Sunday, February 26, 2017

Is it Easy to “Forgive and Forget” ...?

How to deal with Resentment

Resentment means “bitter indignation” due to unjust, unfair or deceitful treatment.

Resentment (a sense of bitterness) occurs because of “perceived injustice” in the past.

Humans are sensitive emotional entities – so – for most of us – in many cases– perceptions matter more than facts.

Resentment is a bitter emotion that has its origins in the past.

The word “resentment” derives from two Latin words:

“re” (meaning “back”) + “sentire” (meaning “to feel”)

Thus – resentment is a feeling due to something that has happened in the past (going “back” in time).

Resentment develops because of your non-acceptance of something that has already happened in your past life.

Resentment comprises “emotional rehashing” – an attempt to “wipe out” the “perceived injustice” that has already happened – but – such attempts to eradicate the “wrongs” from your past life – they do not work – because – you are attempting to do the impossible – you cannot change your past.

Since the event which is causing resentment has already happened in the past – it cannot be undone – so – the “root cause” for resentment cannot be corrected – what has happened has happened – and – you cannot do anything about it.

Resentment is a way of consoling yourself that you have been wronged and unfairly treated – and – as a “victim of injustice” – you are “morally superior” to the person who has “wronged” you.

Resentment causes “self-pity” – and – you begin to picture yourself as a wronged person – a “victim” – who was destined to be unhappy.

Resentment can become an “emotional habit” – and – you may habitually start feeling that you are a continual “victim of injustice” – and – you will picture yourself as a “victimized person” who has been “wronged” in life.

Once you infected by the virus of resentment – in your daily life – you will begin to “search” for “injustices” – to feed your resentment even more.

I have observed that – resentful persons feel “good” only when they are miserable.

Resentment affects your “self-image” and “self-esteem”.

As long as you harbour resentment – it will be difficult for you to picture yourself as a self-confident happy person.

As I said – resentment has its origins in past events – and – you cannot change the past – the only way to deal with resentment is in the present – here and now.

In most cases – your resentment may be towards the person who has caused you the “injustice”.

In such cases – the most popular advice is to “forgive and forget”.

But – this is easier said than done.

Certain things/persons can be forgiven – and – these will not cause you resentment.

But – certain things/persons cannot be forgiven – and – these will cause you resentment.

It varies from person to person – and – those things that you cannot forgive – those “unforgivable” wrongs/injustices – they will cause resentment in you.

Yes – it is these “unforgivable” wrongs/injustices which create resentment in you.

Resentment means that you cannot “forgive and forget” that particular “unjust” thing or the person who has “wronged” you.

But – you can try and mitigate your resentment. 

One practical way of mitigating resentment is to identify the “anchors” which cause you resentment – and then – avoiding those resentment-causing “anchors” (stimulus) – by distancing them from your life.

For example – if your resentment is due to a certain person who has “wronged” you – or has caused you “injustice” – you will feel resentful every time you see that person (though you may “fake” emotions of “forced geniality” for the sake of social graces).

If a certain person is responsible for your resentment – and – if that person is around you all the time – your resentment will worsen.

In such cases – if possible – it is best to remove that person from your life – or – distance yourself from the person responsible for your resentment.

The  “out of sight” = “out of mind”  dictum does work – and – once you are in a new environment – far away from the source of your resentment – you will experience that your resentment will dissipate.

In some cases – your resentment may be associated with an organization or place – so – the best solution is to quit the organization or relocate from that place. 

Introspect – and – identify the entity that is causing you resentment – and then – try to distance yourself from that “toxic” entity. 

Let me give you some hypothetical examples – apocryphal stories:

A man and a woman had an extramarital affair – they were both married to someone else.

There were two “victims” of the adulterous relationship – the respective spouses of the “perpetrators” of the adultery – the “cuckolded” husband of the unfaithful wife – and – the deceived wife of the unfaithful husband.

The deceived wife decided to “forgive and forget”.

She continued to live with her “unfaithful” husband – and – she continued with her married life – as if nothing had happened

The cuckolded husband could not “forgive” his unfaithful wife for her betrayal of “sacrosanct” marital trust.

He divorced his disloyal “adulterous” wife – and – he decided to “move on” in life.

Believing in the  “out of sight” = “out of mind”  dictum – he asked for a transfer – he physically relocated to a new place – then – took up a new job and migrated overseas to begin a new life abroad.

He broke contact with his ex-wife – and – he focused on enjoying his new life – and – his positive forward-looking attitude helped him mitigate the resentment caused by the sordid episode.

He delinked the “anchors” linked to his resentment.

He had overcome his resentment and there was no bitterness in him.

He had got over the sordid episode and he was happy with his new life.

Now – let us see what happened to the deceived wife of the adulterous husband.

Though outwardly – she had “forgiven” her unfaithful husband – in her heart – she still harboured great resentment against her husband for betraying her and having an extramarital affair.

When she came to know that her husband was involved in an extramarital affair – she was devastated by his infidelity – and – she wanted to divorce him.

However – her own parents/in-laws/family/relatives put great pressure on her to “reconcile” with her husband – her unfaithful husband begged forgiveness – and – everyone asked her to “forgive and forget” – and – to continue her marriage.

Though outwardly – it seemed that she had “forgiven and forgotten” – in her heart – she was still resentful of her husband for his act of adultery – and – you could discern that she was still harbouring resentment inside her.

Though she wore a “mask” and tried to “fake” happiness – there was a strange sadness in her eyes – she was no longer her earlier bubbly and gregarious self – from time to time – she disparaged her husband and reminded him of his “sin” – whenever she had an argument with him – and – it was clear that she despised her husband due to the resentment caused by his adulterous act of having an extramarital affair.

Despite her resentment towards her husband – she continued to live with him – and – this resentment had made her life miserable.

She was well qualified – she had a good job – and – she was financially independent – so – she could have divorced her husband – moved on in life – mitigated her resentment – and – become happy – just like her counterpart “victim” of the extramarital affair – the “cuckolded” husband.

But – she chose to continue living with her unfaithful husband – due to social pressure – and – under the false belief that “time is a great healer”.

Time is a great healer.

But – “Time” alone – may not heal resentment.

You may require “space” to mitigate your resentment.

Of course – as I said earlier – it varies from person to person.

Maybe – there are some “broadminded” spouses – who may not feel resentful – if their spouses had an extramarital affair – which – they may consider a “minor indiscretion”.

On the contrary – some persons may feel resentful for what most others may consider “small misdemeanours”.

Resentment can happen in all relationships – personal and professional.

Even at work – you may feel that you have been unfairly treated – or – feel a sense of mistrust – this may cause resentment towards your boss or the entire organization.

I remember – in the Navy (and Army, Air Force too) – many deserving officers get “passed over” for promotion due to the steep hierarchical pyramid unique to the military.

Hence – many officers get “superseded” at a relatively young age despite being professionally competent.

Some superseded officers “forgive and forget” – and – they continue the military life without any resentment – and – they remain happy and healthy.

Most superseded officers cannot “forgive and forget” – and – they feel a sense of resentment towards the organization (Army/Navy/Air Force/Defence Services).

Of these – some officers resign and quit the Navy/Army/AirForce – and – they “move on” to a second career in the civilian world.

By distancing themselves from their earlier organization/environment – these officers mitigate their resentment in due course.

However – some resentful officers remain in the Army/Navy/AirForce – and – they become more and more bitter and rancorous day by day.

These resentful officers not only make their own lives miserable due to their resentment – but they also spread unpleasantness and negativity in the environment – and generate “toxic” vibes which have a demoralizing effect on everyone in their vicinity.

Some superseded officers become “bloody-minded” as their resentment makes them spiteful and acrimonious.

Others wallow in “self-pity” as they feel that they are “victims” of injustice.

Some of these “self-pity” type superseded officers try to “drown their sorrows” in alcohol and slip into the abyss of alcoholism.

The become alcoholics, destroy their own health and ruin the lives of their families.

Resentment can make you miserable – and – in extremis – if you allow resentment to grow within you – your resentment can overwhelm you – and – even destroy you.

Remember – in your personal and professional life – you may feel that you have been cruelly “wronged” – or – gross “injustice” has been done to you.

Whenever such a thing happens – you must introspect.  

If you can “forgive and forget” – it is fine

But – in case you cannot “forgive and forget” – it is best to move on – and try to mitigate your resentment.

Remember – each person is different.

Something that causes resentment in one person – that same thing may not cause resentment in someone else.

So – when something demoralizing happens – and if you feel that you have been “wronged” by someone and you are a “victim” of injustice – you should introspect – whether you can “forgive and forget” – or – whether it is “unforgivable” and will give rise to resentment in you.

And then – you can act accordingly.

Dear Reader – let me conclude by saying:

Once a relationship is contaminated by resentment – it is best to end the resentful relationship.

Yes – if you cannot “forgive and forget” – rather than let resentment make your life miserable and worsen your relationship – if feasible – isn’t it better to “break up” – rather than try to make a pretence of a “patch-up”...? 

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

1. These are my personal views. They may or may not work for everyone. Please exercise your own due diligence in your life. 
2. It is easy to preach, but difficult to practice what you preach. I try my best to practice what I preach (and preach what I practice) to the extent feasible.
3. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved

No comments: