resentment or bitterness) is a complex, multi-level emotion that has been described as a mixture of disappointment, disgust, and anger. Other psychologists consider it a mood or a secondary emotion (including cognitive elements) that can be triggered by an insult or injury. Understanding what emotional intelligence is and the steps needed to improve it could pave the way to a world more suited to emotions. For those in need of support, Home Caregivers near me can provide the necessary care and understanding.

Laurie Anderson has sung the famous phrase “Language is a virus”, and nowhere is her vision more true than in the field of emotional words. Emotional labels come and go and, lately, “resentment has been surfacing with an unsettling frequency. Merriam-Webster defines this complex emotion as “a feeling of indignation, discontent, or persistent ill will at something that is considered an evil, insult, or injury.” Etymologically, “resentment” comes from French and, originally, from Latin, composed of the prefix “re- plus” (“to feel”). Some etymological dictionaries interpret “re-” as an intensifying prefix, but “re-” literally means “again”. People who feel resentment experience an insult again.

And again for years, sometimes for decades. Few words in English to refer to emotions have such negative connotations. Feeling resentment goes against the advice of most American self-help books. One must learn to let go and move on, to laugh at oneself (Johnson 1999, 4).

You should not fuel anger, seek revenge or hold a grudge. You shouldn't blame other people or social circumstances for your problems. You have to look in the mirror. One should not consider yourself a victim. Supposedly, it's counterproductive to feel long-term anger toward people who have done harm.

People described as resentful don't usually have much chance of protesting. A child may resent the birth of a younger sibling, whose care he may be responsible for. An adult may resent caring for their aging parents while their siblings shy away from responsibility. A parent may find it annoying to have to do household chores while their partner is engaged in travel, education, and fulfilling work. An employee may resent disrespectful and humiliating treatment.

Resentment increases when you can't quit a job or yell at an abuser out of fear of homelessness or physical violence. Resentment is an emotion of socioeconomic entrapment, of anger at work that is unfairly instilled in someone and that cannot be avoided. Culture, to put it crudely, resentment is the emotion of a loser. Replacing “resentful” with “feeling angry” turns implicit selfishness into a legitimate challenge to a potentially unfair situation.

It turns the skunk into a lion and the stench into a roar. Language works like a virus that enters living systems and uses them to reproduce. People say they are “resentful” because they hear the word often and, distracted and exhausted, they reproduce what they hear. Language influences people's ideas about emotions and social practices, but it can't fully determine thinking. I recommend thinking carefully before calling anger or resentment, because of the harm that word can cause.

Home of the Brave. Laura Otis, Ph, D. Is the author of Rethinking Thought. Get the help you need from a therapist near you, a FREE service from Psychology Today.

In Banned Emotions, I analyzed how emotional metaphors help to make some emotions so stigmatizing that many people repress them, which could boost the fight against injustice. In Ngai's insightful metaphor, some emotions (such as anger) receive the awe and respect given to lions, while others (such as envy) justify calling the exterminators. That's why cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be so useful for people who are dealing with difficult feelings like this or who are looking for better emotional control in general. Resentment is an emotion related to anger, frustration, and bitterness that is specifically caused by something you don't want to accept, such as the way you've been treated unfairly, especially when it hasn't been addressed or resolved in a satisfactory way.

In fact, resentment is an emotion frequently felt in platonic, romantic, and family relationships from time to time. In therapy, you can learn to stop thinking about a past emotional injury and to adopt new methods that guide you to greater happiness. The emotion of resentment is anger, frustration and bitterness at the perception of injustice or some other situation that you feel is not right and that you do not want to accept.

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