Resentment Barriers to Recovery
Not only is resentment an unpleasant feeling, but it’s often a sure-fire barrier to recovery from eating problems. How full of resentments are you? Can you see how being stuck in this emotion prevents you from making progress in healing your relationship with food? Here’s my take on how you’ll benefit from chucking your resentments.
Disregulated eaters often become enraged at feeling stuck with an eating disorder. It’s not fair, they insist. Why should I have to deal with these problems, they ask. They are seething with anger and I can’t say I blame them. What we have to deal with in life emotionally is very much the luck (or lack thereof) of the draw. However, being consumed with rage about what happened to you decades ago or about your biology make the situation worse. Sure, we’re entitled to be angry at the unfairness of it all. The more relevant question is where does that anger get us—to resolving eating problems or progressing toward mental health and happiness? Quite the opposite.
Feeling resentment is fine as a stage to pass through on your way to letting it go. The people who raised you did the best they could and tried to love you in the only ways they knew how. Even if they put you on a dysfunctional eating path, they didn’t set out to harm you intentionally. Alternately, you may have anger at kids who bullied you in childhood for being fat, or at ex-lovers or -spouses who teased or scolded you about your weight. You may even resent their new lover or spouse. The question is how you feel when you’re directing so much energy toward someone else. Does it make you feel better or worse about yourself? How does it inhibit or contribute to learning to eat “normally”? Might you do better acknowledging that others have contributed to your eating problems, but that you are now the one solely responsible for your recovery?
If all your energy is focused on blaming someone else for your eating problems, where will you get the impetus to resolve them? You can’t be both stuck in anger at what happened before and be present to changing your life now. You can’t hate your biology and change it. No can do. The wisest choice is to let go of these resentments and focus on what you can do to make things better for yourself today.
Ultimately, all we have is the present. We cannot change the past, and every moment spent trying to do so yanks us away from the present and being connected to our bodies and appetite. Remind yourself that resentment is a dead end road and that you have a choice about whether to live in an unchangeable past or a changeable present.