Resentment is a challenging obstacle to overcome after psychopathic abuse. Mostly any spiritual or psychological path will outline the reasons why resentment is unhealthy for the body, mind, and heart. Even years after the abuse has ended, a person can “move on” (never consciously thinking about the abuser anymore) while still carrying resentment in the body. This can start to manifest in numerous different ways: depression, anxiety, addiction, irritability, blood pressure problems, energy levels, etc.
The first key to overcoming resentment is allowing it to be there. Understand that you were thrown into an impossible situation, and you did the best you could at the time. Narcissists and sociopaths naturally cause a great deal of anger in their targets, because they are so intentional and remorseless in their abuse. And they tend to brag about it, which doesn’t help. It would be nearly impossible NOT to be resentful about this, so please don’t feel any shame or guilt for having a completely normal human reaction to psychological abuse.
Once you’ve acknowledged and allowed this resentment to be there, the next step is realizing that you might be happier without it. This is not asking you to pretend the abuse wasn’t real, or that is wasn’t “that bad”. It is simply an understanding that your heart might feel more free without resentment, as millions of older & wiser people have already documented long before us
After that comes the hard part: releasing it. This is a hugely personal path, but several tools that have helped me very much are exploring spirituality, forgiveness (especially of the self), gratitude, and mindfulness. I’m not a very spiritual person, so this has been a slow process for me, but it’s also been very rewarding. I’m learning to be more patient as I discover this is not an overnight process, but one that takes a lot of time and practice.
While psychopaths inevitably betray their chosen targets, a lot of this journey is actually about releasing the idea of betrayal from our own hearts, so that we can be free. Betrayal convinces us that we are being let down, and that our needs won’t be met. Breaking beyond this belief (however true it might have been) allows us to live in the present moment again. This isn’t about rewriting history, but rather finding joy and meaning in the process of opening of our own hearts.
Beneath resentment is often a great deal of shame, worthlessness, inadequacy, and sadness. When we let down our walls, we’re able to work with these softer emotions and realize that our knowledge & intuition still remain fully in tact. We do not need to worry about suddenly becoming a doormat again, or bringing another toxic individual into our lives.
In fact, as we explore these underlying wounds, we’re likely to start offering something new to ourselves: unconditional love. When we see someone in pain (including ourselves), this is our natural reaction. And so in this process, tight resentment around the heart is slowly replaced by true love and understanding.
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