Step 8: Working Through Underlying Resentment

Upset couple having an argument

Contributor: W. Travis Stewart, LPC, NCC writer for Addiction Hope

I hope my high school soccer coach isn’t reading this.

It’s been nearly 30 years since I graduated from high school—yikes, even typing that makes me feel old. What’s even more discouraging is how long I felt resentment toward my coach.

  • I thought I should have gotten more playing time.
  • I thought he mismanaged the team.
  • I thought he had poor judgement of talent.

I thought if I had played more maybe… I don’t know exactly what I thought would have been different.

I had known for a long time that I was resentful toward my coach but it hit home a few years ago when my son was playing football. Despite being a great athlete, a hard-worker, a quick-learner and having the best hands on the team, he, along with a lot of other kids, wasn’t getting playing time.

As I watched the coach’s kids play while my son and other boys sat on the sideline, I fumed. Anger boiled up inside me at the injustice. I had to hold myself back from exploding at the coach. I lost sleep over it.

And I knew it bothered me more than it bothered my son. That was a clue to the resentment toward my own high school coach.

Resentment is the feeling that we have been wronged—and that if the situation had been reversed, there is no way we would have acted in the same manner. It is the feeling of being in the right and the other clearly being in the wrong. And it is poisonous to our mental and emotional health.


It was hard for me to look back on high school soccer with positive memories. The fact is, I played on one of the best teams in the state at a large high school. I played with my best friends, I got to travel to tournaments out of state, I learned and grew as a person. But my resentment had colored it all a dark shade of ugly.

Until I became a Facebook friend with my former coach.

One day, I saw one of his posts about his kids. Somehow, this made me realize his age. He wasn’t that much older than me. That stunned me.

Group of students in a hallwayAs a high schooler, I envisioned him as much older, wiser and experienced. The truth is, he was a pretty young guy and was probably in one of his first coaching jobs. He has stepped into a situation with a lot of pressure to win. He was doing the best he could as a young husband, father and coach. He was trying to keep a lot of kids and parents happy.

I can relate to all that.

That’s when the resentment began to melt. Empathy and perspective will do that. Empathy and perspective, along with gratitude, seem to be the antidote to resentment.

I no longer want to be bound by the past and the story I’ve told myself. I can empathize with the situation he was in. I am grateful for the chance to have played soccer. I am beginning to see it for what it was.

Thanks coach. Thanks for investing in young men. Thanks for teaching us about the game. Thanks for living on a teacher’s salary to do something meaningful. Thanks for taking time away from your wife and small children to play a game with boys who were not your own. I’m grateful.

I hope you read this.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

How has embracing empathy and perspective changed or softened the resentment you have held for others? What advice do you have to share?

Travis StewartAbout the author: Travis Stewart earned a Master of Arts in Counseling (2001) and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies (2003), both from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis, MO. Travis is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Missouri and a writer for Eating Disorder Hope and Addiction Hope.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on November 23, 2015
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