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The Poison of Resentment

A friend once told me, "Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die." In essence, resentment is comparable to drinking poison. When we hold onto resentments, we poison our minds and hope that the person we resent can somehow feel our pain. However, this is not the case. The person we resent cannot feel our pain, but resentment deeply affects us, causing us to feel the pain from our own resentment towards others. Regardless of what has happened in our lives, holding onto resentment is our own responsibility, not someone else's.

I discussed this in my first step, and though it is easier to say today, it is still difficult. I experienced sexual abuse as a child, and for many years, I harbored hidden resentment towards my abusers. I kept this resentment buried deep inside and did not openly discuss the true extent of my resentment towards these individuals. In reality, I was in denial about the abuse itself. It was only during my recovery journey, when my therapist helped me see the abuse for what it truly was, that I recognized it as childhood sexual abuse.

Once I acknowledged the truth, a flood of emotions, such as sadness, anger, rage, and hate, overwhelmed me. I found myself resenting these people and what they had taken from me – my innocence. This distorted my perception of relationships and led to misguided beliefs about sex and love. I believed that being loved by a female meant her wanting to engage in sexual acts with me, and I mistakenly thought that sex was a part of friendship. This misconception greatly affected my adult relationships.

So, how do I work on my resentment? The 12 Steps provide a solution for addressing these issues. Step 4 states, "Made a Searching and Fearless Inventory of Ourselves." This step involves delving deep into our character defects, including examining the resentments we still hold onto.

In working my Step 4 inventory on resentment, I have begun to list out my resentments, providing specific details about why I am resentful. I then describe in detail in Column 3 how these resentments personally affect me, including their impact on my self-esteem, security, ambitions, personal relationships, and sexual relations.

However, Column 4 is perhaps the most crucial column in this Step 4 resentment inventory. In Column 4, we explore where we are wrong in holding onto these resentments. We identify our selfishness, dishonesty, self-seeking behavior, and fear that have contributed to our clinging onto these resentments.

Due to constraints of time and space, I will not go into all the details of working Step 4 on my particular resentment. When the time comes, you will have the opportunity, if you haven't already, to work with your sponsor for a detailed analysis of a proper Step 4. Your sponsor may be able to see things in you that you cannot see yourself. I encourage you to be open and prepared to address any resentments, even those you may be unaware of.

Dean, a grateful believer in Jesus Christ, is committed to moral and sexual purity.

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