How to stop blaming others and get rid of resentments
Blaming others can get in the way of our spiritual development and relationship with a Higher Power. But how can we heal resentment? And what are the signs that we are full of it? More here on surrender in addiction recovery, with a section at the end for your questions and comments.
“[We] made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”
“Through my absolute surrender and conscious connection to the One Power and Presence, I courageously, deeply and gently search within myself for all thought patterns and behaviors that are out of alignment with love, integrity, harmony and order.”
What’s your story? Here’s mine…
I was so resentful of Mark, The guy who was out sleeping with another woman while I sat on his front porch at 3 AM waiting for him to come home; the guy I once went to jail for after defending myself from his physical abuse; the guy I made my daughter sleep on the couch for, while he slept in the bed with me; the one who constantly cheated on me. Yup, I was pretty pissed off at him and all the other Marks I had totally given my power to.
I thought all men were dogs, and I thought I was only worthy of men that were dogs—so guess what type of men I kept attracting in my life?
No mystery there.
The blame, hate and resentment I felt towards my mother was lodged solidly in my heart. I resented her for not wanting or loving me, for abusing me emotionally and physically, and for treating me as if the sole purpose of my existence was to be an object for her mistreatment. As far as I was concerned, she was the cause of all my shame, feelings of unworthiness, of being unloved and unwanted. It was all her fault, and I was going to make her pay by hating her for as long as I could.
I resented my father, who adored me but would not stand up to my mother when she was beating the crap out of me or embarrassing me in front of my friends. Then I felt guilty for resenting the only parent who ever showed me love.
I was resentful of my daughter for being born while I was still a child myself. I wanted to have sex at sixteen years old, not get pregnant for God’s sake. But at sixteen that’s what I was: pregnant, seventy-five pounds overweight, abandoned by my baby’s father, constantly running away from home to wander the streets in the unforgiving summer heat of New York.
I blamed her for my guilt because I couldn’t be a good mother. I blamed her because I was expected to be a mother before I was ready. I blamed her for forcing me to look at how screwed up I was.
Did I mentioned terrified? Yeah, I was terrified.
On and on it went. I was mad at the world, for the world had not treated me fairly. Everybody was wrong—except me.
I thought for years that if I didn’t have the mother I had, I wouldn’t have been so screwed up. If I had boyfriends that were true and honest, I’d have felt loved. If I hadn’t gotten pregnant at sixteen, I’d get to do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it. These mental chains held me in a self-imposed prison until I decided to set myself free through forgiveness and taking responsibility for the part I played in my own life.
Rewriting the “victim” story
Turning my will and entire life over to the care of a loving, all-powerful God gave me the courage to look at all this debris hanging out in my head, heart and soul. I felt an immediate shift as soon as I began writing my “victim story” about how people had screwed me over. I was blown away when I realized that my ego (the part of myself fighting for its survival) had made others accountable for my well-being. Writing it down transferred the garbage that was weighing me down out of my head and onto the paper where I could see it more clearly.
In order to see things the way they really were, I had to develop a willingness to face the truth and a level of honesty I didn’t even know I possessed.
I found out that I was a very wounded and frightened young lady—and I had acted out of those wounds and fears most of my life. I realized that I wasn’t totally blameless for how messed up my life had become. I saw the part I played, knowingly or unknowingly, in a lot of situations. I saw how my belief in my own victimhood allowed me to stay a victim.
It wasn’t easy to do this work. I wanted to keep hating my mother and blaming the men in my life for the way things had turned out. Blame was something I was used to. It was a familiar feeling.
Releasing blame is the path to freedom
I used blame as a lens through which I related to the world. It allowed me to be right, by holding onto my memories of the very real—and not so real—injustices that were perpetrated upon me. I’m not saying that people who abused me acted appropriately in any way. But there were times when I either placed myself in a position to be hurt, I held onto the hurt, or I felt like a victim because of another’s need to take care of themselves instead of taking care of me. Blame allowed me to avoid looking at issues that I did actually have some control over—issues that I was just not ready to address yet.
But holding onto blame and resentment did not get me a better life.
Releasing it did.
How do you know when you still resent others?
There is truth for us all in Bill Wilson’s quote from the Big Book: “For alcoholics, resentment is the number one offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else.” Step Four is where you set out on a course of vigorous action by doing a deep, thorough “resentment-forgiveness” process. Resentment is the remembering, re-telling and re-living of a painful event, even when the event is securely in the past. If you’re honest with yourself, the blame, stories and resentments you’re currently holding onto may have happened yesterday, twenty years ago, maybe even longer—yet you’re still reliving them.
How can you tell when you’re still living in resentment? The person you have a story about is not allowed safe passage through your awareness when you think of them. Your body does an involuntary jig, where you have sort of a clenching sensation in your gut when you think of the circumstances associated with that person. No matter how much you tell yourself you have forgiven, your spirit can’t embody the lie, and it reacts in your body when you think of that person or situation that caused you pain.
Why is it so difficult to release resentment? I believe it’s because you cannot forgive the effect until you’ve healed the cause. The cause of your pain is not “out there.” It’s within your own core beliefs and wounded perceptions, which then get projected onto others. Those “others” then mirror back to you the false beliefs you hold about yourself.
How to resolve blame and resentment
You can tell when you’re tuned into a negative channel, because you’re pissed off, miserable and full of fear. You could even suffer from physical exhaustion because the frequency of that channel acts as weights upon your body, mind and soul, causing feelings of hopelessness, depression and ill health. This is why it is so important to heal core wounds, transform your story from victimhood to wholeness, and release blaming your state-of-being on anything or anyone—including yourself. You must forgive in order to be in alignment with your highest good—or your highest vibration.
Spirit cannot and will not contradict its own nature to meet you in a state of victimhood, so we must raise our vibration by tuning into the highest frequency we can find in order to meet the fullness of the Divine Presence
Photo credit: stevendepolo