A group of us were talking about self-imposed imprisonment called “resentments”. We know we have to be vigilant about spotting them in ourselves and look at how we nurture them like fragile babies.
Yah but! We want to blame the “other” and not have to face these peace-defying resentments.
One woman in the group said, “I realize I even have resentments towards people who are too happy. Can you imagine? I think happy people are phoney! Then I get mad because they think they are fooling me. I know they’ve got ugly stuff in their lives, too. Who do they think they’re kidding?”
We laughed, but not at her. Her honesty was uncomfortably familiar.
Another person added, “Yah…and I find when I’m in resentment mode, the triggers grow exponentially. Pretty soon, I’m cuing feelings like the director of a stage play in rehearsal.”
“Then there’s the resentments we conjure over situations that haven’t even happened,” I added.
I described the time in 2000 when I went through a heart-wrenching break-up with a man. Our paths crossed frequently and my resentments would flare each time I saw his black truck: I am unheard. He won’t even try to understand my point of view. He had no interest in my needs. He’s thrown away our love.
With perfect timing, a work contract came available. I saw it as my opportunity to heal without being interrupted by the sight of this man, his truck or his Malamute dog who I also missed inconsolably. I accepted the contract and gladly moved temporarily to a city on another island.
A number of months passed in my new location and I resisted going home for a visit. I began to wake up the odd morning without my thoughts turning immediately to him. I relished the progress and was relieved there were still several months remaining on the contract. My temporary home brought solace, friendship, nature and, above all, healing.
However, in one instant, all of my serenity evaporated. It happened after work, on my way to my temporary home. I pulled up to a major intersection and was first at a red light. Directly across from me, waiting to turn to his left, was THE black truck. It was HIM! The beloved Malamute was in the back! There was my dog buddy, joyfully moving from side to side, sniffing the air.
Suddenly rage replaced heartbreak. Thoughts raced: What’s he doing here? How did he learn where I lived? He just came from the direction of my neighbourhood! There’s no reason for him to be here except to stalk my whereabouts. The creep!
I became so furious, I visualized heading straight for his truck and smashing into him when my light turned green. I didn’t care about damages, costs or the consequences. I’d had enough!
My traffic light still red, the black truck slowly began to move. Oh no! I was missing my chance! He came forward and slowly began turning toward his left. Ignoring my red traffic light, I was gonna nail him.
Just as I pushed in the clutch and shifted to first gear, I realized the truck wasn’t his. A flash of the driver’s profile confirmed it wasn’t him. It wasn’t even the Malamute.
I froze as all the other traffic followed the black truck onto the highway. I couldn’t believe what I had just felt, what I was capable of planning. Shocked, I drove through my green light with a conviction that, once home, I would do nothing else until I dug out the resentment that was capable of taking me so close to destruction. Revenge had never been a part of my modus operandi. It was frightening to experience anger of that caliber.
At home, I sat in a chair in silence. I wanted to blame him. I wanted my rage to be his fault. I resisted facing my anger until my determination finally took over. I had to identify the fear that fueled such rage.
Teachers come into our lives in many forms. During my healing, I could never have imagined this man being one of mine. However, after much time, diligent soul-cleaning and welcome spiritual influence, I can thank him for this pivotal incident.
And he wasn’t even there.
You illustrate your point about resentment very well by sharing this honest and wrenching personal story. This story also illustrates how so many people end up doing bizarre things. The public scratches their head and mutters, “what was he/she thinking?” after innumerable tragedies that come across the news. But that is just the point. Sometimes things that loom larger than logic impede our thinking…even for some of the best thinkers in the world, like you! Thank heavens logic did rescue you before your resentment had the opportunity to punch the accelerator!
It was such a shock that I could be capable of such an action. And it was that shock that made me dig out the fear that fed the resentment. Fears are like orphans, a segment of oneself that is abandoned – until some situation causes it to reveal itself in spades. Knowing that “blind rage” was a reality caused me to deal with that orphan…
Yes, Linda, I can’t think of the situation without being grateful that the truck turned and I could see it wasn’t him.
Well there you go.Imagine that. Me a teacher. Besides if you had hit me l would have sued your… off.
Thanks Aim and l am sorry for any pain that l cause you.
And likewise, Mr. Trebor…I’m sorry for any pain I caused you. What a pair!
Oh, Amy, this feels so familiar. Resentments can own us. I don’t know what I’d do if I saw (instead of a black pick up) and old red ford and a man who took so much of my soul with him (for awhile.) But now there are more immediate resentments (one, anyway) to deal with. Do we really heal? Sometimes I think this is where ritual can help.
Hi Victoria. I doubt we ever heal completely, but we can reduce it’s power significantly and respond more quickly with gentleness/love/detachment. There are many different routes to getting there, but we have to face the fear first. When I am able to name it, I know it’s correct because a good percentage of its power diminishes into manageability.
I have many scars on my body. To me they are a witness to my life, of survival. No doubt the same holds true of those of spirit.
I am so sorry to hear this, Victoria. Abuse cuts too deep and it seems to take an abundance of time and faith to heal and progress beyond its freshness. I would rather no one live in survival mode. Who wants to only exist – especially in fear?
Ah, no. These are not the scars of abuse. Thankfully I have none of those. These are the scars from surgeries meant to heal. Sorry if I misled you. My survival is about love of life–surviving life-threatening illnesses!
Thanks for clarifying, Victoria. Words. Language. Ai-yi-yi!
It is difficult to identify such teacher or to even realize they were teachers….a most interesting post.
For me, Charles, it takes time to even consider they may be teaching me something. At first, I only want to look at their part in it. (Situations involving abuse are outside of this level of resentment! Entirely different scenario! Noted out of respect for the spotlight you shine through your poetry.)
Teachers come in many forms. How true that is. And how wonderfully light one feels when the resentment ceases to have it’s hold over one’s spirits and we begin to feel gratitude instead for the that came our way to learn more about our own demons and extinguish them. Very well written. I’m sharing this on my Facebook page. I know you won’t mind. 🙂
A wonderful story Amy, resentments and anger are so self destructive, very negative. Life is so much better when we can let go and take from the situation something that moves us forward.
For sure, Dee. Life is so much better when can we spot these resentments sooner. One thing for sure, life makes sure we’re well supplied so it’s very much worthwhile to learn how to deal with them and let them go sooner.