Talking Poison, But Not the Brett Michaels Kind

Inspiration / Self-Improvement

Holding on to Anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die

After a little detour, it’s back to Pinterest Therapy. Or as I think of it, life advice so good it must be “pinned”.

Next we’re on to “poison” – but not the “Talk Dirty to Me”, glam metal band kind. (Insert pause here for a late 1980’s flashback.)

No, we’re talking the skull and cross-bones, Jolly Roger, Mr. Yuk variety of poison.

Poison is toxic. Yet, many of us still insist on drinking it, some of us are even chugging it down. In the metaphorical sense, that is.

We nurse grudges for months, even years. We lose sleep stewing over perceived wrongs and slights. We keep detailed lists and write long journal entries detailing the transgressions of people who have crossed our paths and then crossed us. We dwell obsessively on the way things should have been, what others have done or should have done.

I know this, because I’ve personally done all the above on more than a few occasions. And as a Family Court lawyer, I’ve had a ringside seat to the same behavior in others.

At some point, though, we just have to release it. For our own sake.

Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

And the same is true for resentment and bitterness.

At first, it feels good, even cathartic, to express all of those negative emotions when we’ve been hurt or betrayed or wronged. After a certain point, though, it becomes counterproductive and even toxic.

The anger, resentment and bitterness are all ultimately self-defeating. Here are 4 reasons why:

  • Holding on to anger, resentment and bitterness gives the other person power over you. The law of proportionality is at work here. The angrier and more resentful and bitter you are, the more power you are giving away.
  • Usually, the other person is either clueless or indifferent to our anger, resentment and bitterness.
  • It takes more mental, emotional and even physical energy to hate and be resentful, anger and bitter than it does to be neutral or positive.
  • While we think we can target our anger, bitterness, and resentment and confine it to our intended target, in reality all of those negative emotions spill over into the other areas of our life. Try as hard as we might, it’s hard to compartmentalize negativity.

Ultimately, we have to make a conscious decision let go of the negativity to heal. And, from what I’ve found, the letting go isn’t a one-time occurrence. It’s more like a let go and repeat cycle until we eventually either forgive or forget. I wish I could say it was easier…..

Have you ever been “poisoned” by your own anger, bitterness or resentment?

This is Day Six of The Pinterest Therapy Sessions. Click here to read the rest of the series.

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  1. All.The.Time. Geez, why didn’t I hire you to be my therapist long ago? 😉 You’re so right and I know all of that, but the putting it into practice part is so hard. The let go and repeat cycle is the key. That part I didn’t consider. It’s always presented as “let go” as if that’s all it takes. Let go and never look back. But it truly is a let go and repeat cycle, isn’t it? Putting that methodology into practice until it becomes commonplace. Thank you for this.


  2. Anger is one of those emotions that creeps into my life and shocks me. Pleased to say resentment is less of a problem. So true they are not feelings to hold on to.


  3. Ugh, yes definitely. I wasted several years of my life on this and didn’t really deal with it at all until I randomly bought a one-way flight to China where I’d be all alone with nothing to do but face the stewing of poison. It’s brutal and it wastes time off your life and I’m pretty sure it gives you wrinkles.


  4. Good quote and oh, so true! I really like the visualization of the poison — because it is one : )


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