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15 Reasons We Can’t Let Go and Hold Tightly Onto Resentment

Being hurt by someone, whether on purpose or unintentionally, often has a long-lasting effect on us. It can cause a series of overwhelming feelings, including anger, grief, irritation, outrage, and confusion. Some people end up holding these mixed emotions in their heads, which results in persistent resentment against the circumstance or the person who did it. 

Resentment is a feeling many of us have felt at some point. And while holding onto resentment is challenging and not so great for us, letting go can be one of the hardest things to do.

But holding grudges can damage our mental and physical health. Research shows that holding onto negative emotions like resentment can ramp up stress and lead to chronic health problems. Let’s examine the 15 most common reasons people find it hard to let go of resentment. 

1. Unresolved Issues or Lack of Closure

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When concerns about another person’s behavior go unaddressed, resentment often builds. This unresolved issue keeps the wound open, revealing our underlying frustration and stopping us from moving forward.

To avoid conflict, try resolving the issue by speaking directly with the concerned person and expressing your thoughts. If a direct conversation isn’t feasible, consider journaling your thoughts and feelings, as this can be highly therapeutic.

2. Victim Mindset

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A victim mindset can stop us from letting go of resentment. When we see ourselves as victims, we blame others or circumstances for our problems. This makes us feel powerless and unable to control our emotions. It’s easier to blame others than to take responsibility or find solutions.

To break free from this mindset, we need to reflect on ourselves and take charge of our emotions. We should learn to see what we can control and what we can’t. This awareness helps us move past resentment and toward personal growth. Focusing on gratitude and the positive aspects of our lives can also shift us away from feeling like victims.

3. Fear of Vulnerability

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When we hold onto resentment, it’s usually because we’re afraid of being vulnerable. According to Dr. Brené Brown, “The willingness to be vulnerable is based on the belief that you will not be rejected or hurt.” 

However, for many people, being vulnerable feels like taking a big risk, so it’s easier to hold onto resentment to shield themselves. While this attitude keeps us away from pain, it also stops our healing. Avoiding vulnerability can isolate us and stop our emotional growth in the long run!

4. Letting Go Make Us Feel Powerless

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Letting go of resentment can make us feel powerless because it means giving up the control we think we have over the situation or person who hurt us. Surrendering these feelings can feel like admitting defeat and losing control. This can be hard for those who use resentment to cope with their emotions.

However, this sense of power is an illusion. True strength lies in letting go and moving forward. By letting go, we choose to move past the hurt and take control of our emotional well-being. This new perspective helps us regain power positively. 

5. Difficulty in Forgiving

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While forgiveness is considered a crucial step for letting go of resentment, forgiving someone who has caused you pain is not easy. Holding onto anger can feel like a way to protect ourselves, making forgiveness seem really tough. 

Also, forgiveness is not just about moving on; true forgiveness means offering empathy, compassion, and understanding to those who hurt you. (Which is even harder). 

However, it’s worth the effort. Research shows that forgiveness improves mental health, reducing anxiety and depression while also benefiting physical health and longevity. 

6. Fear of Confrontation

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Like fear of vulnerability, fear of confrontation can also prevent us from addressing issues that lead to resentment. Avoiding difficult conversations may seem easier in the short term, but it can have long-lasting effects on our emotional well-being.

Learning healthy communication strategies and recognizing issues positively can help overcome this fear. Seeking support from loved ones or therapy can also provide tools for effectively handling such situations.

7. Need for Validation

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We often seek assurance that the wrongdoer will take responsibility and offer an apology. However, clinging to this hope keeps us waiting on circumstances beyond our control. Instead, focus on your validation. 

Surround yourself with people who value and encourage you. Seek affirmation from those who genuinely care about you and from within yourself rather than looking to the offender for it.

8. You Feel Betrayed

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It can be extremely distressing to have someone you trust deceive you. Feeling resentful is a way to hold people accountable.

However, the best thing is to let go of the need for revenge. Make an effort to regain confidence in your judgment and yourself. While holding onto your anger can feel right, doing so won’t restore the lost trust. Choose people you can trust in the future, and concentrate on restoring your confidence.

9. Low Self-Esteem

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We are more likely to take things personally and harbor resentment when we lack self-confidence. Low self-esteem makes us focus on negative experiences and small insults, creating a cycle of self-doubt and bitterness. Resentment can become a way to seek validation or feel worthy.

Build your self-esteem by paying attention to self-improvement and self-compassion. When you have an increased sense of self-worth, it might help you forgive people who have harmed you and move past setbacks.

10. Need for Justice

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Feeling wronged can make it hard to let go of resentment. When people think they’ve been unfairly treated, it’s difficult to move on. It can include personal relationships, work issues, or societal matters. Dwelling on these feelings can lead to ongoing anger and frustration, making it even harder to let go.

However, accepting that not all situations can be resolved and focusing on what we can control helps release resentment. Letting go of anger benefits our well-being and helps us in the long run.

11. You Are Emotionally Invested

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Emotional investment plays a big role in why many people find it tough to let go of resentment. When we put our emotions, time, and energy into a relationship, job, or cause, we develop strong attachments and expectations. 

This emotional bond can intensify our reactions when things go wrong, making it harder to deal with disappointments and perceived betrayals. The more emotionally invested we are in a situation or person, the harder it is to let go.

12. Psychological Benefits

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Believe it or not, there are some psychological benefits to holding onto resentment. For some, it helps them make sense of their experiences. Focusing on the wrongs they’ve faced can validate their feelings and act as a temporary coping mechanism. 

However, this is often short-lived and can harm long-term emotional well-being, leading to chronic stress and affecting mental health and relationships. 

13. Negative Thinking

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Sometimes, negative thinking patterns become our way of life, leading us to hold onto resentment. When we keep thinking about past traumas or when we were wronged, it’s tough to move on. 

To come out of this negative loop, start by spotting and challenging those negative thoughts. Plus, practicing gratitude and mindfulness can shift our focus to the present and help us develop a more positive outlook.

14. Comparison to Others

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Comparing ourselves to others can contribute to feelings of resentment. When it seems like we’re not keeping up or meeting society’s standards, it’s easy to resent those who seem to have everything.

Instead, focus on self-acceptance and progress. Loving ourselves and recognizing our unique strengths can help us let go of resentment toward others.

15. It Feels Familiar

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For many people, resentment can feel strangely familiar and even comforting. This is because they’ve felt it many times over the years, making it a part of their emotional life. Over time, living with resentment can shape how they see the world and their relationships.

The predictability of these negative feelings can create a sense of strength, even if it’s unhealthy. This can make it hard to imagine life without resentment, as letting go means losing power. Breaking free from these feelings requires self-awareness and a willingness to change, which can be tough.

18 Phrases That Will Instantly Disarm a Narcissist

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Have you ever found yourself tangled in a conversation with a narcissist, only to find yourself feeling drained and manipulated? We all have encountered a difficult person in our lives (or maybe more). Narcissists have this knack for twisting any situation to their benefit, leaving others feeling frustrated and powerless. 

18 Phrases That Will Instantly Disarm a Narcissist

17 Things That Happen When Someone Stops Drinking

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Have you ever wondered what changes you might see in yourself once you put down the glass for good? Deciding to quit drinking, even if you don’t drink “that much,” can be life-changing. 

Studies show that alcohol consumption has been linked to over 200 diseases and around 178000 deaths in the US each year. You’re taking a decisive step towards improving your health and overall well-being by quitting drinking.

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One Comment

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