Photo caption:

Think to yourself.

Do you have a friend, family member, someone who was once close to you, someone who you even loved, that isn’t a part of your life anymore because of some issue? I’d venture to guess that we all do. I do. My family does.

Grudges are held fast these days. Whether a cheating spouse, an abusive parent or relative, or a disagreement over a political issue, people are cutting other people off from their lives. Some reasons are good, some aren’t.

Listen, cutting toxic folks out of your life is a primary motivation for a healthier life. Of course it is. But cutting someone from your life, especially a close relative, is a difficult decision that needs to be thought about.

The biggest issues I see are people just wholesale cutting people out of their lives with no explanation. Some folks don’t need one, understood, but close family members, really close family, needs to be explored more.

I have several family members, many very close, that I don’t talk to any more because of real, calculated, and communicated anger towards real issues that I was having with them. Whether it be verbal abuse, physical abuse, or trauma directly from a trusted loved one, sometimes, you can’t ever rebuild those bonds that have been broken. But one family member that I love very much has taught me something new about the concept of forgiveness.

The Two Paths

My grandmother, on my mother’s side, who passed away nearly 20 years ago, was a pretty rotten person. She worked as a waitress, slept around, and was either involved or allowed abuse of her two kids (my uncle and mom) as well as untold abuse of their cousins. Sexual, physical, emotional and verbal abuses were common place in my mom’s childhood home. My grandmother basically abandoned them for her job and her men, of which there were many, and my mother had to basically stay at home and raise her older brother.

Spending nights alone with the door lock busted, not knowing who was going to come in, sexually abused by trusted family members, booze, drugs, fights, yelling. All of this went on during the entirety of her childhood. Never able to fully relax, not knowing what was coming through that front door, my mother pressed on and raised her brother as best she could, until her teenage years, and at 16 she started working to get the hell out of this nightmare.

And she did. She became a stronger woman because of what she went through, but lost her innocence and her childhood because of the severity of the abuse she and my uncle suffered.

It affected both of them for their lives. Never again could they live a normal life, but it was the responses that really told the story of how both of these kids took a very real, serious, traumatic situation, and one turned it into a lifelong grudge that he still carries, and the other (my mother) decided to let it go and through all the pain, still showed love to a woman who, at times, didn’t care if my mother lived or died.

The two paths, and there are only two, are the paths that people take in response to traumatic (and maybe not so traumatic) of holding a grudge, whether deserved or not, and letting it go, forgiving and pushing forward to unload the heavy weight they are carrying.

The first path, which many people take, is the path to the grudge. They cannot and will not forgive any person for what they believe, what they do, or what travesties they committed.

And who can blame them? Some of the worst things that happened to my mom happened millions of times to millions of other people. I can’t blame them at all for feeling this way. These grudges can’t be attacked because they all have legitimate reasons for not wanting to be around a person, especially if traumatic abuse occurred.

But, as we are seeing more and more, the grudges that people are holding today are a bit less severe. Politics, sports, a disagreement on food can totally destroy a friendship, and people are letting it happen without a second thought.

My family has some that are liberals, some that are conservatives, but the minute we start to discuss these issues, the rift shows up very quickly. People can’t respectfully disagree anymore, and it shows up in grudges. Even people who seem to support a political party or anything about them tend to automatically assume every bad thing about the person without meeting them. The bubble thickens…

Betrayal, disagreements, and hurt feelings permeate our society and we cut people off for the dumbest things. But the worst part, when we cut people off, we either make no explanation nor do we let that person go completely, instead, we hold feelings of anger, hatred, and disappointment like a bag of old cheese, secretly hoping it’s still good, but knowing damn well the smell tells us it’s not.

But “out of sight” doesn’t mean “out of mind”. It chaffs at us. It eats away. I know because it’s happened to many people that I love who decided, for one reason or another, to show the person they don’t like that they REALLY don’t like them, removing them from their lives forever, only to regret not saying what they really thought and overcoming the barriers that led to the grudge in the first place.

Letting Go

My mother, after all the years of terrible treatment, decided one day, to let go of her hate for her mother. And it took every fiber of her being. Not because of any other reason except she knew that holding onto the hate was bad to her mental health. She realized that her grudge didn’t help anything except amplify her hate.

This is the bottom line of what a grudge is all about. Do you feel like you can carry this weight until the end? Some say most certainly. Some don’t. But more often than not, the ones carrying the weight don’t see the opportunity cost of not carrying it, what they are missing by letting the hate go, or what the person whom their vitriol is pointed at would do if they reached out to mend the fences.

I can say with 100% certainty that my mother is a better person today for reaching out to her mother and mending fences. Her time with her mother, while awkward at times, was better than rendering her dead in her psyche.

She states it proudly. She didn’t have to bring her mother back into her life. She could’ve left her for dead. But she didn’t, and her mother was grateful for that. A relationship was salvaged by someone being the bigger person.

But it doesn’t always work out that way, nor should it. Some trauma is too deep, too evil, too painful to push through. But you may be surprised to see people who are affected by such trauma, despite all the reasons they shouldn’t, reach out to those who so terribly affected them.

Petty grudges, by definition, need to be nipped in the bud. But more often than not, petty grudges are signs of a deeper divide between two people, with the grudge being a suitable placeholder for skimming over these deeper issues. Either way, it’s not communicated and the cut off just happens, without explanation.

This post isn’t going to light the world on fire with tips on what you need to do to let go of a grudge. They are there for a reason, and only the people who hold them know why. But communication, letting go, and up front honesty will do more for that weight around your neck than you realize.

“Clutch it like a cornerstone, otherwise, it all comes down” is the main lyric from my favorite song by Tool, “The Grudge”. It becomes all you know of a person, and if you don’t have it, what do you have?

Sometimes the grudge will go away, and sometimes it won’t. But, as in life, it’s always better to face the pain of your past head on and address it than hold onto a hateful spirit that continues to haunt your soul, and that manifests itself into regret, something we all want to avoid.

Wear the grudge like a crown of negativity
Calculate what we will or will not tolerate
Desperate to control all and everything
Unable to forgive your scarlet lettermen

Clutch it like a cornerstone, otherwise, it all comes down
Justify denials and grip ’em to the lonesome end
Clutch it like a cornerstone, otherwise, it all comes down
Terrified of being wrong, ultimatum prison cell

Saturn ascends
Choose one or ten
Hang on or be humbled again

Clutch it like a cornerstone, otherwise, it all comes down
Justify denials and grip ’em to the lonesome end
Saturn ascends, comes round again
Saturn ascends, the one, the ten
Ignorant to the damage done

Wear the grudge like a crown of negativity
Calculate what we will or will not tolerate
Desperate to control all and everything
Unable to forgive these scarlet lettermen

Wear the grudge like a crown
Desperate to control
Unable to forgive and sinking deeper

And sinking deeper
And we’re sinking deeper

Saturn comes back around to show you everything
Let’s you choose what you will not see and then
Drags you down like a stone or lifts you up again
Spits you out like a child, light and innocent

Saturn comes back around.
Lifts you up like a child or
Drags you down like a stone
To consume you till you choose to let this go
Choose to let this go

Give away the stone
Let the oceans take and trans mutate this cold and fated anchor
Give away the stone
Let the waters kiss and trans mutate these leaden grudges into gold

Let go

One thought on “Grudges

  1. Thanks man. I’ve been dealing and thinking about this topic for a while now. For the past 2 years so much alphas happened to me socially that pulled the wool from my eyes. I used to hear stories of from older people(I’m in my late twenties) about how disillusioned and disappointed they are/ have been in people and I wondered why. It wasn’t until these past 2 years that I thought wow! I can understand and relate now. Thanks for intellectuallizing a very emotional and spiritual concept. Salud to you and your work.

Leave a Reply