6 Signs That You Are Bitter
We all get bitter from time to time. It happens when someone has taken advantage of us one too many times or when plans in life don’t go our way or when we realize that life just isn’t as fair as we once thought it was. It’s that sunken feeling of disgust and anger over something or someone. Even though it happens from time to time, it’s important not to let it fester inside of us and eat away at our core beliefs and values. Here are some signs that maybe it’s time to seek help with letting things go and finding happiness.
1. You talk badly about people.
Putting others down is a sign you are unhappy in your own life, regardless of whether it’s a stranger or someone you know. For example, when you can’t be happy for someone who is celebrating something important to them, consider yourself bitter. It doesn’t matter what it is - a new baby, completing a college program, losing weight. If someone tells you about it and you have thoughts like, “I feel bad for their kids,” “Took him long enough” or “Let’s see how long that lasts” then you are as bitter as a granny smith apple.
2. You constantly compare yourself to others and even get jealous.
Thoughts like, “No one does that for me,” “She gets all the luck” or “It’s me against the world” are the thoughts of someone who is battling with their own sense of self-worth.
3. You are apathetic and avoid people.
You find yourself enjoying people’s company less and less. When you start turning down invites to hang out with friends and family, avoid any real connections, and communicate less with others, there’s something you are harboring. You have a “Who cares?” or “What’s the point?” attitude.
4. You take things personally that may not even be about you.
Instead of asking questions to clarify, you make assumptions that the person is purposefully pushing your buttons or has it out for you. Not everything is about you. Maybe the person is having a bad day or has a lot on their mind.
5. You complain A LOT, sometimes about the same things, and you overgeneralize negative experiences.
When someone disrespects you, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth, a bitterness that stays with you. After that happens, it’s difficult to see others in a positive way, so the negative experiences pile up until that’s all you see. Sometimes you talk about the same bad experiences over and over again, like you are still holding on to that feeling for dear life.
6. You think the world owes you something.
When you have a big chip on your shoulder, you feel wronged and like life is unfair. You also start to feel powerless and the more you try to ignore that feeling, the more defensive and bitter you become.
If you’ve seen these signs in yourself, it’s probably time to talk to someone about it. Bitterness often comes from feeling hurt. Talking to a professional helps you explore the underlying issues and develop healthier habits that can foster a great sense of resiliency and peace. A professional therapist can help you lift that weight off of your shoulders and free your mind and spirit for amazing life experiences. It’s time for change.
The Relationship Dance
Sometimes relationships can start out like a book or movie with intrigue, romance, lust, and novelty. The thing about books and movies is they always have a beginning, middle, and end. The story is expected to have some dramatic transition that affects the outcome in some way. The characters then resolve the issue and go on living normally, if not happily. However, when you’re in a committed relationship, you experience many transitions and there is no end. You have a continuous string of moments together. I like to think of the moments as dances. Sometimes the dance is the waltz, where you glide along smoothly, moving close together, smiling. Sometimes the dance is the tango – full of passion, ups and downs, pushes and pulls. Sometimes the dance is the cha-cha and you take steps forward and backward. The interesting thing about viewing moments in a relationship like dances is that for the dance to work, each person must anticipate their partner’s moves. The pair have practiced it so many times that they know how the other person will respond. The partners influence each other so that when one missteps, the other is affected. When one leads, the other follows. Successful dance partners keep practicing with the goal of togetherness in mind and the emotion behind the dance conveys this goal. Similarly, satisfied couples respond in ways that keep them moving together because they have a fondness for each other.
It is easier and makes more sense to maintain togetherness, even during arguments, when you have fondness and admiration for your partner. You remember that even though you aren’t getting along in the moment, you still want to be with the person and will turn toward him or her instead of away. Having this basic foundation is key to building a lasting relationship. In therapy, I address this with my clients by first assessing where their strengths and weaknesses lie. Then, I invite couples to participate in activities that help them build fondness and respect for one another. Turning toward and having fondness and admiration are key themes of Gottman Method Couples Therapy, a research-based model.
By viewing your relationship in terms of a dance that takes practice, you are opening yourself up to emotional growth, new possibilities, and new-found joys with your partner that have been waiting to be expressed. Although you may be out of sync on some days, the music keeps playing, creating new opportunities to try again.
Ilianna Luna is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Owner and Director of Happy Home Therapeutic Services, a private practice center in Plantation, FL. Ilianna enjoys helping people see their lives in new ways with new possibilities.