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THE RESENTMENT BOX-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: June 10, 2024

We want to be nice girls so we stuff our feelings, paste on a plastic smile and carry on. Inwardly the heart churns and toxic fumes accumulate as we drink our own poison hoping the other person will die.  Resentment is the number one killer of relationships, especially marriages.

I consider myself an expert on this topic as I learned how to recognize and survive this toxic crisis in my first marriage.  I recall how each time I felt resentment, I wanted to pick up a rock and throw it toward my enemy.  But because I tried to have harmony in the home I hid the rock (my anger) and put it into a pretty little imaginary box where it would be nice and safe.

I was clueless about the dangers of ultimate explosions.

I did not know that resentment was:

  • Feeling heartbroken after exerting a great deal of effort and energy to achieve something that was eventually overlooked or lost to me.
  • Feeling a grudge when something was kept from me that was rightfully mine.
  • Feeling that I was not heard when I expressed pain.
  • Being stuck in meaningless activity.
  • Accepting negative treatment and never expressing my feelings about it.
  • Agreeing to do something for others yet feeling that I was being taken for granted.
  • Being ignored, put down or scorned by someone for whom I made sacrifices.
  • Always trying my best to please but never feeling it was good enough.
  • Feeling hurt and suffering in silence.
  • Feeling I was making more effort and sacrifices than the other person.
  • Harbouring resentment toward a person, or group of people whom we felt have mistreated us.
  • Unresolved grief when we find it difficult to accept a loss.

Do you see yourself in any of these offenses?  We absolutely must deal with every hurt, offense every, mistreatment and anger or it will destroy us. It’s really hard to let go of resentment. It becomes a safe, comfortable weapon that we feel justified in holding on to.  If we let it go, will we let the offenders off the hook and will we feel safe in the future?

I say with all honesty that since 1990 I have not allowed any rock to remain in my resentment box and lodge itself in my spirit.  In fact, I no longer have a box because I know its danger and I try very hard to deal with my resentment immediately. I have to for the sake of my soul. So what’s a person to do? Here are my four steps that are so simple yet the hardest thing you will ever do.

So how do we stop the plunk, plunk, plunk of rocks

piling up in the resentment box?

  1. Recognize. Is this resentment the result of my own insecurity? Did I misunderstand an intention? Do I need to let it go and forgive? Before any resentment makes it way into the box – shoot it with a bullet prayer.  “God, right now, I would ask that you help me to let this go and forgive him/her for not hearing my heart.”
  2. Confront. Confronting is really hard and if not done with love and correctly, it will cause an even bigger rift, misunderstanding and anger.   Most people, when confronted, immediately become defensive and want to retaliate. Be careful and prepare your heart before you have this crucial conversation.
  3. Know. God is the only source of our love. We expect other people in our lives to love us and make us happy but God is the only one who can do that perfectly. We don’t look to other people to fill us with love, but to help each other to love better.
  4. Guard. Visualize your resentment box in a shape of a heart and guard it like a prison guard against any future danger. The bible tells us how crucial this is, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23 NIV).

If you feel tense, find sarcasm rolling off your tongue, wanting to put-down another person or make snide remarks; that is a red flag that you have built up resentment.  My dear reader, learn from my mistakes. Don’t fill your resentment box with unfinished business; the hurt and anger will not go away. Take your rocks out one at a time and do whatever it takes to bring peace and harmony back into your soul.


Posted in: accusations, adversity, angry, Anticipation, anxiety, ask God, Assumptions, betrayal, confront conflict, disappointments, do the hard work, don't give up, Expectations, faulty thinking, Finding Truth, forgive one another, frustrations, grit, healing, honest, Hope, messes, Offenses, Overcoming Struggles, power of words, relationships, Resentment, set free, shame, take care of your heart, Tension, trouble, Understanding each other, worry

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