Three Taverns Church

Resentment: A Tool of Denial


“We look at resentments. We’ve found out they are a distortion of the truth – a way to take a situation, cast the blame on somebody else, and totally escape, so we have nothing to do with it whatsoever!” – Joe McQ, The Steps We Took

This quote from Joe McQ’s book The Steps We Took sums up perfectly what I do with my resentments: I absolve myself completely of all responsibility for a problematic situation, making the issue everyone’s’ fault but mine. Resentment is a tool I use to live in denial: It allows me to create a shield around my fragile persona that ‘protects’ me from the truth about myself. I act like many drug users I see portrayed in films and TV shows, blaming their dads, their bosses, their wives, everyone and every circumstance in their lives for their drug use…all while the viewer can see the drug user is just being weak and selfish. As I reflect on my own life I can see this scenario playing out over and over.

For example, I think of my former boss and how I resented him for the two years I worked for him, and for most of the year after I quit. I think about how I hated that he did not promote me when our company expanded; how he talked down to me; how he patronized me. I now realize what a poor employee I was, how selfish and unwilling I was to really contribute or be a team player. But as McQ’s quote above points out, as long as I was harboring resentments my problems were all my boss’ fault and my behavior was excused because of his behavior.

I hope that if I encountered that same situation today, instead of getting angry and resentful I would instead recognize my own bad behavior, correct it, and move on. I cannot keep holding all these resentments in. I need to accept responsibility for my own actions and let everyone else worry about themselves.

Are you harboring resentments to excuse your bad behavior or treatment of others?

8 thoughts on “Resentment: A Tool of Denial

  1. Great post that almost anyone can relate to. I’m behind on my reading this week, but look forward to catching up soon….always blessed by reading your posts!

  2. Pingback: The Week in Quotes! « New View From Here

  3. We have all done this. I have most certainly done this. But there is so much positive to be found in realizing it, like having more humility and a better understanding of others. I love the way you use confession to help others give self-reflection a try.

    • Hi linneann, thanks for the comment. I agree that finding the nature of our resentments is very positive; God truly is gracious when He opens our eyes to our faults, so that we can begin to be changed in those areas.

  4. I think resentment stems from two things: 1. Our expectations of others, 2. Being attached to the outcome. When we can manage both of those we no longer see resentment as a blaming mechanism.

    • This sounds like something Buddha would say. 😉 Our expectations drive our responses far more than I think we realize, as do our attachment to expected outcomes. I dealt with some more resentmen today during my graduation ceremony, and my expectations and attachment to outcomes were both noticable drivers of my emotional response. Very good insight, stu!

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