How to Deal with Resentment After a Betrayal
Dear Ask a Professional: How do I deal with resentment I've had for 2 years over someone who betrayed me?
Reinhard: Most people’s first reaction to such a disappointment is sadness and anger. Sometimes the anger remains and turns into resentment. And then resentment becomes a substitute for grief and for having realized that things are over.
Maybe you can also feel how much these negative feelings tie you to this person? And how this prevents you from moving on in life? Maybe you’re thinking over and over again: How could they do this to me? Why did they have to hurt me in this way? Why wasn’t I important enough for them to act differently? But all of these past thoughts about what happened didn’t allow you to move on, did they? Therefore, put this thought confidently aside for the time being and stop believing in them.
Another issue relating to your situation could be that after such a long time the feeling of resentment has become your personality trait. You’ve become used to thinking in this way and your body reacting to these thoughts, which, in turn, confirmed and reinforced your negative thoughts, images and emotions. You were so used to these thoughts and feelings that even though they wore you down, you began to identify with them. And now you maybe feel like they are a part of you.
This means that if you were to let go of the resentment for one moment, it would feel strange or even wrong to you. Maybe you’d even feel for a moment that you’re not your usual self. Just try it out right now! Ask yourself this question: “Who would I be without this feeling?” and take your time to feel what is happening in your body.
Another question could be: What is this feeling of resentment still doing here? We often want the other person to apologize to us. We want them to understand that they are guilty of doing something wrong, and for them to realize how much it hurt us. And then we hold a grudge and suffer, while hoping the other one will realize and regret the mistake they made. But this rarely happens. We shouldn’t just place our own happiness into someone else's hands in this way, right? Interestingly enough, even if the other person apologizes to us, we only feel a short relief. Why? Because we can only find a lasting and healthy solution within ourselves!
Here is one last point of view: Holding onto a negative emotion is always also related to ourselves. Maybe it’s a way of repeating our past trauma or something that one of our family members also experienced at some point. If this is the case, then resentment can also be seen as your soul sending you a message, telling you to take a look at your trauma and heal it. As human beings we can't being fixed, but we can heal.
About the Professional
Reinhard Schotola is a certified Life-Coach and Family-Constellation Coach for ReFlow. His life has been marked by constant change on all levels. He combines empathy and psychological understanding (soft facts) with his special analytical skills for hard facts.
Reinhard loves to answer the question: "What the hell is really going on!" He also solves complex personal or organizational-operative problems with passion, and guides complex transformation and change processes together with his clients. People who come to him seek out new perspectives, true understanding and are willing to change.