Resentment or Righteous Anger: How to Know the Difference

Difficult Emotions when you move on after divorce

Who hasn’t gone through a breakup and felt angry, marginalized, or powerless?  Divorce can often act as a catalyst for regaining lost power, but difficult and confusion emotions can complicate the process.  As conscious as we want to consider ourselves, it is actually quite common to fall into the trap of trying to regain our power through manipulation and control.  You need to know where you stand, in yourself, to be able to wield your anger in constructive and empowered ways.

The First Step is Knowing the Difference between resentment and righteous anger!

When your anger is a result of resentment, then you can be sure that you feel unsettled inside, but when your anger is the result of taking a stand, then you will experience a sense of calm – even when you might not get what you want!  Here are some ways to recognize the difference:

RESENTMENT

Resentment is a result of not taking care of yourself, and expecting others to give you what you want even though you haven’t directly asked for it.  Feelings of resentment are common in a breakup because they build over time.  In the beginning, you might have an expectation that your partner will say or do something and when they don’t live up to your expectation, then you feel let down or a little angry.  Burying the little feeling is like planting a seed that eventually turns into a garden of resentment.  Over time, you will discover little ‘volunteer’ plants of resentment where you didn’t expect them.

When you feel resentment, you will have an experience of wanting to get back at your partner (or ex), to hurt them in some way, or “make them pay” for what they’ve done (or not done).  Once you’ve made it to the point of divorce, it’s much more difficult to pull the weeds of resentment, but you can do it.  I’m not here to say it’s an easy task, but I guarantee you that the work you do around releasing your resentment will help you regain your power and leave you feeling the peace of mind you so desperately want to experience.

RIGHTEOUS ANGER

Righteous anger is different than the anger that comes from resentment, because you’re putting your stake in the ground and letting others know what your boundary is.  The way to express righteous anger is to know yourself deeply and know where you stand, so you recognize when a boundary has been crossed.  Regaining your power after divorce or breakup is sacred work and in the process you will discover that many of the choices you made did not serve you.  In this recognition you can stop blaming your ex and start giving yourself what you need.

You’re not always going to get what you want.  You may have to fight for your rights, and as you stand up for yourself from an empowered, matter-of-fact knowing, then you will be able to release your resentments gradually and naturally.

It’s not about “Right” and “Wrong”

We tend to look at things from our own perspectives, so don’t get caught up in believing that your righteous anger is about you being right and your partner being wrong.  There is no right and wrong thinking that will bring you peace.  EVER!  In the knowing of who you are, you can make decisions that are ‘right’ for you and you may take other people into consideration when making your choices.  What you must know is the difference between the actions you take that are  from resentment or righteous anger so you don’t make a bigger mess of things, because divorce and breakups are messy.

Some suggestions:

As you move on after divorce or breakup, it is important to own your feelings!  Know yourself and the pain you’re in and take responsibility for your part of the co-creation of your current circumstances.  Don’t blame anyone else for not getting what you want.  Instead vision the life you want and make choices that lead you toward peace and happiness.  Set and maintain clear boundaries with yourself and others, and above all else: Take care of yourself as if you were one of the top 3 most important people in your life.

COMMENTS Please! (I’ll respond!)

Leave your comments below, by answering one of the following inquiries:

  • What are your top resentments are and your struggles for releasing them as you move on after divorce or breakup?
  • Describe what you’re doing to hold on to or let go of your resentments.
  • What stand do you need to take?
  • How will you commit to taking really good care of yourself this week?
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