Monthly Archives: March 2013

Resentment and Forgiveness

In my last post titled “OCPD Depression,” I wrote about how people with OCPD can easily become addicted to thinking negatively about life. In much of the same way that this happens, people with OCPD can also become addicted to thinking negatively about other people.

Resentment is another one of the more common addictions that people with OCPD are likely to struggle with.

Resentment

Getting upset by other people is a normal part of life. For people with OCPD, this just happens more frequently and intensely than it does for others because of OCPD high standards and sensitivity. Those who are upset by others can then choose to let their upset mood take its course and move on without making any negative judgments or choose to condemn the people who caused them to get upset. Although many people do end up choosing the latter option, people with OCPD must be very disciplined to not do such a thing because of the way that their mind works.

Judging others is very dangerous for people with OCPD because their obsessive mind runs so extremely fast. In a span of an hour, a thought that arises twice in the mind of a “regular” person might loop 2000 times in the mind of a person with OCPD (the same thing happens with the OCD mind). This repetition creates pathways in the brain that turn passing thoughts into deep-rooted truths.

This would not be such a serious problem if people with OCPD judged accurately. But anyone who thinks in black-and-white is far from judging accurately. All-or-nothing thinking causes people with OCPD to judge others as being all good or all bad (mostly all bad because the majority of the world falls below their high standards). When these all bad judgments become deep-rooted truths, people with OCPD fall into resentment.

Many people with OCPD carry resentment against the people that they spend the majority of their time with. Sadly, these people are also usually the ones who care for them the most. This is tragically unfair. People with OCPD need to be more wary of their thoughts and not let the addiction to resentment destroy their most important relationships. I personally believe the marriage vows of people with OCPD and OCD should include the additional lines, “I promise to protect and honour our relationship through my thoughts. I will be vigilant in guarding my mind from making any negative judgments against you.”

It is also not so uncommon for people with OCPD to carry resentment against entire people groups, countries, and God. This usually happens as a result of continued use of generalizations in their reasoning.

Like all other addictions, resentment is very difficult to break. Neither distance nor death frees people from this addiction. Even though I had cut off all of our ties, even though I had traveled all over the world and lived in different countries, even though I had met other women who treated me so much better than she ever did, even after seven years had passed since our break-up, I had so much difficulty letting go of my resentment against one of my ex-girlfriends who hurt me so deeply. Justification (“it is understandable you did what you did to me because insert reason here“) also does not break the addiction of resentment. It is, however, a favourite psychological strategy used by people with OCPD to temporarily alleviate their negativity and kid themselves that they have forgiven those who have wronged them. Justification is like putting a bandage over a spreading wound.

Forgiveness is what breaks the addiction to resentment. Unlike justification, forgiveness does not try to make excuses for the wrongdoer. Forgiveness says, “You wronged me so bad. I did not deserve it. But I will choose to let go of my urge to condemn you for it.” In order to prevent relapse, resentment addicts must then work very hard at not letting a single resentful thought (against people) to grow in their mind. This is similar to how recovered alcoholics refrain from even having a sip of beer. Many people with OCPD struggle so much with forgiveness because they keep on taking “sips” of resentful thoughts.

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