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How to Let Go of Resentment

Emotional Awareness By: Katie Lister

January 22, 2024

What does it mean to be resentful? Why do I feel so resentful? How do I let go of resentment? If you ask yourself these questions, this article is for you.

Hi, I am Katie Lister, a practicing Registered Nurse and founder of the Growth Gals, a supportive and interactive network for women. 

Sometimes, we resent people and situations, but we suppress these feelings. In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about how to feel less resentful and live a fulfilling life.

Table of Contents

Katie Lister

Katie Lister

Written by Katie Lister, RN, BScN. An experienced Registered Nurse, Group Facilitator, Life Coach, and Community Leader. Read Katie's Full Author Bio

Understanding Resentment

Wikipedia describes resentment as ranklement or bitterness, which is a complex emotion with several layers, and it is also described as a mix of disappointment, anger, and disgust. Resentment involves negative feelings like indignation or anger when you get unfair treatment or feel someone else has achieved something you wanted or deserve but didn’t get.

Disappointment or frustration is usual, but when these feelings become overwhelming, they can breed resentment. When resentment sets in, love and trust in relationships take a hit and sometimes become irreparable. People experiencing resentment feel various emotions, including bitterness, anger, hard feelings, and disappointment. 

Signs You Are Resentful

Resentment makes us lose the ability to forgive or let go of grudges, even temporarily. Here are some signs that indicate you are experiencing resentment.

Recurring Negative Emotions

It’s common to feel recurring negative emotions toward situations or people who hurt you. All these feelings can cause you to feel resentment against a person, people or a situation.


Sometimes, being resentful leads to constant and obsessive thinking about the incident, which leads to the intense emotion you feel, also known as rumination. The repetitive negative thoughts may take over your mind and linger on for a long time.

Feeling Remorse or Regret

Resentment can also cause you to feel remorse (regret) or disappointment. When you reflect on a stressful incident, you are filled with guilt or shame. You start to blame yourself and wish that you had done things differently.

Avoidance or Fear

With resentment, some situations or people may set off flashbacks of when you were wronged. These flashbacks lead to avoidance of these triggers for the sake of protecting your mental health and well-being.

Feeling unseen or inadequate                        

When you interact with people who bring up bad memories of mistreatment or injustice, it can make you feel unseen or inadequate. When you think this way, old emotions of bitterness and anger may begin to bubble up.

Difficulty in letting go of anger

Sometimes, resentment can make it challenging to release rage or anger. You might also have negative experiences periods when you want revenge. When you hold on to so much negativity, your mental health suffers.

Want to learn how to not be insecure? Read more here

letting-go of resentment

The Causes Of Resentfullness

Resentment can creep up on anyone, and you start to see the signs before you realize it. Some causes of resentment include:

Dealing with someone who insists they are always right

When you constantly have to deal with someone who insists they are always right, it is frustrating and breeds arrogance. There are many ways to do things, and this person may be a perfectionist who thinks their way is right. If you are dealing with a narcissist, expect this as a form of gaslighting and making you feel like you can’t do anything right. The more you let these feelings fester, the worse they become.

Inequality in a relationship

In a relationship where one person holds all the cards, the other person may start having feelings of resentment. The partner with the upper hand, such as financially, may keep track of what they have done for the other person, breeding more resentment.

Neglect and abuse

Survivors of neglect and abuse in childhood or as adults feel a lot of resentment, fear, or anger towards their abusers. While it is understandable, these negative feelings may lead to self-destruction later.

Health issues

Physical health issues can make people feel resentment. Medical problems put you in a vulnerable position where you might be forced to do things you may not want to do. Caring for an ill loved one is a heavy responsibility, especially when the patient is unappreciative or uncooperative; you may harbor resentment if you have a partner with ADHD, and the other partner has to deal with tons of housework, which can also breed resentment.


Many people grapple with discrimination because of their race, sexual orientation, gender, physical attributes, etc. The people who discriminate and their victims may feel angry towards each other.


Rejection is also a major cause of resentment. You might apply for a job, ask someone to go out on a date, or ask for help. When the other person rejects your offer, it might feel personal and sting like an insult. You may get frustrated because you cannot control the other person’s decision, and in such situations, shame and anger can become resentment.

Let go of expectations

Having too many expectations from someone, especially in a relationship, breeds resentment. For instance, if you know your partner is not romantic, only have a few expectations for Valentine’s Day. If you get disappointed one year and expect a different thing the next, you will keep getting disappointed, making you resentful.

Find information on how to control your emotions here. 

Why It's Essential To Release Resentment

When you refuse to release resentment, you might think you hold some power and are punishing the one who wronged you. Resentfulness leads you to feel more hurt and powerless. Letting go of resentment is essential for many reasons.

It’s good for your physical health

When you live in a constant state of tension, it affects your body’s immune system. Your body produces more cortisol (the stress hormone) and increases inflammation. Forgiveness or releasing resentment engages your body in ways that help your immune system kick start more efficiently.

letting go of resentment

Improves your mental health

Forgiveness restores positive feelings, thoughts, and behaviors toward the person who hurt you. It also extends positive behaviors toward others outside of the relationship.

Lowers your blood pressure

Negative emotions like sadness and anger elevate your blood pressure and heart rate. When you release resentment, your blood pressure and heart rate decrease significantly.

Improves your self-esteem

Forgiveness is not easy. Once you let go of the resentment, you feel a sense of accomplishment, and your self-esteem will naturally improve.

Improves your cardiovascular health

Did you know that forgiveness is not just good for your mind but also your heart? A 2017 study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine states that releasing resentment is linked to lower stress levels. Holding on to grudges, hostility, and blame contributes to poor health, especially coronary heart disease.

How To Let Go Of Resentment

When you want to move on from resentment, the healing process meets fear, anger, and resistance. You have been holding on to the resentment for so long in the first place. Secondly, you must understand that it will take time to process the journey. Here are some of the healthy ways you can try to stop feeling resentful and have some peace of mind:

Practice Self-compassion

Some people may use resentment as a front and a coping system to help them through difficult emotions. While this may work for a while, it’s not viable and can cause damage later. Practice self-compassion to help yourself to heal, allowing yourself to process the hurt with kindness and mindfulness.

Practice Empathy

Take an empathetic approach and see the other person’s point of view by conversing with them. It could be a spouse, a friend, or a family member. This approach may be the hardest thing you ever have to do.

While you might be the victim, the other party may be a victim of trauma. They may also hold on to past hurt and harbor no ill will. Although they might also be a victim that does not negate the fact they hurt you. It may help you with context and make letting go of resentment easier.

Be grateful

It’s easy to get caught up with all the negativity around you. Bring some positivity and inner peace by focusing on all the good things. When you are full of gratitude, you have no room for resentment.


Practice self-care by doing the things you love. Sometimes, our confidence dives when we feel resentful, especially in relationships. Take some alone time, listen to music, journal, and go for a spa date.


Meditation is also a powerful tool for releasing resentment. If you need help figuring out where to start, try guided meditation. An example you can listen to on streaming services is ‎Releasing Resentment (Guided Meditation) [Theta Healing] by American Spiritual Intuitive and Reiki Master Lisa Beachy. Listen to a podcast or two that will help you to learn how to let go as people share their experiences.

Seek Therapy

Seek professional help if you find it hard to let go of resentment alone. It would help if you addressed your emotional baggage, and a psychotherapist will help to explore the issues behind the resentment.

Here are some emotional intelligence examples for you. 

letting resentment-go

Growth Gals Can Help You Let Go Of Resentment!

You are calling out to all women striving to become better versions of themselves! Are you seeking a means to explore and uncover your authentic self, principles, and ambitions? Your search ends here with Growth Gals, a compassionate and encouraging community of women who can assist you in letting go of resentment.

Follow @growthgals_ on Instagram to stay updated on our journals, coaching, and support groups. Be sure to check out our newsletter for the latest tips and tricks on personal growth. Join us now and start your journey towards self-improvement and letting go of resentment.


Letting go of resentment is a profoundly personal step. You have to acknowledge your feelings and start working on ways to heal. Joining a support group like Growth Gals can be your first step towards the healing journey!

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