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Caring Grudges

One of the things that happens after interpersonal conflict is that some of us bear a grudge. We continue to hold onto negative feelings about the other person and may do so for a protracted period of time. We may show this by ignoring the person, or making derogatory remarks about him or her, directly or indirectly. Or, we may retaliate in different ways. Bearing grudges may be a way of coping, but we usually recognize it also contributes to ongoing dissension.

Some of us have a proclivity for bearing grudges as a way of handling conflict and it may reflect a general lack of resilience, inability to let go, a type of defense mechanism, a need for control, an inability to regulate our emotions and other reasons. In any case, carrying around heavy feelings about the other person not only has a huge impact on us. It is a lousy feeling to experience lingering negative feelings and thoughts, when we are the recipient of someone else’s grudge against us. Considering this means a lot to the ongoing relationship, if that is of importance to us.

It occurred to me as I was writing this week’s blog, that maybe, the term ought to be caring grudges. Why? Because at times, underneath our grudges are caring feelings. That is, whatever happened between us and the other person, it has had an impact on something we care about that is important to us. Considering these ideas, here are some conflict mastery questions to help increase insights about grudges:

  • Under what circumstances do you tend to carry grudges?
  • What do you think it is about those particular situations and/or people that results in doing so?
  • What are the sorts of feelings you have about the other person when you are bearing a grudge?
  • Considering one of the situations about which you are carrying (or did carry) a grudge, what are (or were) you caring about at that time?
  • In what ways do you demonstrate you are carrying a grudge?
  • How do you think that is experienced by the other person?
  • How does it feel for you to carry a grudge?
  • What do you gain from carrying grudges? What risks are there?
  • What do you think it would take to let go of a grudge if you wanted to?

Any other comments about this topic and/or what other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) occur to you here about carrying or caring grudges?

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