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How to Overcome Resentment

Carol Pulido, LIcensed Mental Health Counselor
Carol Pulido, LIcensed Mental Health Counselor
July 12, 2022
How to Overcome Resentment

More and more often I’ve been seeing the same thing in my practice:  A person comes to me because they feel overwhelmed.  Once we get to exploring what is really going in their life, it’s obvious they suffer from “I’m doing too much.”  It’s common for competent, high-achieving women to take on the burdens of their family and friends because they know they can do it.  However, this leads to feelings of anxiety, depression, irritability, and resentment.   If this sounds familiar to you, keep reading to learn ways to alleviate this stressor.  I’m Carol Pulido, I’m a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, I’d love to share some techniques that you can use to help you live a balanced life.  In this blog post, we will explore the profound connection between boundaries, resentment, and the pursuit of self-care. Additionally, we will delve into the importance of boundaries for those seeking healing and fulfillment.

Let’s start with boundaries… We talk about boundaries a lot, but what really is a boundary?  A boundary is simply a personal limit that defines where you end and where others begin. It is a clear declaration of your needs, values, and limits.  Boundaries act as a protective shield, but they are not barriers or walls. Rather, they are healthy guidelines that promote healthy communication, mutual understanding, and self-care. By setting and upholding boundaries, you honor your own worth and create a framework for healthy connections and personal growth.  The #1 thing I would like you to remember is this: “Boundaries begin with yourself.” Boundaries are not blocking people from coming near you.  Boundaries are a declaration that you are trying to preserve the relationship.  If you didn’t care about the relationship, you would just end it.

Let’s move on to resentment.   Resentment often arises when our own needs, values, or limits are consistently disregarded or violated. It serves as a warning sign that we have neglected to establish and maintain healthy boundaries. By recognizing resentment as a signal for unmet boundaries, we empower ourselves to take action, and to make positive changes.  Many people operate under the idea that because they do so much for others, others should reciprocate.  This is flawed thinking that leads directly to resentment.  Unless we explicitly ask for something, we cannot have the expectation that the other person will fulfill it.  Additionally, if  we have chosen to do the thing for them, it was our choice.  Therefore, we can’t expect everyone to act as we would.  In life, when you are dealing with someone who consistently takes from you and does not reciprocate, set the boundary with yourself to scale back your giving.  I hope you are starting to see the connection between resentment being a lack of boundary with ourselves.

Establishing and upholding boundaries is an act of self-care. By setting and respecting our limits, we protect our emotional and mental well-being, ensuring we have the necessary resources to thrive personally and professionally.  High achievers often prioritize the needs of others, neglecting their own. Take time to identify and acknowledge your emotional, physical, and mental needs. Recognize that meeting these needs is crucial for your overall well-being and success.

Ok, so now what?  How do we begin to set clear, healthy boundaries?

Communicate Assertively Graphic
Communicate Assertively:

Clearly and respectfully express your boundaries to others.

Use "I" statements to convey your limits and expectations, while remaining open to negotiation and compromise when appropriate.

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Practice Self-Awareness:

Develop a heightened sense of self-awareness to recognize when your boundaries are being crossed.

Listen to your emotions and instincts, and take steps to address boundary infringements promptly

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Learn to Say No:

Saying no is an act of self-preservation, allowing you to protect your time, energy, and resources.

Practice setting boundaries by saying no when necessary and learning to prioritize your own well-being.

No is a complete sentence.  You do not need to explain yourself.

If you are finding yourself in an unhealthy relationship, you may need to focus on healing.  To move forward, you will want to educate yourself; understand the dynamics of unhealthy relationships and their impact on your well-being. Gain knowledge about manipulative behaviors, gaslighting, and the importance of establishing firm boundaries to reclaim your power.

Engage the assistance of a licensed therapist or counselor specializing in relationship abuse recovery. They can guide you through the healing process, provide validation, and help you establish healthy boundaries.

Cultivate self-compassion as you navigate the journey of healing. Embrace self-care practices, such as journaling, mindfulness, and engaging in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.

Boundaries serve as a powerful tool in overcoming resentment, preserving relationships, and nurturing self-care. For high achievers who often find themselves drained and resentful, boundaries are crucial for maintaining balance and fulfillment. Additionally, in the context of recovery from unhealthy relationships, boundaries become a vital part of reclaiming one's self-worth and rebuilding a life of empowerment. By embracing the transformative power of boundaries, you can liberate yourself from resentment, foster self-care, and embark on a path of healing and personal growth. Remember, your well-being is paramount, and boundaries are your allies on this journey of self-discovery and fulfillment.