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“Grudges seldom hurt anyone except the one bearing them.” Sherrilyn Kenyon

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 them directly or indirectly to others. Or, we may retaliate in different ways. Carrying around grudges may be a way of coping, but we usually recognize at some point in time that they are heavy weights on us and carrying them 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 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 preserving the ongoing relationship, if that is of importance to us.

Considering these ideas, here are some Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) from this week’s blog that may be helpful in exploring grudges if you are carrying some around about another person and the interpersonal conflict you have had.

  • Under what circumstances do you tend to carry grudges as far as you can tell?
  • What is it about those particular situations and/or people that result in doing so, do you think?
  • 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, to what are (or were) you specifically reacting that the other person did or said or didn’t do or say?
  • What did you perceive the person was challenging or undermining about you, if that was (part of) the reason for your reaction?
  • In what ways do you demonstrate you are carrying a grudge?
  • How do you think that is experienced by the other person (your answer to the above question)?
  • How does it feel for you to carry a grudge?
  • What do you gain from carrying grudges? What do you lose by doing so?
  • What do you think it would take to let go of a grudge if you wanted to?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?


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