Few positive things come from acts fueled by resentment. Resentment is the soil that hatred grows in, for the loved ones of many addicts (especially children and spouses) and substance abusers it can contribute to an unhappy household. Although it may seem that recovery only has to do with the addict, it is also an opportunity for family members to recover from their experiences with an addict. Unfortunately, many don’t see rehab as an opportunity to do this.
Practice identifying the underlying emotions that anger you. This includes hurt or fear. Always work hard to be present in the moment and to accept the feelings they
Be actively engaged in your anger and resentment. Observe it and allow it to exist. You’ll find that unless you give it power, it remains inert in your consciousness.
Identify how your actions and words may have factored into the situations you are resentful about. Remember no relationship is one-sided, and that everyone has their part to play in any given situation.
Practice expressing anger and resentment in different ways. Consider joining a support group to share your experiences in a safe place with others. You can write your feelings down in a journal. You can channel them through physical activity by working out. Take a walk or run, going for a hike, or playing a sport. You can do yoga or learn healing arts if you’re interested in mindfulness. Meditation can aid in introspection. If there is something you’re passionate about, join an activist group that focuses on non-violent protesting.
As hard as it may seem, try to practice treating people you feel angry at or have resentment toward with compassion. The Golden Rule is just that. “Do to others what you would have done to you.” Take note of your action toward them and their reaction. When you treat others well, they often treat you well too.
Try not to turn your resentment and anger toward people and situations. Also, try not to put yourself in situations with people who also feel resentment. It’s easy to commiserate over your anger. Resist the urge to join in this negativity, and try to be an example for others by shedding your anger.
Remind yourself that you can’t change the past, all you can do is make peace with it. Find ways to remind yourself of this whenever you need to. You don’t have to like what’s happened in the past to accept it. By not letting the past burden you, you are relieved of their weight. Use it as an opportunity to enjoy new experiences.
Take note of all your feelings, not just resentment. The more you become attuned to your emotional needs, the more you can address them. There is no shame in having feelings, but it’s important to accept them and understand them.
Put yourself in their shoes. Whoever you hold anger towards, whoever you resent – put yourself in their shoes. What does the situation look like on their end? This can help you understand your situation better, and let go of resentment toward the other party.
Be responsible for your feelings. Own them. We all have complex emotions for events that have happened in our lives; some are more formative than others. What’s important is you identify them and admit to them. This is one step in helping overcome the feelings.
Forgive. Easier said than done, but forgiveness will help you move on. Once you’ve identified your feelings, the reasons for their existence and how to overcome them,
the next step is to forgive. Saying you forgive doesn’t mean you feel it though. Make sure you are ready to make this step. Seeking council with a therapist or a support group can help you gain insight into your readiness to forgive.
Use “I statement” feeling terms, and don’t use “you.” It’s important not to be accusatory. Once you accuse, the conversation can shut down or become confrontational. By using “I” statements, you help the other person realize how a situation or something they did affects you. If this is difficult for you to, consider mediation with a therapist.
Connect physically. This is true for spouses and families. Hugs, kisses, hand holding and other physical acts of affection are encouraged when you’re ready. Holding someone in your arms is a tangible, real way to experience their existence in your life. For many, resentment can make you so angry, it’s difficult for you touch (let alone be in the same room as) a person. But once you’re ready to forgive and let go, it will be easier to do.
Do nice things for others. A good way to practice gratitude and make you feel happy is to do nice things for others. Help yourself by helping someone in need. It could be helping a stranger, a volunteer opportunity, or an acquaintance. Whatever you choose, find a way to help others as a way to heal your anger.
Stay open to all outcomes. Whether you forgive and let go your resentment or not, it’s important to be open-minded. For some, letting go of resentment may be just seeing a person once or twice a year at a family gathering, for another, it may be daily contact. There is no right way to resolve resentment. What’s vital to the process is you feel good about what you’re doing.
Rehabilitation is a wonderful opportunity to participate in family therapy. Unlike cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or individual psychotherapy, it brings the whole family together to engage in the recovery process. Family Therapy is best done when the patient has already undergone detox and is mentally prepared to confront the resentment and anger their family is experiencing due to their addiction. This therapy, sometimes in the treatment facility, is one important step in the recovery process.
To ensure you can go on with your life as a happy person, the focus should be placed on overcoming resentment and anger toward your loved one. Remember, addiction is a disease, and once they can maintain a sober life, you may find a changed person. Stay open to the outcomes, to the possible relapses and to the success of the person you once loved. You’ll be a happier person for it.
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