How to Nurse a Grudge

Letting it go is not an option

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Rules for Nursing a Grudge

  1. Stop talking to the person who offended you. Do not give them an opportunity to explain themselves or try to make amends. If they say they don’t know what they did to offend you, don’t tell them. Let them figure it out. They really know what they did — they just want you to tell them. Don’t give them the satisfaction.
  2. Never, ever, ever try to see the situation from the other person’s point of view. Their fears, trauma, and resulting unskillful behaviors are no excuse. There is absolutely NO reason, ever, for someone to behave that way, no matter what they have gone through in the past. If they did something to offend you, they are unworthy of any compassion. End of story.
  3. Make sure you tell everyone you know about the thing this person has done to you. Repeat the story over and over until it becomes so embedded in your psyche that it becomes a part of your DNA. You want to never forget the details of this grievous wrong-doing, otherwise, you will get to a point where you won’t remember why you are so mad at them. Keep telling the story so you won’t forget.
  4. Ruin your life and blame it on them. Act out in ways that hurt yourself just to get back at them. Use their egregious act as an excuse for why you can’t move on with your life. Reassure yourself that it is not your fault; if they had not done such a horrible thing, you could be happy, but now you can never be happy and it’s their fault.
  5. Create allies to assist in nursing your grudge. Remember, it takes a village to raise a child, and the same can be said for a grudge. The more people you get on your side, the stronger your grudge grows and the more empowered you feel. Your grudge now has the backing of a tribe of people. It can’t help but grow strong with so many people tending to it.
  6. Always remember you are an innocent victim. That is why you must never consider the offending person’s story. Never take responsibility for any part of the situation that led to the offense. You are completely innocent. It is pretty heady being a victim and you will find that it gives you the same high as a drug. You will never want to give up your victimhood.

Tips for Letting it Go

  1. Recognize that every human being is carrying around traumas, hurts, shame and fear. We all try to protect ourselves from feeling any of these unpleasant emotions, and this means we often act in ways that hurt others. Whether we are willing to let go of our grudge starts with acknowledging that every one of us is doing the best we can do.
  2. Be willing to clearly state what the other person has done to harm you. It’s easier to just write off the person who offended us. Righteous indignation feels like power. Confrontation feels vulnerable and scary. Screwing up the courage to tell someone what they have done to hurt us can open the door for a conversation that can lead to forgiveness and reconciliation.
  3. Process your feelings in a journal, or with a trusted counselor or confidante. This is different than blabbing about the event to everyone at the office or on your Facebook page. Instead of spending hours and hours rehashing the offense, focus on how you feel, and your options for healing and moving forward. The fewer people you tell about it, the sooner you can move beyond the offense.
  4. If the person apologizes, hear them out. If the apology is sincere and there is a true desire to make amends, be open to what your offender has to say. It may take time for you to feel ready to forgive, but at least open the door and allow the process to start. Simply state, “I am not ready to forgive you yet, but I appreciate your apology.”
  5. You are not a victim unless you choose to be. While you did not deserve to be hurt, you can decide how you go forward. You have the power to pick up the pieces and move on if it is impossible to reconcile. You can choose to let someone else’s actions chart the course for your life, or you can get out your maps and chart your course yourself. Either way, you only a victim if you choose to be.
  6. Forgive if you can, but concede our shared humanity if you can’t. Even if you are never able to fully forgive, when you acknowledge that a flawed human hurt another flawed human, it will be easier to let the grudge go. This does not mean we have to condone their action. We just need to admit that we are all trying to figure it out and sometimes we screw up. This includes us. Remember that next time you may be on the other side of the equation.

Human learning to be human. Writing in hopes of getting there. You can follow me at

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