How Guilt and Resentment Can Fuel Your Anger
"A man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green." - Francis Bacon
If you have been concerned about whether or not you have an issue with anger, the first step is to try to trace your triggers that are setting off such a strong emotional response.
One of the most common mistakes we make when assessing our anger issues is to feel as if external things are making us angry, when in fact anger is an internal process. Anger is usually a sign that something in your life needs to be worked on to get back in balance. It is often an indication that other emotions are at play, such as guilt and resentment.
Guilt usually results from a sense of having done something wrong, or falling short of someone else’s expectations. It could be something minor such as showing up late for a date or forgetting to buy a birthday gift. These situations can also lead to resentment - someone is expecting something from you and you hate feeling like you’ve let them down.
Parents can often make children feel guilty by not meeting their expectations, which can be spoken or unspoken but implied. This can trigger resentment as well, especially if you feel as though you are jumping through hoops to satisfy the other person but what you do is still never good enough.
No one likes to feel as if they are a failure. But the more pressure you put on yourself, the more stress you will feel. Most of us rarely perform our best when we are constantly under stress, overworked and not getting enough sleep. We might start to feel guilty that we are working so hard we neglect our family, but might feel trapped and resentful because we don’t know what else to do to make ends.
We might also resent our partner or even our kids if we feel they are taking us for granted or putting their own needs ahead of ours by constantly demanding things of us. The most obvious example is the person who works hard all week and wants to have a little bit of "me time" at the weekend, only to be presented with a to-do list.
If they don’t do the items on the list and they are asked when they are likely to get done, this can be interpreted as "nagging" by the person who feels guilty about letting the other person down. The "nagging" can lead to resentment. This in turn can lead to arguments, which will often blow up over small things, and be out of all proportion to what the issue might be.
Secrets and Lies
One of the most common reasons for divorce has been cited as money problems. Many people equate their worth as human beings with the job they do or how much money they earn. They don’t like to admit to their partner that they might be having money issues or might not be earning as much as the other person thinks. Some people will even keep their disastrous financial past a secret - until it is too late. The couple eagerly applies for a mortgage to buy their dream home, only to get rejected due to one or both of them having a murky financial past.
The blame game never works; it just fuels more anger and resentment. One of the best ways to deal with anger is to cut the roots that allow it to grow. This means living more authentically and honestly, connecting with your feelings, both positive and negative, without trying to run away from them or suppress them. Once you start to do this, you will definitely notice a difference in your level of anger.