“Resentment is like drinking poison hoping THEY will die.”

Stifled Resentment Silent 300One of my favorite authors, Marie Louise Von Franz, teaches that mature feeling doesn’t mean an absence of negativity or angst. It does imply an ability to handle all kinds of emotions constructively.

Like resentment.

I have always liked the quote “resentment is like drinking poison hoping THEY will die.” I’ve been noodling that statement lately. 

Of course the absurdity of harming ourselves to punish others is obvious in the statement. It’s clear we harm ourselves more with resentment than we harm others.

And yet, I also know that when I sense unspoken resentment toward me, it does kill something in me, as well as in the relationship. It’s a slow, painful death. So if someone desires to punish me with resentment, it works. If they refuse to own up to it, I get a bit crazy until I know I must disengage.


I used to feel a lot of resentment. Not so much anymore, but when it does show its ugly face, I use my sense of resentment as a tool to go deeper in relationships. One of my teachers says that resentment is anger served cold. Anger has fire, energy and passion. If it can be released, there’s hope.

And when I feel resentment, I know there’s energy in there somewhere. The question is, “How can I use that energy constructively?”

Powerful stuff, resentment. I strive to live a resentment-free life – not by whitewashing it or ignoring it, but by listening to it and tapping into the energy behind it. 

I believe my feeling function is pretty mature – but when I confess to the feelings I experience, you might not agree. I have hissy-fits, emotional dips, doubts, anger, jealousy – need I continue? It’s not what I feel, but what I do when I feel it that is my saving grace. Happily, my husband and inner circle associates understand. They experience and elevate and honor their emotions, too. 

Do you? Where do you feel resentment? How can you let it be a teacher for you? What does it tell you about yourself? What conversations does it suggest you need to have? 

And how can you tap into the underlying fire to create something of value? 


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