Resentment can be a toxic emotion that hurts a client’s ability to connect with others and develop meaningful relationships.
But are there times when it can be considered “healthy?”
Well, in the video below, Thema Bryant, PhD shares how resentment can sometimes be an important step for clients healing from trauma.
She also walks us through how we can avoid pushing clients deeper into resentment.
Have a look.
As you start to have an awakening that this was not right, and some of that can come as we start to get exposed to other people because you could think the way it is in your house is the way it is everywhere, and then, whether through media or through peers or through school, you start to get a sense of what I am experiencing is not the norm or that other people are getting access to things that I don’t get. So instead of just staying with that internalized shame, instead of just staying in that place of feeling less, a part of our journey in awareness is to get to that place of resentment.
Now, one of the challenges is the people who you interact with don’t usually have a lot of grace for a resentful person, right? Survivors show up in different ways, and some of the ways that we present can be off-putting to people.
From a clinician standpoint, it is so critical that we do not take it personally when people show up in resentment and irritability, even when that gets directed at us. It takes the wisdom and the compassion to step outside of yourself and to be able to hear the narrative, to know why someone may be showing up with arms crossed, legs crossed, smirking at you, or what we would say in my community, giving you a side eye. What is all of that armor about? It is about the fact that not only have I lost greatly – whether that is actually lost a loved one or emotionally lost out – but that no one is willing to acknowledge it. When we can see it from that perspective, you can have a lot more compassion for your clients who show up seemingly with a chip on their shoulders and be able to see the weight that they have been carrying and that others have ignored.
It pulls for us to show compassion even when people have on armor and even when some of that resentment gets directed at us, because what happens is those clients are anticipating a lack of care. They are anticipating a lack of compassion because that is what they have experienced. When we join in with that, it locks it deeply into their own programming.
According to Thema, feelings of resentment can be an important “awakening” for clients stuck in trauma-induced shame.
Now, we know that working with shame and resentment are two critical pieces of trauma therapy. That’s why for Cyber Monday . . .
. . . you can get 2 short courses on working with shame and resentment for 75% off the total price.
Now we’d like to hear from you. How do you work with clients with deep-seated resentment? What about clients trapped in shame? Let us know in the comments below.