“They feel the world has treated them unfairly. It’s one step more complex than anger. They’re angry plus helpless,” says Dr. Michael Linden, a German psychiatrist who named the behavior.
Embittered people are typically good people who have worked hard at something important, such as a job or a relationship or activity, Linden says. When something unexpectedly awful happens — they don’t get the promotion, the wife files for divorce or they fail to make the Olympic team — a profound sense of injustice overtakes them. Instead of dealing with the loss with the help of family and friends, they cannot let go of the feeling of being victimized. Almost immediately after the traumatic event, they become angry, pessimistic, aggressive, hopeless haters.