Dealing with Resentment

It happens to everyone eventually. Long hours at the office or illness or other stress leads to fatigue. Then you get behind the wheel. Distracted by your own issues, another driver cuts in front of you and you react in the nick of time. Your heart races as you speak in a foreign language consisting entirely of four-letter words.

The other driver waves a quick apology and keeps going. Angered by the mishap, you tell your co-workers about the idiot on the highway. The rest of your day is ruined. At home you tell the wife, kids and cat (if she’ll listen to your ranting and raving) about your early morning near catastrophe.

The next day you’re still irritated by the event of the previous morning. You are rightfully angry. Yet you allowed another human being to affect how you felt for over a day while they went blissfully along unaware you even exist!

Minor distractions happen all the time. A car cutting you off in traffic is annoying, but some people take to road rage. Most often the transgression is unnoticed by the offender! The manic that cut you off, causing all kinds of outrage and stress, goes merrily along without a clue of you are. Yet you still suffered an extended period at your own hands. It wasn’t the other driver who harmed you! You did that all by yourself.




Deeper Wounds

We resent careless drivers, especially if they interfere with our journey. Unless an accident is caused the transgression is minor at best. Resentment is the acid which destroys the container which holds it.

There are times we can’t shake feelings of resentment. Betrayal is worst. When a significant other has an affair the wound cuts deep. When a friend stabs you in the back it is hard to shake it off. Even if the wound can be healed a scar remains.

I recently was betrayed by two people I highly respected. I never saw it coming. I was at a conference when I received a late at night text to visit. The individual who texted had recently discussed a business venture with me so I expected he wanted to move forward with the project. I’m notorious for my willingness to work any hour of the day when business is involved. I texted my room number.

A few moments later there was a knock at the door. The potential business partner brought along a friend I also knew and respected. It seemed odd but I let them in.

The two trusted friends then proceeded to destroy said trust. Mrs. Accountant was in the room as they dissected my life with accusations, demanding a detail by detail explanation. They had an incomplete story and didn’t care. If Mrs. Accountant and I had a less firm marriage they could have caused a divorce. It was that serious.

I was furious! How dare they question me? My personal life is just that: personal. And none of their damn business I might add.

All could have been forgiven up to this point. Misunderstandings happen. You hear a rumor or gossip or read something on the internet where it must all be true and act on the faulty information. Most of us have had moments where we’ve choked on our tongue, present company included. When it’s discovered it was an overreaction you apologize and hopefully move on.

That didn’t happen in this instance. The friend who texted doubled down on the stupid and destroyed the relationship forever.

Near the end of the conversation he said, “If your business and blog are destroyed you don’t care anyway with all the money you have.”

The temperature reached boiling in record time. Let me make something very clear. I don’t do this solely for money. We call that a chump’s game around here. I do what I do because I enjoy it and some second rate schmuck screwing it up isn’t going to make me happy.




Inappropriate Response

My reaction, and it was pure reaction, was to fire from the hip, all guns blazing. I was hurt and betrayed. I wrote a post about it since unpublished. It was terribly written because I was writing in the heat of anger. I was hurting everyone around me over my wounded pride.

I removed the offending parties from social media because I wanted nothing to do with them. I only use social media as part of my business, but I didn’t want to see or hear from these people again. I was cut deep and it wouldn’t stop bleeding. From an enemy I could expect this, but a friend? No, a friend’s betrayal cuts to the bone.

Now it’s tax season and the hours are long and sleep minimal. My natural defenses are weak. Sunday I went to the office for a quiet day of productivity without interruption. Lack of sleep powered with a heavy dose of coffee lit my fire. The anger bubbled to the surface.

Declining blog traffic set me off. I put serious hours in this thing and neglected any promotional efforts after the fateful night last autumn. Long hours and fatigue reached their boiling point again. Resentment rose to the surface when I started crunching the numbers. Traffic dropped from a high several months back to 44.6% lower in the last 30 days.

This blog isn’t about padding my wallet. But money is still an important factor. All the profits are destined for charities. The problem is that the profits are pretty minimal right now so any philanthropy is coming from other sources. I enjoy the writing, but am addicted to the acknowledgement of my efforts. Donations to charities (and a very coveted award I won) express acknowledgement. Without something to give I’m not feeling the warm and fuzzy lately.

For a few weeks now I started to feel like quitting. I’ve joked in the past you can buy my practice at a reasonable price right about this time of year. In August I’m happy as a clam so the price is a lot higher. Now, with constant pain from all the sitting and fatigue, I’m looking for the exit. I need a nap to recharge my batteries and the next scheduled nap is four and a half weeks out. It always hurts this time of year.

I cried on Twitter about the traffic issue. (I’m working on my presidential qualities for the next election.) And I blamed it all on you know who (the midnight visitor).

Anger and resentment set in. My visitors hurt my relationships with other venues. Jealousy happens in all fields, but I was unprepared for the vitriol from people I trusted and respected. And the resentment never went away.




I Thought This Was a Personal Finance Blog?

It is. That is why resentment is such an important topic. The traffic issue is in large part my problem. Out of anger I retrenched. I know I’ll never go back to the route of advancement I was formerly on. Still, even with other opportunities, I dragged my feet.

Writing brings me great pleasure. Even tax work! Long hours can physically hurt, but it’s all worth it in the end. I make people’s lives better and that feels better than all the pain the profession dishes out.

This is where I provide meaningful steps to solve issues of resentment. In the past I would always say something from the Stoic literature. In life I usually just let stuff go. It might bother me for a bit before it dissipates, but before long it is forgotten.

This time was different. Interpersonal relationships cause deeper wounds. Flesh is blown from the body. The wound may scab over, but a deep depressed scar is plainly visible.

What I want to communicate is that you must find ways to cope. I’ve included two YouTube videos I found helpful. It’s important! Throwing away the most valuable things in life over a slight is borderline crazy. Nix that. It’s totally batshit crazy!

There is more for me to share. Writing does need an audience to ferret out the juicy pleasure. Most successful blogs in this demographic have more traffic in a day than I garner in a month. Part of the reason is my lack of desire to use Pinterest and other resources to spread the word. Facebook and Twitter send minor traffic and search engines are just starting to notice. I spend all my time pleasuring myself, ah, doing what I like most, writing, and avoiding things I don’t care to do: promotion.

Now that I’ve written close to 1,500 words about resentment and why I’m currently feeling it, I feel better.

That is my advice. Talk to someone about what is causing your resentment. The one who caused the resentment might not be the best person to talk to about it. The guy you flipped off on Interstate 7 is unlikely to want a stimulating conversation on your feelings.

In relationships conversation is vital. Mrs. Accountant and I have always had a strong relationship. We weren’t luckier than everybody else, experiencing fewer challenges. Quite the contrary. The challenges levied against us would bring regular army to its knees. It is all about the communication.

Keep a journal. Write your thoughts and feelings. Ranting to yourself like the crazy guy who talks to himself as he walks a crowded street is not always effective. It could get you locked up in the loony bin if you’re not careful!

My Sunday at the office wasn’t as productive as it should have been as I wasted time walking the halls ranting over my resentment. It cost me money and got me further behind. Blame it on lack of sleep or whatever. It doesn’t matter! The consequences are all the same.

Writing is better than talking. Writing allows you to think about what you are saying. Writing has a way of getting it out so you finally get some closure.

If you have been cheated on, abuse or betrayed, write about it. Get it all out! The sooner you do, the faster the healing can begin. Yes, there will be scars. Yes, it will still hurt. But you will learn to deal with it and get the pain out so it can scatter to the wind.

The only thing you should never do is publish your rant. You don’t want the public to think you are that crazy guy walking the street talking to himself. Worse, you could get a midnight knock on the door of your hotel room.



Keith Taxguy

14 Comments

  1. WCRN on March 19, 2018 at 8:07 am

    It takes a lot of stones to lay it all out there like that.
    I think you get credit for not flying into murderous rage re: betrayal.
    Nothing hurts worst if you fear abandonment.
    ‘friends’ counting your pockets … *sigh*

    Your traffic will get better, I’ll admit I had a little avant-garde article fatigue – you keep a heck of a pace with your (quality) content – I’ve got to step my reading speed up apparently.

  2. JOHN MARINO on March 19, 2018 at 8:38 am

    Keith, you are a good man. Thank you for all you do.

  3. Matt on March 19, 2018 at 9:14 am

    Easy for me to say but don’t worry about traffic. You already know you can go crazy analyzing numbers. Your content is better than most and I appreciate that you post so often. I got in late on MMM and lack of new posts over there is disappointing.

    As for the conference situation, I can’t offer meaningful advice b/c I would have done the same thing. The best thing you did was not publish the post you wrote.

  4. Cindy on March 19, 2018 at 9:36 am

    Sadly, sometimes life sucks that way. I’ve been in the working world for a very long time and realize there are those select few who are driven to falsify information about another in attempts of elevating themselves to glory. And, this is done out of pure jealousy and insecurity.
    When this has happened to me (on several occasions in my 40-years of employment) I can defend myself with the facts if warranted, eliminate all contact with the accuser, and humbly surrender their punishment in my prayers. In-time, they will reap the seeds of which they sow.
    However . . . until I can get to this state of bliss, I work out my frustration with physical exercise or labor – and I’ve done some amazing feats of labor in the yard under those circumstances.

  5. Wealthy Doc on March 19, 2018 at 9:49 am

    Ugh. I can’t believe they did that to you. It sounds like a personal attack.
    You handled it about as well as any of us could.
    I know what you mean about writing. I continue to write despite limited readership, but I often consider giving it up.
    I’m also FI and don’t do it for the money. Actually, I may be more motivated if I really needed the money.
    Thanks for sharing this highly personal post.

  6. Jamie V on March 19, 2018 at 9:59 am

    Thank you for your blog. I know I don’t comment much – I usually type something out then get incredibly self conscious that what I wrote is stupid or something, and delete it. Your previous few posts have been very sentimental and I didn’t comment on those as I took the time to reflect (but I thought they were very sweet, and I think as a daughter, had I read something like that from my dad..gosh. Just ‘gosh’. I didn’t really know tender relationships between dad and daughters existed like that.) I appreciate your well thought out and expressed perspective of things as it only helps me learn more about the world and open my own head and heart a little more as well. So thank you for everything that you do! 🙂 I am sorry you had that experience regarding your friend; things can go bad, sometimes without explanation, but the wounds..there are always reminders. Battle wounds, I call them. As long as they are survivable.

  7. Zola on March 19, 2018 at 10:25 am

    Personal attacks suck and you wouldn’t be human if it didn’t upset you. How you deal with it – after venting, ranting, using colorful language, etc., – is what’s important. Easier said than done, I know. On a purely selfish note, I’ve really enjoyed your blog and look forward to your nuggets of wisdom, so keep on writing 😉

  8. Tamara on March 19, 2018 at 10:42 am

    It is tough not to take it personally when a slight comes from a friend. In addition to talking it out with someone, or writing in a journal, physical activity can also help. Go work out. And, even during peak tax season, just 30 minutes of exercise can make you feel so much better.

  9. Suzie on March 19, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    It was pretty low-down to come at you late at night, and then to gang up on you (two against one) compounds the transgression. It is no wonder you reacted as you did. When you are blind-sided it cuts particularly deep versus half expecting it from someone. A long time ago someone I greatly respected told me that you can’t let go of something until you get a handle on it, and you can’t get handle on it until you talk it out. No one can tell you how long that will take. It is on your own timetable, and a lot of times you can’t even predict. I was talking with a friend last night whose husband was, well to be honest, screwed over by a boss at work a number of years ago. Big time. Cost him his job and a lot of money (long story). They are finally back on their feet but it has been almost ten years. The boss is retired now and is coming back to work as a volunteer at the place where her husband now works (again a long story). She is struggling with this because she still feels resentment and she feels she should be over it. I told her that just because she feels cautious around this person does not mean she is still resentful. When someone burns you badly it is smart to be careful going forward.

  10. Hunter on March 20, 2018 at 6:36 am
  11. Social Capitalist on March 20, 2018 at 8:02 am

    Interesting. I get that the post is about resentment but I feel as if I am missing a chunk of the story. Someone who would attack you like that must have felt hurt, too. Their insecurities seem very similar to yours.

    Resentment controls a large part of anyone’s life; maybe your prescription will help. I’ll certainly try it. But we often feel resentment when we feel powerless to control an outcome. It may be that it’s also a powerful coping mechanism that helps us to make it though the day when we can’t ram the guy in front of us or flip off our boss.

  12. Kristin on March 20, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    I love your blog! It would have been sad if you shut it down because of the viewer numbers. Personally, I love how we get to benefit from your wisdom and knowledge in the most honest way! I think your posts are very wise and I enjoy reading them. This one I can relate too because I agree that many people have problems with jealously and it is not worth wasting any precious time over! Let alone be discouraged by jealous people!

  13. Jim @ Jimalism on March 20, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    Keith, sorry to hear about the betrayal and subsequent resentment. Like you said, resentment is the acid that destroys the container which holds it. Sounds like you are moving on from it the best you can do. Thanks for sharing this personal post and I appreciate you showing you are human like the rest of us.

  14. Ben on March 21, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    Keith – I discovered your blog two weeks ago and am really enjoying your posts, both the current ones and the archives. You have a great writing “voice” and have excellent insights which readers like me can really learn a lot from. Sorry you are going through a rough patch now but I hope you can perseve and keep it up, because you are providing a great service to people like me.

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