Expert Profile Menu
Apply for your Expert Profile Page
Expert Articles
Advertise with us

useNature Magazine - the Weekly Column - Tips - Info's - Stories

< Previous Article

Effect of long term resentment

Next Article >

Article by Robert McInnes

Effect of long term resentment

Cognitive Principle Therapy starts with restoring principles in your life, rather than starting with the behaviour. Here we look at the effect of long term resentment on principles. 

Resentment arises out of hurt and becomes the most destructive emotion because it eats away at your principles, namely, trust, respect, commitment, peace, joy, etc until it gets to hope. Once hope is gone then hopelessness can lead to emotional, spiritual or physical death.

One of the main drivers of long term resentment is the combination of loss of control and the giving up of responsibility.

An example of how this may occur is as follows:

Day 1: Father says to son. “what is 1 + 1?”. Son answers 2. Father says wrong, because of synergy, then the answer can be more than two, it could be 3.

His father says, “so go to your bedroom and stay there”.

Day 2: Father says to son. “what is 1 + 1?”. Son answers 3. Father says "Wrong, it is 2. Mathematics is more important than synergy. So go to bedroom and stay there".

Day 3: Father says to son. “what is 1 + 1?”. Son answers it could be 2 or 3 depending on…………….. Father says "Stop trying to be smart. So go to your bedroom and stay there".

Day 4: Father says to son. “what is 1 + 1?. Son now does not answer. He knows he has no control and now matter what responsible answer he gives it will not be accepted.

Father repeats, similar types of questions to the boy from the age of 5 until he is 15.

The boy has worked out very early on that:

-This is unfair [injustice]

-I’m a victim  [no control]

-It’s his fault  [blames]

-It is hopeless [no responsibility]

The boy also goes over these statements in his head, thousands of times over a ten year period. His sub-conscious mind now believes these questions are they most important in the boy’s life:

-Why does he do it?

-What can I do?

 The boy’s conclusion is:

-I don’t know the answer, but:

-You can’t trust authority figures.

-I resent him and anyone else who tries to control me.

-Life is hard, or hopeless or meaningless.

The boy spends the rest of his life being triggered by controlling people. But more importantly he subconsciously seeks controlling partners, so he can find an answer to the unanswerable questions above.

He gives up control to his sub-conscious mind, which continues the quest out of habit and will never stop by himself, unless he can learn to change.

His conscious mind can not control his sub-conscious mind because he needs to be responsible to use his conscious mind, but has given up responsibility.


1.     Do you feel any resentment within you?

2.     Where did it come from?

3.     Can you let it go?

You don’t need to repeatedly go over the past, however, you need awareness of where your resentment came from, so you can let it go.


1.     Forgiveness is the solution to rid yourself of resentment. It is not done primarily for the benefit of the other person. However, unless it is genuine, then it won’t work

2.     To forgive you have to follow these steps:

(i)                Split the person from the behaviour. That is, what they did to you.

(ii)              Forgive the person because they have a problem of some type, either their own unresolved issues from the past, or mental illness or they are morally weak.

(iii)            Put the behaviour aside. You do not have to accept what was done. However, there are consequences for all actions. You need to decide the most appropriate consequence for what the person did. Eg. No longer associate with them.

(iv)            You forgive with your head, but you need to know that it takes time to accept forgiveness with your heart. Be patient and wait until you feel you have forgiven the person.

(v)              Keep going over the steps of forgiveness until the resentment is gone.


28 Oct 2012

Last Update: 13 Nov 2012

Article/Information supplied by Robert McInnes

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.