Ask Golden Willow

Resentment is a signal for action

By Ted Wiard
For The Taos News
Posted 9/20/20

Dear Dr. Ted: You often say that loss comes in many forms, but I have not seen the topic of resentment in your previous articles. I bring this up as I watch people with “chips on their …

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Ask Golden Willow

Resentment is a signal for action


Dear Dr. Ted: You often say that loss comes in many forms, but I have not seen the topic of resentment in your previous articles. I bring this up as I watch people with “chips on their shoulders” lose out on so many opportunities in their lives. It almost seems like people holding a resentment are expecting the other person to fix the issue and that leads to loss of opportunities. Any thoughts on this subject? Thanks, James

Dear James, Great topic. Many losses are manifested through resentment. Resentment is an internal discomfort that can fester and grow.

The problem is if you are the one with the resentment, it is causing havoc in your internal world. Internal stress is a signal that you have work to do to release and, in some form, resolve that which is stressing you. The interesting thing is that emotionally, you regress to a very young age and demand the person you are frustrated with to change, rather than realizing that you are holding the discomfort, and it is up to you to do the work to release the pain.

As a child when you had discomfort, you were dependent on your caregivers and they eased your pain. As you emotionally mature, you start to take care of more and more of your own needs, but when triggered, you may go back to demanding an external source take care of the need to ease your internal discomfort.

This is often seen in relationships in which someone feels uncomfortable within themselves and become irritated that the other person is not easing their pain. The other person may not even an issue exists. Quite often the missing information is uncovered through healthy communication, through which you can state your needs and wants, and the other person is open to hearing the information without attacking or blaming.

This is not always the case, but you should still state those needs while acknowledging possible changes within your own behavior even if the person is not willing to listen. You may need to set different boundaries or expectations from another person and look deeper at where the irritation is truly coming from.

You are correct that many opportunities are lost when someone throws up an emotional wall that stops communication because they are not willing to listen or express themselves. In addition, they may not see that each person should have an opportunity to be open to the other person’s feelings, thoughts and actions.

We are seeing this happen within our government right now as historical resentments are causing such intense walls that no room is provided for listening to another point of view, which causes more and more wedges in communication and decreases opportunities for a better way of life for all. My hope is that each person can take a moment to own their own discomfort and be open to being brave enough to listen with an open heart and speak from a nonblaming place.

If we can each own our actions while not blaming others from the past or present, our internal peace can grow and the external world will become safer. Thank you for the question. I wish you well. Until next week, take care.

Golden Willow Retreat is a nonprofit organization focused on emotional healing and recovery from any type of loss. Direct any questions to Dr. Ted Wiard, EdD, LPCC, CGC, Founder of Golden Willow Retreat at

This column seeks to help educate our community about emotional healing through grief. People may write questions to Golden Willow Retreat and they will be answered privately to you and possibly as a future article for others. Please list a first name that grants permission for printing.


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