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OT - How long do you hold a grudge?

Aniki's picture

I'm not talking about staying PO'd for years because someone called you a beeyotch (there are days I'm proud to be one - lol!). I'm talking about someone who did a terrible thing(s) to you. Of course, there are different degrees of "terrible" and those can change as we age... Do you:

A) forgive and forget?
Dirol forgive, but never forget?
C) forgive, never forget, and continue to harbor resentment?
D) never forgive or forget?
E) never forgive or forget and scheme to get even?

I am definitely a B. Now.

When I was young, I was a C type of person. I would even, on occasion, dream of getting even, but never followed through with my nefarious plans. However, that all changed with the nightmare that was my first husband. He was a master manipulator and gaslighter. Oh, he was so GOOD at it! The mental abuse was so gradual, it was like water beating on a rock. He gradually eroded my confidence, my peace of mind, my everything, until I was an insecure, quivering piece of putty, waiting for him to "mold" me into whatever was needed for the occasion. Pick out my clothes, tell me how to wear my hair, my makeup, how to behave.... I was definitely Sleeping With The Enemy. He messed up, though. One night, he completely lost control and beat me so badly, I ended up in the hospital. My brothers told me if I went back to him, they would have me committed. And, oh, I WANTED to go back. Some of you know what it's like... But with both of my brothers baby-sister-sitting me, and their promise to have me committed to the psych ward if I went back, I got a divorce. The ex still stalked me. For YEARS. Stalked me, terrorized me, tried to kill me... In his mind, I was still his wife and he could do as he pleased!

I decided if I wanted to have peace in my life, I had to stop being a C type of person. Giving Psycho space in my head gave him a place in my life. And he was NOT WORTHY of a place in my life. I've had other people do sh!tty things to me. I forgive, but never forget. I want to "learn the lesson", but not open myself up to that kind of hurt again.

To be honest, I don't know how you FORGET. :?


futurobrillante99's picture

Hmmmmm. Depends on the "crime." For my family, it's a solid B and I haven't had a relationship with them for 23 years.

Most other cases, I'm an A unless someone tries to hurt my child, then we're a solid C, if not an E.

ESMOD's picture

I'm a combination of B & D.

It depends on whether I need to maintain a relationship with the person going forward or not.

Like.. it's someone you work with. constant harboring of resentment is going to poison your own well... so that's pointless.. but I would most likely not forget and be a little more wary around that person.

For family... I might stray more towards B.. especially if the instance was an aberration from their normal actions.

Aniki's picture

Poisoning your own well is an excellent analogy, ESMOD. I always say if you cannot change your circumstances, you have to change your mind (thought process).

secondplace's picture

In this scenario Aniki, does the person try to make amends? That would change my answer for sure.

momjeans's picture

Some things are just not forgivable, to me, and for the most part I’m not the forgetting kind. It’s kind of like a coping or defense mechanism, I guess? I mean, how exactly does one forget something that is so emotionally damaging? I truly wonder. For me, it’s permanently etched in me.

When I was younger I was mostly A, sometimes B.

I feel like I’ve never been at the point of D with anyone, until I met my MIL and endured all of her manipulation and emotional abuse. She is not sorry, and because of that I can not forgive and forget, despite seeing that it’s not *really* about me, but more about her.

Aniki's picture

Momjeans, I am also not the forgetting kind. It has always baffled me that people can FORGET something so atrocious. These atrocities are definitely permanently etched in me.

I look at it this way: all of the things that happened to me in the past have shaped me into the person I am today. I LIKE who I am, but I don't know if I would be the strong woman I am without those atrocities. What me ex did to me was horrendous, but I would not change my past.

theoldredhen's picture


I join you in your pure and straightforward hatred of your MIL. All who know her must share in your sentiments, yes?

I've been reading your posts for a while and almost admire the woman (MIL) for her relentless narcissism. If she were a dog, she’d be the ‘Best in Show.’ A champ!

Look at it this way, Hon; you are younger and bound to outlive the bitch. (Refer to ‘Best in Show.’) When the moon is full and your DH is otherwise engaged, you can sneak out of the house, at the midnight hour, and dance on her grave. Please, momjeans, do a few Irish stomp lines for me?

zerostepdrama's picture

I'm a B or C.

I forgive for myself, but I don't forget because when you do, then it let's your guard down for the person to screw you over again. I feel that I just go about my life happy, disengaged but keep the knowledge of the betrayal in the back of my head to not allow myself to get hurt again.

I had 2 "friends" in HS that slept with my long term HS boyfriend. To this day when I see them, I still have a little grudge against them. And I am WAY over my Ex (he's a loser) but I just didn't forget the way they made me feel.

When I forgive I do try to do it 100% and start open and fresh but I think it's important to not forget how a person once screwed you over, because that is most likely WHO they are.

My uncle on my mom's side, that man can hold a grudge. He doesn't talk to most of the family because of some made up issues and he didn't even attend his own mother's funeral. He just does not forgive or forget. My sister is kind of the same way too. Not as bad though.

Aniki's picture

Zero, you nailed it for me with this statement:
I forgive for myself, but I don't forget because when you do, then it let's your guard down for the person to screw you over again.

Thank you for articulating it for me!! Biggrin

Iamwoman's picture

This is me too. I forgive for my own peace and sanity, but never forget (also for my own peace and sanity.

I used to be an A, but that was over 15 years ago. My daughter’s father changed my capacity for near saint like forgiveness forever, and made me realize that only a fool forgets.

queensway's picture

Holding on to resentment hurts you more than the person who did you wrong. It can kill your spirit. Letting go of things helps to move on. I am more of a A or B. Sometimes it is hard to forget things. But I have learned over time to not let it bother me. I also think that when someone hurts you if they say "I am sorry" and really mean it forgiveness comes easy. Without an apology you can still forgive and have peace to move on. I also hate being angry it is not in my DNA. Holding on to anger is so unhealthy. Plus letting go of things means you are in control of your life not the other person.

Aniki's picture

Queensway, I do believe it hurts you more than the other person. I think it is harder (impossible for some) to forgive when someone is NOT sorry for what they did to you. Too many people will say "I'm sorry" with zero sincerity. Almost like they are saying it with exasperation so you will move on.

One day, I realized that holding on to the anger was not only affecting my health - it was turning me into someone I neither liked nor recognized. I had to let go of the anger for MY sake; no one else.

beebeel's picture

I'm not Jesus. I don't forgive easily and I don't forget. That doesn't mean I sit and fester. It's more like "I've put a notice in your file and will refer back to it whenever the need arises." I can move past being wronged pretty quickly, but I won't be burned twice.

Aniki's picture

Agreed, beebeel. I'm not about to be burned twice. Much less a third time!!

I would feel weird sharing a bottle of vino and some girl talk with Jesus, so I'm glad you're YOU. xoxo

theoldredhen's picture

Yo Hon,

~"I've put a notice in your file and will refer back to it whenever the need arises."~

Beautifully said and an ideal observation for a meme! That's a lot of wisdom for a young'un and this granny's hat's off to you. <3

Snowflake's picture

I am more of a D type of person. AS I have gotten older I have realized to not give anyone space in my brain.

I neither forgive or forget, I just move on. I know longer give anyone a second chance to hurt or bother me. I just write them out of my life.

Perhaps I came this realization when I realized that half my life was gone and that allowing people in my life who would only bring me down was doing nothing for me. I just wish I had come to that realization sooner in my life.

Aniki's picture

Snowflake, I write those people out, too. I basically consider them dead. Hold my private (mental) memorial service and move on. I spent too many years allowing toxic people a place in my life. No more.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

Growing up I was definitely an A. I also had an unconventional childhood and I called it "kicked puppy" personality. Meaning I would literally forget ANYTHING bad someone did to me. LOL. Until they hurt me again... Then I'd be hitting myself in the head wondering how the heck I was so stupid...

Now I'm a B. I'll forgive, I'm not going to hold a grudge, but I sure as s*** won't be forgetting. I've learned to actually learn from my misfortunes. Some people really just can't be trusted. And you're better off realizing people are creatures of habit.

Unless you're BM. Then you can burn. Because you didn't hurt me (okay kind of did, but I don't care about that), you hurt my forking family. So you can bet if you ever throw a punch, I'll break your nose.... But that's just me. LMAO

Aniki's picture

"Kicked puppy" personality... PA, I was with someone like that! He grew up in a toxic family. OMG, they're all bloody awful! As a child, he retreated mentally. As an adult, he retreated physically - he avoided his family for 6 months, at a minimum. Until he "forgave" what they did. But he never truly forgave them. He let the resentment build and build until he finally exploded. And guess who took the brunt of the explosion? Me. He spent almost 2 years in therapy and seemed to be doing well, but the siren call of toxic family and alcohol won the day.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

My family didn’t realize until after I moved out and I got brave enough to discuss everything with them... Took years to get where we are now Smile

But I had it... I withdrew emotionally... it got to the point I could COMPLETELY shut myself off when someone was hurting me... I didn’t have legitimate emotions for a while... Therapy helped... And I’m much better and happier! If I hadn’t dealt wth it how I did I can guarantee I probably would have blown up eventually... Things started flooding back when I left for college.. It wasn’t pretty... But I’m stronger for it now! Smile And WAY more confident!

It sucks Aniki... I feel for him a bit... If you don’t handle it right then it affects you in weird ways... I had total breakdowns where I couldn’t function for hours at a time... I dealt with it, got myself into therapy and worked through a lot of ugly! I’m sorry you had to deal with the other side... Knowing how nasty I got for a bit I can only imagine what that would be like... Sad

Aniki's picture

PA, I used to feel for him. I was the only one who understood, supported, and helped him. Who do you think was paying for his therapy? The therapist was amazed that I had figured out so much - made her job a little easier.

I never yelled at him. Never verbally/mentally abused him... In fact, I CONFUSED him because I was just steady and supportive and loving. His own mother "didn't love him" when he was "bad". Who TF withdraws their love as punishment??

But he was a mental/verbal abuser who could not resist the siren's call of alcohol. He's now a 46yo alcoholic who lives with his mommy and cannot hold down a steady job. Sad

AshMar654's picture

I am not sure what I am. Is there an option to just move on from it all. With my dad I am not sure I totally forgave him for all the stuff he did but eventually put it in it's place and lived my life. With my ex-best no forgiveness right now and not forgetting too quickly but I am just slowly putting that in it's place too and living my life.

Sometimes you can not forgive what happened sometimes you just move on and not let it bother or have an impact on your day to day life.

I forgive those I truly love and I know truly love me back. That is for little things. If SO cheated or abused me or stuff along those lines I think I would forgive but never forget and end up leaving him. I think it is not so much the type of person you are but the situation and to what degree that situation will effect your life.

Aniki's picture

Ash, there are lots of options. Those are simply the ones I thought of.

I am certainly NOT saying it's wrong to NOT forgive people - only throwing it out there to hear from others. Smile

WalkOnBy's picture

I am typically a forgive, but never forget kinda gal....

I hold one grudge, against Money-Ka and Asshat, which will NEVER be forgiven, though. And, no, it isn't that they started dating while he was married to me. I forgave that looooong ago. The grudge I hold against them is because of a far more nasty and disruptive thing they did. I won't ever forgive them for it.

WalkOnBy's picture

No, he certainly wasn't. One of these days, I will retell the story of the grudge I hold. Even 7 years later, I still have a hard time talking about it.

queensway's picture

Walk on By,I do think that forgiving a person we were married to is one of the hardest things to do. Because our life at one time was shared with them. And for most of us we loved them. They were not family they were someone we chose to be with. We loved and trusted them. Had children with. Shared real life stories. Then we get divorced and they turn into someone we feel we don't know. They do or say things that we can't believe this is the same person we loved. Love turns to hate. Hurt sets in and they become a stranger. How do we forgive. For me it took a while. But when I said I will not live with this awful sick feeling all the time I chose to forgive and felt free. It was more for me not him. It sounds like your ex cut you deep. Those are the things that we just don't forget.

WalkOnBy's picture

I forgave him for cheating. The "cut" he gave me was teaming up with Medusa (she located him and began to feed him all kinds of disinformation about DH) during our last custody/CS go around when he found out that DH and I were getting married. He took this information and tried to use it to get custody of the Things out of spite. I think he forgot that our FOC would attempt to verify the ridiculous lies that Medusa told him - and when they did attempt to verify and instead found out that it was just out and out lies, he was mad at ME.

Instead of coming to me with his "concerns", he did an end run around me, thinking he was smart enough to pull it off. Medusa took pieces of information that Asshat fed her and tried to use it as a way to keep the skids from DH. She even went so far as to ask Money-Ka to write an affidavit about what a terrible mother I was and Medusa included it in one of her many stupid court filings back in the days when she was still around.

DH's Judge just laughed and laughed and laughed when he found out that the woman who wrote the statement was my ex-husband's wife and then he laughed some more.

I saw Money-Ka a few weeks after I found out about her "affadavit." I asked her what the hell she had hoped to accomplish and of course she had nothing to say but "all is fair in love and war."

I glared and snorted at her and said "well, I am NOT in love with you, and you're not worth my time in a battle. Kindly fuck off and stay out of my life."

A couple years later, we had a bit of a crisis with my oldest kid. Nothing major, but something she needed both of her parents for. When the four of us (me, DH, Asshat and Money-Ka) met, she was sooooooooooo nicce to me. I really wanted to throw my hot coffee in her face, but instead I just ignored her.

queensway's picture

Falsification on both sides for custody.All is fair in love and war,not when you are telling lies to a court. Pure evil. That is when the karma bus comes in one day. Yeah that is a hard one to forget because it is about someone trying to lie. And your kids are involved. So Medusa wanted a affadavit saying you were a terrible mother. LOL That is priceless. Oh how time changes things.

theoldredhen's picture

Yikes, WOB,

Spousal adultery ranks pretty high on the 'never forgive nor forget' chart, nome sayin'? It would take one, big, nasty, old sin to surpass it. Girl, I don't think that I even want to know.

This granny is thinking, 'Karma bus, karma bus, karma bus; itsa coming!' Here's hoping that you have a grandstand seat when the poopoo rains down….

Cooooookies's picture

All the stuff done against me? time.

The horrible things my own family did to my own BS and tried to hide? Solid D forever. No fkking regrets!

2Tired4Drama's picture

I think it depends on who the person is, what they've done and why they've done it. I think it also depends on what your definition of forgiveness is.

I truly believe there are sick, vindictive, evil people in the world and they knowingly and gleefully do horrible things to other people. My former boss was one of them. He absolutely HATES women, has a deep-seated belief they MUST be subordinate to men, and thinks they don't belong in the workplace. He does everything he can to force women out, unless they are fawningly submissive and/or flirty with him. He wound up forcing me out of my position since he saw me as a threat since I am neither of those things.

I had to retire early at significant loss of money which will affect me and my dependent family members for the rest of our lives. I will damn him and his phony piety to hell and back every single month when I get that reduced retirement check. For the rest of my life.

So will I ever forget him? Unfortunately, hell no. Will I ever forgive him? Double hell no.

I certainly don't dwell on it on a daily basis and try not to let him take up head space. But when you are reminded every single month of what someone has done to you, I don't see any possibility of forgiving and forgetting.

Aniki's picture

2Tired, that's TERRIBLE and I'm so sorry!!!

When you say it depends on your definition, that DOES make a difference. This is from the Merriam-Webster dictionary/thesaurus site:

1: to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : pardon ·forgive one's enemies
2a: to give up resentment of or claim to requital (see requital 1) for - forgive an insult
2b: to grant relief from payment of - forgive a debt

For me, I would say it's been more of the choice to GIVE UP resentment because holding onto it was poisoning me.

2Tired4Drama's picture

I almost think we need a different word to describe this phenomenon.

In my case, I am doing the old "living well is the best revenge" philosophy. I've chosen to believe that for whatever reason, my early retirement (albeit forced) is a gift and am embracing it happily - since I really had no other choice.

I will never cease having these feelings about my former boss and I do believe it will catch up with him one day in some shape or form. That gives me peace. I am not walking around daily burdened with a huge case of resentment, but every month when I get that reduced retirement check I will take a moment to send negative energy his way and hope it strikes him at some point. Actually, taking that small moment to direct my feelings actually seems to help - as it seems to let off some of the resentment steam and allows me to let it go. Until the next check! Smile

He is truly one of those nasty, psychopathic individuals who deserves whatever he gets. He's done a lot of damage to a lot of good people and I believe all that karma (and God) will ultimately catch up with him.

Aniki's picture

2Tired, your ex-boss sounds like BioHo. She is a nasty, skanky, narcissist who has done a lot of damage to good people - including her own children. She is long overdue for a Karmic smackdown.

IslandGal's picture

It depends on the circumstances. I can forgive..but I dont forget and I will be on guard always after.

I can forgive many things if they're done to me and the person is genuinely sorry..but I see through fake apologies and will not forgive if they are fake.

I find it hard to hold grudges..and would rather vent..bring it all in the open so we can put it behind us and focus on being positive.

There are a few that still hold grudges against me. I know the reasons why and I understand..but I dont let it get to me. Especially if I know that I acted to defend someone who was incapable of defending themselves. Its their loss if they want to hold on to bitterness..which they had a big part of creating. Bitterness rots you from the inside out.

notasm3's picture

My personal philosophy is to forgive and forget that the other person exists.

If someone really does something horrible I prefer to write them out of my life forever. There is no reason to keep horrible people in your life - DNA be damned.

Aniki's picture

Notasm, I have a rule to never allow Toxic People back into my life. Two of them have been very persistent, but I'm not having it. I consider them dead.

Kes's picture

I don't forgive or forget, so D - unless the other person makes a real sincere effort to make amends, then I will give them another chance, but I never ever give a third chance.

Acratopotes's picture

I never hold a grudge, it's a waste of time and energy,

If you piss me off I simply close that door and you will never be allowed in again.

Acratopotes's picture

cause you know me so well....

hey I swear that line is from an ABBA song lol

notsobad's picture

Oh, this hits home for me in a bad way.

Forgiving is so hard but if I don’t then I’m the one with the life sentence. I’m the one carrying around all the pain and anger. The perpetrator has already taken something so precious, so integral from me, how can I let him ruin the rest of my life?

I don’t want him to have any space in my head. The only way to do that is to forgive and forget.

That does not mean he gets a free pass.
That does not mean he gets to continue his life as before.
That does not mean I have to have him in my life in any way, shape, or form.

But it does mean that I get my life back.

Maybe it’s not even forgiving him, but letting all of the anger, pain, vengeance, resentment and need for revenge go. Just giving it all up to the universe.
If I don’t let it all go, then I become an angry, vengeful, hateful person. That is not who I want to be.
I will not allow him to do that to me.

Aniki's picture

Notsobad, that is IT!! I am not about to saddled with a life sentence of pain/anger. I will not allow people to do that to me. I deserve better and they no longer deserve to have me in their lives as they obviously have NO idea how to truly value someone.

ctnmom's picture

Forgiveness is the cornerstone of my religion. And it really is true- forgiveness is for the forgiver, not the person that you're forgiving. Nowhere in the bible does it say you have to be a doormat for someone else's rudeness. I remove toxic people from my life.

Aniki's picture

Ctnmom, that's what I believe - that forgiveness is for the forgiver. Too many times, people do crappy things and they are NOT sorry. Those people are definitely toxic and have no place in my life.

Kes's picture

Although I am not big on forgiveness, I do believe that a sincere apology, generously made, can often be very healing in a relationship rift. What is NOT helpful I find, particularly amongst millenials - is this kind of insincere apology eg "I'm sorry if you felt xyz" or "I'm sorry if I offended you". That is NOT an apology. I do find that young people today seem to be unable to apologise - they always seem to feel that they are in the right. Or maybe that's just my SDs. :O

Aniki's picture

Kes, it's not just millenials (or your SDs!). Too many people are insincere when they "apologize". Seems that it's more "I'm sorry YOU got your knickers in a twist but not for what I did" kind of thing. When I apologize, I MEAN it.