What does resentment have to do with autism?
Plenty. Autism is disruptive and garners a lot of attention. This can make families of autism a target for maltreatment and give them every temptation one can imagine to resent. People in the community pass judgement. There is always someone in between us and services our child needs. Our spouse may not understand or care enough about what we are going through. Our friends may not have the right words to say. Our child never seems to know when we need a break. There is no shortage of excuses.
Resentment is like cancer. Continue to hang on to it and it eats away at the soul. Over time, it does far more damage to the resentor than the resentee. Resentment gives people a horrible perception of the world. It kills relationships and tears apart families. It makes us speak or act before we think.
What’s more, for every person who we feel has mistreated us or let us down, harboring anger toward them gives them a little bit of control over our own contentment. If we accumulate enough people that we resent, we begin to group them together. Soon enough, our happiness hinges upon everyone else but ourselves. We become jaded.
What do we do about it?
The only thing we can control is our own thoughts and actions. Understand that there are two reasons people resent. People let them down or people mistreat them.
When people let us down, we have either not done a good job in enrolling them in our mutual cause, we haven’t properly managed our expectations or they are simply incapable of meeting our expectations. How are they at fault? We should resist the temptation to blame others. If they don’t seem to share our desires, maybe we haven’t conveyed the importance of something on their terms.
When people mistreat us, it is always a result of them being afraid of something. Understand where their fear is derived and resentment will soon become sympathy, or even pity. Help them to not be afraid and they will be with you always.
If there is someone in your life you are harboring resentment for, let your last act of vindication be that you release yourself from the shackles of resentment.
I believe that if autism itself has a single purpose, it is to make us all better people.