How to deal with resentful people

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

How to deal with resentful people

Dealing with resentful people requires a good understanding of resentment, its causes and the thoughts that linger in the resentful person’s mind.

Resentment is an emotion felt by a person who believes that someone or something has harmed his well being on intention. A very poor person who lives in country that has bad living conditions might be resentful against the governor because of believing that he is the one responsible for his misery.

Resentment is usually an indication of weakness. The resentful person is someone who has failed to defend his rights or to stop others from harming him and so found no better way to get his rights back other than becoming resentful towards them.

In order not to hurt their egos, to admit failure or to carry responsibility lots of people decide to become resentful in order to throw the blame of all the bad things that happened to them on someone else.

After all its hurts less to say life is unfair or that rich people are evil than to say I should have worked harder or I am lazy. (see Lying to yourself).

Resentment and misunderstanding

Of course I am not going to explain how to deal with a resentful person that you have hurt on intention because fixing the problem in such a case is your responsibility but I am going to talk about resentful people that you never harmed!

In many cases a person incorrectly perceives some facts and become resentful without even making sure of the information he has. For example, here in Egypt where I live, it’s so common to park your car for few minutes then come back to find a long line carved along the car's body with a razor. (by a resentful person)

As there is a strong belief that all rich people are thieves among lots of the poor and uneducated people in Egypt most of the poor people have became resentful towards rich ones.

Your role in preventing resentment is making sure that you don’t let the other people get you wrong, after all good communication skills is about not being misunderstood as much as you can even if you are doing nothing wrong.

Treating people badly, being arrogant, not giving respect to people and not being nice can all become signals that can be misinterpreted by a person who will then become resentful of you later on.

Resentment and jealousy

In my article dealing with resentment I have previously explained that underlying resentment can be feelings of jealousy. Believing that your success has resulted in his own failure or that you took from him the thing that he loved a person might become resentful towards you.

In such a case dealing with the resentful person must follow the same approach you use when dealing with jealous people. For complete information about that read my article dealing with jealous people.

Preventing resentment

In order to prevent people from becoming resentful towards you try to give explanation of your actions as much as you can if your actions will affect them directly.

For example if you are a manager in a company and found that you have to load people with work then give them a very brief explanation of the company’s situation so that they understand why they are working hard.

Its also very important to show empathy and to let them know that you are aware of their efforts and hard work. In short be on their side not against them and they will never become resentful towards you.

Preventing resentment is all about being clear so that you don’t get misunderstood. If you did all that and still found that there are some resentful people then know that its not your fault.

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