In A Better You, Wellbeing

Holding a Grudge


Holding onto a Grudge

It’s okay to be disappointed in someone, and yes, even in some cases angry. However, sometimes, we just have to let go. Let go of that pain, and maybe that anger in which we believe others may be responsible for. When this is difficult to do it is called, “holding a grudge”. There comes a time in our lives when holding on to a grudge will come to surface. It has to. When we think about a situation in such a negative way, it can consume us. It becomes all we think about when we think of this person who hurt us.

Most of us have at some point held a grudge or had someone hold a grudge against us. We would like to believe we don’t hold grudges…human beings are by nature, a forgiving species. A grudge can be caused from miscommunication, grudges may be real or it may be imagined. When we choose to do something we are not really up to and we agree to it anyway, we can hold a grudge against the person who insisted “we come”.

We may feel resentful towards this other person for “making” us go. When, in reality, a simple, “You know I’m not really up to it, could we maybe do it another day?”, would suffice. If not, we are angry most of the day, harbor ill feelings towards the other person and have become unpleasant to be around.

In turn, your friend may now have a grudge against you for being so hateful most of the day. Grudging means to bitterly hold onto to that anger or a feeling of being slighted; feeling as if we are being forced to do something we don’t necessarily choose to do. Grudges can go both ways.

There’s this story called “The Grudge”…The Grudge is about a psycho girl (psycho ghost to be exact), who was murdered and carries her grudge to the grave. She comes back and wreaks havoc, killing innocent people, and seeking revenge on those who murdered her. Even though there was only one person who killed her, she takes “grudges” to the extreme. She crawls on ceilings (really, really fast), turns her head in positions that only ghost can do, floods their home with sludge, and terrifies children. Therefore representing her “grudge”. However, these actions bring grudging to a hold new level and only one in which fiction writers can present.

While this is story form and we, as human beings cannot crawl on ceilings, nor do we murder innocent people, the point is well taken. After sequel two and three (possibly four), you’re thinking: “alright already, girl move on, the person who murdered you is long gone”. Forgive…

In almost all circumstances, it is impossible not to go through life and experience what it’s like to have a grudge against someone, somewhere, at some point. Or to have someone hold a grudge against us. We’re not perfect. If we’ve been harmed or slighted, we can forgive, right?

Well, no, not exactly…you see, sometimes, we hold onto a pain or a hurt for a bit too long. This can and does cause resentment towards the person we’re holding the grudge against.

What was once thought to be an insignificant moment now stays with us. It may be a small grudge, or a feeling of resentment in which we want to bring harm to the person who caused the hurt feelings if the problem is not faced or confronted. Sometimes consciously or unconsciously we will plot our revenge.

When there is a feeling of sadness, and anger over a trivial (or important) situation with someone and we just can’t let it go, and we’re holding on to that resentment, intended or unintended, there is a strong possibility, we are “grudging”.

People hold small grudges, however, if we are not able to forgive that grudge, it could become larger and we could find other reasons to hold even more grudges. Just not in such a violent way as in the previous story mentioned. There is a slight difference between “holding a grudge” and protecting ourselves from further harm. A grudge simply means, we feel we have been wronged and have not forgiven. We have not let go of that insult, or betrayal, and cannot sincerely move forward in our lives in a healthy way until we do.

We may feel like we are protecting ourselves when we hold onto a grudge. After all, as long as you’re angry about a situation or a person, they can’t hurt you anymore, right? A feeling of sadness or anger, and coming to terms with this is not such an easy task. A grudge will eat us up inside, cause destruction within ourselves, rather it is guided towards the person we’re holding the grudge against, or to ourselves. We bring harm to ourselves, emotionally and physically as we hold on to that grudge.

There are times we may not realize we are holding a grudge. It’s easy to think you have forgiven someone for hurting you, but, then you may realize the relationship has changed. Not dealing with grudges and facing them head on, to truly forgive and move on, causes a sickness inside of us, which, simply is not going to go way unless it is dealt with. It’s there…glooming like some monster ready to take over.

Not only has research shown that forgiveness allows us a sense of empowerment and is healthier, if we’ve ever experienced (and most have) that feeling of holding on to a hurt, that sense of being wronged, we know it causes us to be in a state of confusion and indecisiveness. Do we let it go? Or do we hold onto the pain and become stronger. Not likely…

Continuing to hold on to the anger or hurt feelings over someone wronging us, stresses us out. Therefore, interfering with our health and mental and emotional state. When we can’t let go of something inside of us, it has nowhere to go and can slowly harm us from the inside out. Holding a grudge against a person we love can take away from the enjoyment of being around this person and enjoying the relationship.

The Meriam-Webster dictionary describes a “grudge” as: “to dislike or feel angry toward (someone) for something” (Merriam-Webster, 2014). Holding a grudge makes us feel bad. It’s sort of like a sickness inside and not amount of medicine is going to take it away or make you feel better. Unless we confront this anger or sadness, we hold on to a grudge, sometimes, for years.

Do You Have a Grudge?

Are you avoiding a friend, a loved one or maybe an associate or coworker?

Do you find yourself deliberately ignoring phone calls or maybe even thinking of a way to “get even” with someone?

Are you sad, angry, hurt, disappointed in someone and not able to move past this grief or this anger? If so, rethinking the situation and finding a resolution can help to move past this grudge…

What can we do to let go of a grudge? First, ask yourself if it is truly worth your health or destroying a relationship?

  1. Realize you are holding a grudge. Ask yourself if you are angry with someone or have resentment, a bitter feeling towards another person?
  2. Forgiveness is what is sincerely at the root of a grudge. Learning to be able to forgive can allow us to move forward.
  3. Confront the person in which you are holding the grudge against (maybe there is a plausible explanation).
  4. Communicate and talk about what it is that is hurting you or making you angry, if you can’t talk about it and express your feelings, your holding on to that grudge.

Grudges need to be dealt with rather than holding those miserable feelings inside and allowing them to interfere with our lives. Forgive and truly let it go. Don’t just say “I forgive you”, and secretly be thinking to yourself, “that’s okay, I’ll get you back”. That grudge is still there.

Remembering we also want to teach our children about forgiveness, can help us too. When children see that mom or dad can forgive others for hurting them or making them angry, they too learn to forgive. As parents, we want our children healthy and to learn to communicate with others. We do not want them to be angry or to hold grudges.


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