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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23 thoughts on “Resentment and Forgiveness

  1. Tina Pim says:

    Hey Dan. As the memory of the hurt fades with time, will that lead to forgiveness? I didn’t realize the thoughts racing through the mind of an OCPD, it must be exhausting. How do you control it? Do you do certain familiar affirmations? Do you learn how to control these thoughts? And how do you cope?

    • Daniel Kim says:

      Hello tita Tina!

      While I do think that it can be more healing when forgiveness actually does occur (time can help bring clarity into the mind of the hurt person and help him or her understand better what exactly he or she is letting go of), I do not think it will automatically lead to forgiveness. Most people leave their hurts unattended and their hurts turn into scars that they carry around for the rest of their lives.

      Yes it is quite exhausting being a thinkaholic. I learned to control my thoughts by thinking about my thoughts. When they are wrong, I argue against them and tell them that they are wrong. I almost treat my mind like it’s another human being. If that “person” continues to bug me with destructive lies, I will then ignore/walk away.

    • Daniel Kim says:

      I once tried to do that in the past Rokas but that did not work. For over two years now I have not participated in any kind of achievement-related activity but instead I have been investing the majority of my time getting in touch with my feelings/hurt and receiving healing.

  2. Chris Morris says:

    You cope with it one day at a time and try to believe in hope. Hope that it will get better.

  3. Erin says:

    Does anyone think, or have experience with, using medication to help with OCPD? Would it make a difference in combating the kinds of thoughts they struggle with?

    • Behindyoureyes says:

      @erin there are medications that help you with the obsessive thoughts anxiety meds help deeply lessen the occurrence of OCD thought patterns. There’s also medications like lamictal and anti depressants that help. There’s also herbal things (if ur into that stuff) like valerine root which you can find at supermarkets or pharmacy, vitamin supplement stores. It work really well and is none addictive. Personally I am prescribed a strong anxiety med and take valerine root. For whatever reason anti depressants make me extremely depressed boarder line suicidal in as little as a week of taking them. I’ve tried many different types they’ve all done the same. And if your someone with OCD thoughts the worse thing is for u to feel suicidal. If you go to a dr and you notice this immediately contact ur dr. Not all are good drs. They may say it will go away but from my experience it gets worse always look up what your given before you take it. Ask your dr about it and make sure your comfortable. It may take time to find the med that’s right for you and the dose but when you do it’s well worth it.

  4. anonymous says:

    Boy, does this hit home. Hard. sigh…

  5. James B says:

    Just discovered your blog this am. I was diagnosed with OCPD a few years ago, but had of course been suffering from it for a long time prior. As an alcoholic (working on recovery) I recently was working on identifying my resentments. I like what you had to say and will be following you in the future

  6. Sharon says:

    Reading this post got my wheels turning. I often feel like every Korean-Canadian/ Korean-American I meet or hear about, when he or she is prompted to be expressively thoughtful (which, for me, seems to happen during a dramatic bout of weakness or recovery) almost always ends up seeming like a long lost sibling. Not necessarily someone you get along with or even like but still someone who is uncannily similar to you in fundamental ways that are difficult to describe and often uncomfortable to recognize. There is a lot of psyche on display in just this one article, and Daniel, you even ascribes pathologies to yourself in a distinctly Korean-Canadian/Korean- American way that it makes me uncomfortable. This is exactly the disjointed but obsessively detailed CV I might put together for myself at a time when I was (or possibly still am in denial of) teetering on the edge of feeling special and feeling inadequate. You annoy the f%#$ out of me, fascinates me, makes me uncomfortable, but affirms me…great post.

    • Daniel Kim says:

      Yes us Koreans, both Korean-North Americans and Korean-South Koreans, are all very similar in our brokenness :P I have also felt the same about the whole long lost sibling thing haha.

  7. Nick says:

    I have #fullblown OCPD and I find myself cutting ALL ties with good friends,some time best friends, that owe me money and become delinquent in repayment. I don’t want to write five paragraphs about my thoughts right this second; I am wondering if any other OCPD peeps have any similar experience?

    #themoreyouknow #shootingstar

    • Daniel Kim says:

      I do have that experience too. It was from that hurtful experience that I became so obsessed with “fairly” splitting the bill to the exact cent according to how much each person consumed.

  8. Angela says:

    Daniel, I LOVE this post! You share powerful truths about the power of our thoughts, how when we let our false, negative thoughts repeat over and over again in our minds until they take root… and how “forgiveness” (and not justification, which is often my default coping mechanism) is the key to breaking out of resentment.

    Even though I don’t think I have OCPD, I can relate to your post through my struggles with the oftentimes overwhelmingly obsessive negative thinking and feelings involved in my experience with depression.

    Learning to stop justifying hurts against me and to instead face them (as you did) and choose then to forgive has definitely been the key to inner healing and freedom for me.

    Also, I really appreciated your observation of how “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.”

    When I struggle with depression, I have found that my husband becomes the closest (and therefore easiest…and, because I know he loves me, he is also the “safest”) target of my feelings of resentment. Basically all the negative feelings I felt but hadn’t yet properly processed or sorted out, got projected onto him. Thank goodness he is strong, understanding, and patient.

    I have been learning how to stop myself whenever I am feeling “resentment” towards him, and to instead talk things out with him to figure out what is behind my negative feelings or experiences. There is a lot of “this is how I feel, but it is not what I really believe…” and then we can move forward into figuring out what lies or fears or hurt are actually responsible for making me feel how I feel.

    Just wanted to encourage you — and any of your readers who are still wondering if there is hope — that you are hitting on truths in this post (and elsewhere on your site) that really do bring healing, freedom and wholeness when walked out!

  9. KitchenKnives says:

    The All-or-Nothing thinking isn’t ringing true to me. I can imagine it being the case for many people with OCPD, but for me the preoccupation with logic and reason overrides this. Sometimes the black (or the white) is just the fact that certain things are inherently grey. I would rather be happy in the knowledge that I’m correct about not being sure of something than make a definitive decision that could be proved wrong through science and logic.

    This applies more to morals, ethics and rational thinking than to my actions in present situations, and of course the irony is that my stance on this particular matter is somewhat black-and-white as my reasoning is the only one that makes proper sense to me. I do tend to judge people very quickly (and usually negatively), but I make a distinction between my personal reasons for the judgement, based how they’ve affected me, and how they actually are as a person, outside of my own experience with them. If I’m honest, the former often overrides the latter (after all, why shouldn’t it?), but I’m always acutely aware that there’s more to things than my own opinion, and they also contain facts and truths.

    The more I read through this comment, the less sure I am it makes any sense, so maybe I’m more black-and-white than I think I am.

  10. Jessica Lu says:

    Judging by the characteristics that an OCPD would have, I may or may not be one. But I had realized that this is one of my biggest problems as well. I overthink things, and it drives me insane. I even tumblog my thoughts sometimes, and I feel liek I have released it, but I sometimes think that I just think more upon the subject. One thing that still bothers me and makes me feel terrible is a situation I don’t even know where I don’t know if me or the person was right or wrong. The situation was there was a close friend I spoke to often (later on I found out was going through some depression at the moment) whom I cared for much, but because I thought (me and my over thinking) that he would only come to me when he got bored or had nothing to do, I felt like I was being used like an object or a doll. But does feeling like that when he didn’t intentionally do it wrong? I felt so hurt that there were points where when things reminded me of him my heart was in pain. Later when i was cold shouldering him so much, and being distant, he asked what was wrong. Things like this, I hate dealing with. Stupid situations like this i hate talking about it, I’d much rather forget about everything. So I told him that it was okay, he unconvincingly said alright and told me he really cared about me, but I felt so hurt that i was like, oh sure in my head. You say that now. As we spoke, I found out he started cutting again and suicide. I have tried before, but meeting so many amazing people this one time, I felt that life is a big challenge worth fighting. I felt terrible after I found out, and so hollow. I wasn’t there for my close friend, was I being selfish and thinking my own feelings so much that I didn’t see? he likes to keep things to himself, only when things are crucial he would say. To this day, he’s still a good friend of mine, we talk everyday, but, was i wrong to think of that in the first place?

    • Daniel Kim says:

      Our thoughts can betray us if we do not have all the information and we are only examining our emotions. Rather than being quick to assume things, it’s always healthiest to go directly to the other person and communicate our thoughts, feelings, doubts and give the other person a chance to fill in all the missing information.

  11. Adele says:

    i don’t understand anything about that .. :D

  12. I really enjoyed your post. It is really good to see others focusing on the positives of problems which are really gifts in disguise. I believe gratitude is amazing at healing and coming to a place of forgiveness. Here’s a link to my blog Joy and Inspiration http://seventytwo722.wordpress.com/
    if any one is interested. :)

  13. Joel says:

    I was recently diagnosed with OCPD, which explains my need for perfection as well as those around me. Thanks for sharing your experience with resentment and forgiveness. I find when I forgive those I love it is therapeutic for me and I can let go of the resentment I was feeling. I am just getting started in therapy and how my mind has been working for so many years. I’ve seen things on this site already about my thoughts that even drive myself crazy. For instance, why can’t people use a turn signal? I am so driven to be perfect when I drive, even when no one is around. I want to let that part of my life go. It is very exhausting as is this condition. I will be back here often.

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