The Price of Grudging

“In the past, I’ve felt hurt, insulted, trampled upon, taken for granted, used, betrayed, abandoned, rejected, replaced, run down, forced, abused, talked about, grief stricken, nullified, disquieted, accused, harangued, put down, discredited, made to feel guilty, angered, overwhelmed, uncomfortable, afraid, jealous and unable to sleep because of my obsessive thinking pattern. Don’t I have a right to hold a grudge?” Of course you do! Grudge to your heart’s content and then let me know how you feel afterwards. Do you feel any better? No? Well, shouldn’t you? Oh well, maybe next time it will be different!

As important as our feelings are as well as our need to think about them to determine where they’re coming from, it seems that the more of that we do, the more problematic they become. They seem to become a problem because they fester … like a sore or boil … and eventually turn into a grudge against someone. In addition, although we might feel justified to experience that sensation of wanting to get even or exact revenge, it seems that the burden of proof lies more with us than with the person or persons for whom we hold the grudge. It affects our thought processes, bodies, relationships and leads to even more feelings that can become burdensome.

Many times when we hold a grudge, we experience a good deal of guilt about what happened even though we may know that we didn’t do anything to explain that guilt. That’s because as these thoughts and myriad of feelings swirl around in our minds, there might be a tendency to begin believing that we must have done something wrong to incur the problem creating those feelings. It should also be remembered that there is a very “thin line” between the anger that we are experiencing and feelings of guilt. Truly, this process is what the Greeks would call a kuklos or vicious circle. There’s no beginning … there is no end and we are caught up in the middle somewhere feeling trapped and helpless.

Now, our rational self may realize that sitting down with the party or parties involved in the incident in order to work out a more reasonable understanding of the underlying sources of whatever happened but it seems that our vicious circle won’t allow that reasonable alternative to be tried. It’s almost as if we need to continue to suffer with our obsessive thoughts and feelings. In effect the convoluted process becomes a punishment! A punishment for what? We sometimes don’t even know. I should point out that this process can continue for some despite the advice from others that might indicate that we should try to resolve whatever the issue might be by sitting down with the perpetrators.

What a dilemma! Yet I’ve known hundreds of people who suffer from it. Why is this so predominant and what’s the source of the problem? Well, human nature being what it is has a tendency for our thoughts and feelings to go out of control. The reason for this is that most of us haven’t been taught how to deal forthrightly with them from a very early age. Instead, we may have been taught to hide from our feelings, to justify them, negate them or just to avoid them completely. Many of us are taught not to talk about what we’re thinking or feeling out of the fear that we might be unjustly judged or castigated by others. And so, we end up taking it out on ourselves by having this “round robin” thought/feeling process become our companion. We’d rather suffer alone than “go public.” It would seem very reasonable that if we are in a relationship of love and value, there isn’t anything that we can’t really say to the other person without still being understood and cherished. Somehow, however, closeness tends to bring about suspicions that anything that we might say or do to harm that closeness isn’t worth the risk of taking it. The greater risk, of course, is what the festering of our thoughts and feelings will most certainly do to that personal and close relationship. Obviously we need to make a choice and hopefully it will be one with the voice of reason vs. the voice of paranoia as the backdrop.


Both as a consultant and author, Charles Bonasera’s story-telling have motivated people to change patterns and resolve problems in their lives. All of his books contain valuable, practical lessons that people can easily apply to bettering and managing their lifestyles. He has also written a myriad of articles which can be found on his website at www.charlesmbonasera.com.

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