What is resentment?
Resentment is a form of indignation or anger experienced due to unfair treatment. It may result from an inadequate expression of emotions, probably after a painful experience. It can also emanate from a true, misunderstood, or imagined injustice. As much as criticisms from a boss can facilitate indignation or grudging feelings, a careless comment from a friend can also evoke a similar feeling. An individual experiencing it may feel victimized such that they become too ashamed or angry to discuss the resulting emotions. This allows the hatred to aggravate and be communicated in the form of anger.
Resentment tends to build up in any kind of relationship – intimate, short-term, and long-term. Some of the common characteristics may include:
- Score keeping – One person in a relationship may feel they are constantly doing every heavy lifting in the relationship – childcare, housework, being the primary breadwinner, initiating intimacy and emotional connection. This may trigger the feeling of resentment towards their partner.
- Hurtful words – When a couple spends a longer time together, there is an increased probability of one of them in saying something that might hurt the other. This probable feeling of resentment can prevent them from communicating openly.
- Unbalanced power dynamics – When one partner feels overpowered, unheard, or steamrolled constantly, they may start to harbor resentment.
Nelson Mandela once likened resentment to a situation where you drink poison and then hopes it will kill your enemies. Isn’t that a figment of your imagination? Of course, it is! Those who have resentment are prone to develop feelings of shame and annoyance. The bad thoughts you hold inside of you eat away at you like cancer. Also, just like cancer spreads to kill its host, resentment also speeds the decay inside.
What is resentment from pornography?
Resentment can occur as a result of big or small traumas in life. It can also be sexual, verbal, and emotional. It has even been regarded as the number one killer of alcoholics. Resentment can come as a result of pornography and sex addiction. Pornography and sexual acting out is often used by individuals to medicate the pain they experience or have experienced. Research has indicated that a lot of women feel betrayed by men who are addicted to porn, though their partners don’t necessarily identify it as a transgression.
The truth is that resentment often brings an emotional charge to your brain such that you are prevented from seeing your destructive behaviors as well as diseased attitudes. You may not see the damage you are experiencing or inflicting on yourself when you expected something or someone else to be either the cause or cure of your distress.
What are the signs of resentment as a result of pornography?
The following signs can indicate you are harboring resentment:
- Recurring or continual feelings of strong emotion, like anger, especially when thinking about a particular experience or interaction
- Feelings of regret
- Confusion over how images or pictures and videos became more important than family, marriage, career, and place of worship
- Inability to stop the thought of the event that often triggered the strong emotions
- Fear or avoidance of conflict
- Unacknowledged emotional abandonment
- Feeling invisible and inadequate
- Tense relationships
What are the effects of resentment on mental health?
Resentment damages psychological makeup. It makes you dwell on such feelings such that you begin to seek out future causes of those feelings that never existed in the first place; thus, this destroys your mindset. Not only that, but it also causes you to view and see things through the spectacles of negativity. The effect of this is that it prevents you from seeing rewarding opportunities that are coming your way. The following feelings are subsumed under this heading:
Though porn tends to offer pleasures, make its consumer feel better by satisfying their cravings and improving their mood, however, it leaves them empty, angry, and unsatisfied. This self-destructive decision makes them feel cheated and develop resentment towards themselves. The human brain can generate infinitely more happiness and satisfaction in our lives through the intimacy we share with our spouse.
Porn addicts who have worked hard to maintain a positive self-image tend to find it difficult to face their shortcomings, pitfalls, and failures. They find it daunting to divulge their secrets especially when they find their mistakes disappointing. Unfortunately, this secretive feeling keeps them trapped such that they seek out to lay the blame on themselves.
The consumption of porn thrives in secrecy. For many consumers, the shame of porn consumption is a result of continuously acting against their values. This evokes a feeling of anger as well as inadequacy in them. Thus, they believe they are not worth loving. When they live in shame and feel disconnected from love, they develop low value and lack control over their life.
When a consumer is repeatedly exposed to porn consumption, the cues that arouse them are changed. This is because porn portrays largely unrealistic scenes that are not portrayed in real-life relationships. When a porn consumer is unable to keep their porn-induced preferences in their partner, they start to resent the fact that they are together with someone who doesn’t live up to their new and unrealistic expectations. This leads them to the feeling that they didn’t go for the right partner.
- Seeing partners as hindrances
People who are highly consumed by pornography always feel their partners are getting in their way, particularly when they have the urge to view porn but their partners are around. The irrational obsession has programmed their mind to derive pleasure from porn rather than a healthy sexual connection or interaction with their partner. When this feeling is routinely disrupted, the victim directs their anger at their partner. This consistent anger builds up to develop emotional incongruence. After a while, their brain begins to make them find some other reasons to justify their anger. In no distant time, every trivial issue becomes opportunities and “platforms” to become angry at their partner.
Resentment will ultimately destroy your personality which will have adverse effects on your friendships as well as your relationships with family members. Nobody will want to spend any time with you or even interact with you. Thus, you feel alone and more empty.
How can you overcome pornography resentment?
Letting go of resentment can be done by adjusting one’s emotional responses or frame of mind. The following ways can help you overcome resentment.
This is the first step in healing the wound of resentment. There is power in forgiveness. In this sense, forgiveness is not about pardoning, forgetting, reconciling, condoning or excusing. Rather, it is the process through which a victim of resentment changes their attitude toward the offence, while also letting go of negative emotions as well as creating an increased ability to wish themselves well.
Live your life with gratitude
Resentment often thrives on self-victimization. People who are enslaved by pornography and sex addiction usually see the problems with their lives. They live with bitterness and are trapped in a cycle of pessimism and negativity. They feel unworthy of getting anything good in their lives, particularly love. Therefore, overcoming it is essential for healthy recovery. To do this, you need to live your life with gratitude. Each day, acknowledge the several ways in which you have been blessed and be thankful for them. Alternatively, you can keep a gratitude list. Take out a few minutes to list out the people, events, situations, and things for which you are grateful in your life. Then always read through the list while also thanking Allah for such blessings. This will help you focus on good things as well as keeping you from relapsing.
Increasing your core values
This is the ability to create value as well as meaning in life while also staying true to the values. A feeling of resentment violates these deepest values consistently by devaluing things that the victims value. Therefore, when you increase these core values, they appreciate against every form of resentment.
Self-compassion and personal actualization
People who hold on to resentment for an extended period discover that the emotions often associated with the resentment, such as regret or anger, also provide a sense of familiarity or security. When you develop self-actualization, you tend to accurately perceive reality, develop compassion and empathy for others, and accept the self and others easily, therefore making it less probable to blame others for wrongs or even hold on to resentful feelings.
It’s essential to remember that porn fuses every part of the human brain which processes negative feelings such as resentment. Just like other emotions, resentment is something everyone tackles at a certain point in their lives. Irrespective of its relation to mental illness, it is a part of being human. However, if neglected, resentment tends to become overpowering and toxic to the person harboring it. You become like whatever you watch.