Al-Anon Lifer

Anonymous sharings from a long-time member of Al-Anon, which is a safe place to recover from the effects of alcoholism in a friend or relative...

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Those Pesky Resentments

We have woodpecker problems. No matter what we've done to get rid of them, they come back every spring. This has been going on ever since we moved into our dream house. You could say that our struggle with the woodpeckers has been a bit of a nightmare.

But just like recurring resentments, our attitude towards the woodpeckers makes all the difference. We can get angry and start throwing rocks, accidentally breaking a window or two; or we can shoo them off whenever they start their pecking.

Trouble is, we're not always here to take care of them, just like with our resentments--we're not always aware of them until they have reared their ugly heads and done some damage. I'm usually aware of my big resentments when they start pecking at me again, but lately I've realized that I have a lot of little resentments that I need to deal with.

For example, I recently made new friends on a social website from a list of high school acquaintances. I was careful, though, not making friends with those people who had "done me wrong" such as a girlfriend who dumped me back in 5th grade. Fifth grade! That's going back a very long time. How silly of me, I decided. I'm only hurting myself, so I changed my mind.

I was also given the opportunity in my Al-Anon program recently to figure out what was going on with me when asked to do service work and my immediate reaction was "ick, absolutely not, that person/group 'done me wrong.'" Fortunately, I reasoned things out with a trusted friend who suggested I write about it before answering.

In one case, I still said "no" because I didn't want to commit to the time a project would take. In the other case, I said "yes" but they had already found someone else. In that case, it was a win-win: I learned how a resentment was holding me back but they probably found someone better suited to the request.

As far as the woodpeckers go, they probably aren't leaving any time soon. And getting angry at them does not help the situation. In fact, anger makes the situation worse. After all, the woodpeckers are doing what woodpeckers do. We have no control over them. We are able to pound on the wall or go outside and shoo them away.

Or hope for the same miracle of nature that happened last year. Starlings came and fought the woodpeckers away. We still had birds nesting in our siding, but starling don't make gigantic holes like woodpeckers do so the damage was a lot less last year. Sometimes, letting nature take its course is the best non-action one can do.

It reminded me of the slogans "Let Go and Let God" and "Live and Let Live" and how surrendering a resentment or a pesky problem can work wonders. May you find peace and serenity this spring as you let go of resentments, big and small.

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At Thursday, April 07, 2011 11:43:00 AM, Anonymous Geri T. said...

Thank you for your post, Alanon-Lifer. Your sharings have been one of my life-lines to practising the program as I try to deal with my issues and gain a truer perspective.

I am too wrestling with resentments. My own inventory has shown me that my coping mechanism with dealing with resentments is to rationalize and eventually arrive at the conclusion that I am to blame and that I have to forgive and forget. I am just now realizing that while it's ok to do that sometimes, I end up never taking the risk of exposing my vulnerabilities to my loved one. I have somehow become the martyr again. And I don't want to do that anymore. Right now, I'm praying for the strength and to find the courage to speak up for myself, in a way that is hopefully calm, responsible and healthy.

At Thursday, May 05, 2011 5:06:00 AM, Anonymous Linda said...

I'm new to your blog and I'm enjoying reading your posts.
I'm dealing with an end-stage alcoholic and detachment has been my life saver. I have made my own choices and cannot in good conscious have resentment for those choices.
As far as the past is concerned, I've reconnected with high-school classmates and it has been wonderful. I have also reconnected with a "boy" who did me wrong and we were able to sort through it. All those 40+ years of anger were resolved because I took the time to listen to his point of view. This feels much better.
Resentment is really anger. Anger unresolved is just an ulcer.


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