These compelling feelings are not just for the narcissists among us…
By Dr T J Jordan
We savor our grudges. We collect resentments. We wallow in our urges for vengeance. And the less confident we feel about ourselves, the more we practice these rituals.
Sometimes we go to such extremes of holding on to our partner’s transgressions that we keep track of them in writing. We don’t want to forget the bad that our partners have done. We reserve a special place in our memories for our “wound list.” Rarely do we recollect the happy moments as sharply or with such devastating gusto as we reserve for those that stung.
Why do we persist in treasuring occasions of anger? What prohibits us from letting go? And what can we do to prevent the painful events of the past from poisoning the present?
Seduction by Power
It’s a human thing to get off on power. It makes us feel self righteous and superior. It feeds a false elitism. And it gives us a dopamine hit.
We repeatedly revisit the wrongs that our partners have done because those particular memories of pain have a way of making us feel good. And feeling good is reinforcing. Here’s how that happens:
When a partner transgresses, we feel unpleasant emotional consequences. We feel hurt because we’ve been struck in one of our vulnerable places. But then we transform the pain into a complicated response that contorts it into a bid for power. We lash out because we have been hurt within.
Our relational wounds say to us, “My partner has great power to hurt me.” To which our ego responds, “Hell no, I’m not going to let that happen! I will fix this by punishing them.”
Ruminating over grudges fuels us and provides emotional satisfaction, especially if we’re lacking feelings of self worth or self confidence. Our grievances give weight to our discomfort and raise us up in…