On holding grudges

I’m curious: do you hold grugdes for any length of time or are you able to let go quite easily?

I always marvel at how people can fight like cats (especially online) and then, soon thereafter when loyalties shift, they are the best of friends.  It baffles me.  I mean, if someone does you harm surely you don’t put up with them?  I always thought that you either like someone or you don’t and that you shouldn’t give them a chance to keep hurting you?

Let me explain a scenario from my own life:

A long long time ago I had this boss.  As bosses go she scared the living bejesus out of me and caused me untold anxiety and stress. Nothing was ever good enough for her, she was terribly arrogant, critical and demeaning and she generally treated people like shit.  She was a textbook example of How Not To Manage People.  We didn’t part on good terms and I literally had nightmares about her for years after.  I still get the heebie-jeebies just thinking about her (which, thankfully, I don’t do often).  Of all the people from my past I really don’t miss, she’s number 2 on the list, only surpassed by her own boss at that time.

Needless to say, I don’t harbor many warm and fuzzy feelings toward her.  In fact, over the years tales of how things haven’t worked out well for her made me smirk and gloat a little on the inside, admittedly not my finest moments.

Until last week.

Imagine my horror when I spotted her at gym at 5:15am the other morning and every other morning thereafter.  I mean, really Karma.  What the actual friggin hell?

I’ve now gone over this in my head (Etienne says I’m obsessing about it and I should just ignore her) repeatedly and I just cannot bring myself to greet her and I feel quite aggrieved that she is encroaching on, not just the gym I go to, but also the suburb I live in.  And she uses the machines in the same area I do, so there’s no dodging her. I’m seriously contemplating changing gyms, that’s how strong I feel about her.

I know I’m a big girl now and in the end it’s been a lot of years (think the previous century).  I know that the wheel has turned and all that. I know I should simply walk past, look up, give her the evil eye I perfected since raising toddlers and then smile falsely and greet. I know that I am a bigger person than my current behavior.

But seriously.  Holding on to that grudge is so much a part of me by now that it’s really hard to let go and besides, why should I be (a) false and (b) talk to someone I really have no time for?

I’ve come to realise obsessing thinking about this the last few days that I am actually a Master Grudgeholder.  Hurt one of my friends, my family or especially one of my children?  Treat me with disrespect, lie to me or steal from me? You will find your name on my shitlist and almost impossible to have it removed.  Call it self-preservation, call it shallowness or a product of my personal history, I don’t care, but don’t mess with me or the people I care for.

Do you hold grudges? If you don’t, how do you let them go?

ps: Do I care that she might read this post?  Not in the least, maybe she needs to see how people feel about her and think about the negative impact she’s had on people’s lives.

pps: there are probably a couple of people out there that feel this way about me as a manager and if I ever made you feel bad I apologise. I’m a lot better these days, promise.

13 thoughts on “On holding grudges”

  1. I am the biggest grudgeholder in the history of the world. I know it’s bad for me and totally not zen-like but I have a long list of people in my head whose ears I would not piss in if their brains were on fire. I would ignore her like a stop street in the middle of the night and if she ever says hi, pretend like you didn’t even remember who she was. That is what I have done. Often.

  2. I ahve a big list of people I really would not like to see again but no, I do not hold a grudge. Why not just ignore, or smile and wave and carry on? It’s your gym, stay put. After all life may have thrown her more that the usual curve balls in the last few years. Maybe she changed?

  3. I think that harbouring a grudge or staying angry at a person does me more harm than letting go. So with a lot of difficulty I have succeeded, eg my ex husband – that took about 15 years, but we are now FB friends and if he says something that pisses me off (which he often does) I just ignore it. :You will feel so much better if you just say hello and move on! It will be a great victory.

  4. My experience – if you hold onto a grudge it eats at you. If you learn to forgive you’ll have inner peace. (now I did not say forget lol).

    My dad always taught me never give someone YOUR power.

  5. Hi Tania! Reading your blog I cringed – this could have been me writing this! I had a horrible horrible boss while working in the UK about 10 years ago. The chance of ever seeing her again is slim, but I would blank her completely if I had to run into her. I use to go to a boxercise class on Monday evenings and picture her face in front of me – it was the only way I got through the week. Needless to say, I had the best toned arms ever!
    As for grudges – it’s in my genes (I blame my Dad!). I haven’t spoken to my father-in-law in a year, there was a last straw which broke the camel’s back. But where it comes to my own family I usually get over it somewhere along the line!

  6. I hold grudges – kinda like Lilly on How I Met Your Mother – I have a “you are dead to me look”. I just shut those people off totally and to be honest I may not even remember what she looks like if it was me – that’s how much I erase them from my memory.

  7. I never hold on to grudges not because of any moral higher ground but because my ADD makes me totally forget I am supposed to be cross with / dislike someone. I am terrible. I was recently very angry at a woman who hurt my MIL. I bumped into her at PnP a month later and totally forgot I was supposed to be cross with her so I happily greeted her and even chatted for a while. Only when I walked away did I think “damn!! I am supposed to hate her now”.

    I do this all the time. I am the worlds worst grudge-holder / sulker / injured party. It’s actually quite annoying. I would like to remember to be cross for a little while at least. Being a bit cross for a short while can be quite enjoyable. That bloody so and so! How dare she!! Oh look, a squirrel.

    I’ve been like this since a child. I used to get so cross with myself for forgetting I was supposed to be cross.

    So go ahead and piss me off. I will vloek you, but I will forgive, forget and move on very shortly afterwards. I probably won’t even remember what you did or why.

  8. I don’t hold grudges. It makes me more miserable, while the other person is happily going on with their life, not even knowing the stress, anxiety, bitterness and hurt they are causing you!
    I won’t go out of my way to see the person, I’ll remove myself from them, but if I see them in passing, I will smile happily and greet them and show them that whatever they did to me, whether intentional or not, held no bearing whatsoever on the rest of my life. It’s not being false as some would say, it’s simply my way of letting go!

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