When Resentment Creeps into the Family

When Resentment Creeps into the Family

Resentment stems from negative feelings a person cannot let go and replay in a person’s mind over and over. When a person is wronged by another, feelings of anger, sadness or disappointment may build which refuse to go away, eventually giving way to resentment. Read on to find out why resentment starts and how to turn the tide from negative to positive thoughts.


Resentment in Addiction

Many persons with addiction feel resentment towards others. Persistent, negative feelings can drive a person to use drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism or way to feel better. The feelings are only temporary when a person self-medicates to deal with difficult emotions or circumstances. When a person cannot let go of resentment, it continues to build like a pressure cooker until the person feels ready to explode emotionally, physically or spiritually.



When a person quits using drugs or alcohol, feelings of resentment may return even stronger than before. New resentments may have been created, perhaps towards the person who convinced the individual treatment was a good idea. Now the individual has to face resentments another way rather than coping with the use of drugs or alcohol. Recovery as a process should feel positive and life affirming, yet resentments which build over time can become huge hurdles to cross.



The challenge with resentment is it can be difficult to repair broken relationships without both people addressing mutual resentments of one another. Addiction particularly creates feelings of resentment with families for many reasons including:

  • Resentment toward person with addiction for causing bad experiences and emotions
  • Resentment toward family members if family is distrustful of the individual with addiction
  • Old and new resentments build on one another, compounding the negative effects


Overcoming Resentment

The path to overcoming resentment focuses on acknowledgement of what resentments exist and then working through those issues. The fourth step of AA (moral inventory) focuses on tackling resentments to find peace in the present and knowing the past cannot change. Resentments serve no purpose other than to hurt people and hold individuals back from flourishing. It is difficult to deal with resentments and it can take a long time to process through those feelings with oneself and others. Counseling and therapeutic support are great ways to get started. Recovery is an emotional experience as it is, for both individuals with addiction and families. Learning to let go of resentments for oneself is a vital step towards a long and healthy recovery in the future.


The Villa provides a safe space to process difficult emotions and feelings in a therapeutic setting. If you are struggling to let go of resentment and it is holding you back from seeking help for addictive behavior, we can help you get started.