I’ve tried again and again to overcome feelings of isolation, self-loathing and disconnection from the world around me. I try to form friendships, and be a part of, with limited success and sometimes disastrous results.
It took several years of clean time in a 12-step program for me to fully appreciate how much resentment I had accumulated and why I continued my relationship with resentment. I remember the first time I heard the phrase “resentments are like drinking a cup of poison and expecting the other person to die.”
I was stunned by the truth of the statement. I started to realize that justified or not, the people, institutions and things that I resented the most never lost a moment of sleep over it. I talked to my support group and examined my behaviors and understood that all my resentments came from expectations. I decided to get to the source of the problem, and let go of my expectations whenever I could. This worked well, and I found that living without expectations, as much as possible, I was able to see many things that happened as gifts, such as a friend who calls after a long absence, finding that lost $10 bill, or a picturesque scene at the local market.
Life was good for a time, and I grew rich in experiences. I was able to process and let go of any number of expectations, moving to gratitude quickly. Resentments came and went like the tide, but I never understood what they left behind until everything came crashing to a halt. In 2016, my world abruptly ended; work and friendships shattered and the very things I cherished the most seemed to be in shambles. I withdrew and sought comfort in the rooms of a healthy 12-step fellowship, working with newcomers and rebuilding my life with good supports, selfless service and a healthy smattering of counseling. An old friend wondered about my resentments from the experience, but I was focused on the principles behind it, and we parted ways for the last time.
I have struggled with anxiety and I am often overcome with emotions. I alternate between humility and horror at the magnitude of the internal issues before me. I’ve tried again and again to overcome feelings of isolation, self-loathing and disconnection from the world around me. I try to form friendships, and be a part of, with limited success and sometimes disastrous results.
I recently learned that my thoughts can be divided into four categories: truths, ideas, beliefs and emotions. Every thought falls into one of those categories. My counselor taught me that truths are unquestionable, Ideas are unlimited, beliefs are unprovable, and emotions are unmanageable. Truths have no emotion connected to them, and are simply facts. A truth is that I am 6 feet tall, and I don’t have any emotions tied to the fact. Ideas are wild with little or no basis in the moment, whirling around like dust devils, only to collapse and disappear. Beliefs are my understanding of how the world works, and emotions come from having my beliefs challenged or supported…
Find out more about this resentment in the rest of the original article Where, Oh Where Did My Resentment Go? at The Fix.