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I write this post grudgingly

So I have a major character flaw.

I hold grudges. It would be disingenuous of me to say I don't mean to or I can't help it. Because I know I can help it.

Either you're genuinely, deeply wounded and the emotional scars cause you to not let go, or you're like me, and you find holding a grudge is sometimes deliciously evil. It's the emotional equivalent to letting the air out of your enemies tires, or posting pictures of his wife or her husband in a compromising picture online. There really is no marinade like your own stew of anger and righteous indignation.

Anyway, what reminded me of my big flaw was this Today Show survey I stumbled across. If you have a minute follow the link and take it yourself. What's interesting is the figurative asterisk next to my grudge-holding admission is that I don't usually hold grudges against Mrs. B. I'll hold 'em against anyone but her. There are times she annoys the hell out of me (and I her, I'm sure). And there are times where if I wanted, I could say "told you so!" But whatever anger I may develop toward her usually fades pretty quickly. And my answers in the survey reflected as much.

Anyone else though is fair game.

So I have a situation that touches on this coming up soon. I once had a dude who was a best friend. And "best" is not a word I use often with friends, 'cause it seems so middle school to categorize my friends like that. This guy was an exception. We were thick as thieves.

To make a long story short, after an eight year friendship we had a falling out last year. Granted, you're only getting one side to this story, but with all the solemnity I can muster, I swear on a stack of (your Holy book here) that I am telling the whole truth and nothing but. This guy, over a short period of time, badmouthed my wife, bungled a professional enterprise we'd partnered on with a third friend and then blamed us, told us he was only our friend because it was potentially beneficial to his career, gave one other buddy grief after the other buddy came out and revealed to us that he is gay, and in a drunken stupor threatened extreme physical harm to me. This guy also had a habit of saying unnecessarily mean things to people without thinking first and then hiding behind the mantle of "keeping it real," thus immunizing himself from being responsible for his words, and when I would experience anything good at work this guy would downplay it as a result of me being a pawn of "the man."

So after seven years of pretending this guy was just being rambunctious, I finally had enough and cut him off last fall.

Switching channels for a moment, I have another friend, a young lady whom I've considered a little sister of sorts for about 10 years. She's good as gold - good-hearted, good-spirited, etc. We've always had a sibling-like relationship. And I've always felt like I had to look after her, even though she's grown and can take care of herself.

So, the two of them are now dating. Yeah, it bugs the crap out of me - not 'cause they don't have the right to do what grown folks do, but because I'm holding a grudge against him, and I can't reconcile his behavior and sour spirit with her behavior and her good spirit.

I'm gonna see them both next month at a convention. I know I should be the bigger man and wish them her them well. But I can't. I wish her well, 'cause she's like my little sis.

But him? I don't know how to get over this flaw. I'll tell you what my problem is: I believe in Karma. And my "faith" is wavering 'cause it never seems like this guy suffers any consequences or sees the downside of his actions. You can't say "Oh, he's lost friends," 'cause he doesn't care. To him, that just means he never needed you as a friend in the first place.

Anyway, I'm done rambling. Take the grudge survey, and tell me how you get over grudges...if you do.

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Say It

There is very little grudginess I hold onto. But, when I do hold a grudge, it takes an act of god to make it go away. Fortunately, its rare.

Weetabix

Your ex-pal must have some REALLY big Karma coming.

insomniac

i don't hold grudges, except against my ex, who is a complete numbnut, and just plain bad. i might be irritated by someone for a time but it rarely lasts, and like you i certainly can't hold any grudge sort of feeling against ms insomniac. if you could tell your 'sis' some of the stuff you've mentioned here, either outright or in a more casual way, then maybe your ex-buddy will get his karma, at least as this girl is concerned

The Sarcasticynic

James, I remember a previous post about your buddy saying nasty things about others and then defending his actions with, "Hey, man, I'm just keeping it real."

If I see a man who's fat - I mean really REALLY fat - and I say to him, "Whatsamatta, lard-ass? Can't pass a Dairy Queen?" Am I keeping it real? True, the reality is that the man is obese, but to refrain from making a snide comment doesn't change that reality.

In spite that this guy was once your BFF, (or whatever the man-term would be,) the next time he makes an inappropriate remark about someone, and then lays that lame excuse on you, I'd smack him in the mouth.

Then when he asks, Why did you do that? I'd say, "I didn't want the reality of the stupidity of your actions to get away."

The CEO

I can deal with most things involving me. Say one bad thing about my wife and it's game over. There's no reason for anyone to come to me to discuss my wife unless they want to plan a surprise party for her. If you have a problem with her, you should be confronting her, not me, because I'm going to rip your face off, regardless of your idea of reality. I have my idea of reality too.

I can deal with most things that deal with me. What erodes is trust. When I don't trust you, I will be cordial, but I won't want to be with you.

As for your little sister, let her ask you. You should let her tell you how she is doing with him, and let that guide you. I would tell her how happy you are when you see her happy, and make sure that you set up a lunch date to talk about everything, like the good old days. There's plenty of time to assassinate him after he shoots himself in the foot with her. And you know he will. Let her take her best shot, he won't be able to carry it off.

Sharon

Holding grudges? Life's too short to bind & cripple myself with such things. So I make efforts to forgive, & sometimes they're really big efforts.

BTW - that question "If you found out your partner was cheating, what would you do?"

What kind of relationship do people have these days? Me cheat on him, him cheat on me? NO. WAY!

claudia

that guy sounds like bad news, and I hope he doesn't interfere with your friendship with her.

Karmyn R

I think that sometimes holding a grudge against someone is a good self-defense mechanism. Especially when it comes to bad-news people.

class-factotum

"And there are times where if I wanted, I could say 'told you so!'"

Except you can't. That's what's so awful about it. The times you could really say it are the worst times to say it.

Are you going to warn your friend about this guy? She might figure it out soon enough, but sometimes bad people can really turn on the charm. I had a guy friend warn me off a mutual acquaintance once and I'm glad he did. He had information about the guy I never would have had (ie, he hung out with people who made porn movies).

class-factotum

"And there are times where if I wanted, I could say 'told you so!'"

Except you can't. That's what's so awful about it. The times you could really say it are the worst times to say it.

Are you going to warn your friend about this guy? She might figure it out soon enough, but sometimes bad people can really turn on the charm. I had a guy friend warn me off a mutual acquaintance once and I'm glad he did. He had information about the guy I never would have had (ie, he hung out with people who made p*orn movies).

somecrankyguy

Luke 6:27. "And I say to those of you who hear, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you."

Holding a grudge does more damage to the one holding it than to the grudge-ee.

Praying for them blesses you more than them.

Peace
SCG

Anonymous

I have held grudges. Used to have a top ten list of people I would like to see dead. But, the older I get, the more I try not to; grudges hurting the holder more than the holdee and all that. The grudge I held the longest was against my father. I finally gave that one up when he got sick. But, it was a long process and I'm not sure it was completely successful. And, it took years of therapy and concerted effort. Regular non-famliy grudges? Those are a breeze. It just takes time and acceptance. :) And, there's always the next life for karmic comeuppance.

mts

Sometimes, grudges are a good thing. Like fire and electricity, when handled wrong they can kill you, but handled right they can be an aid. There are times you have to say goodbye to someone for life. If people think they can crap on you with no consequences, then they'll amp it up. If they see you'll forgive them after a time, they're ok with that, too. If they are a friend, and want to keep your friendship, and see the example of what happens if they do you wrong, they won't. That's a good, useful grudge to keep.

The wrong grudge is wasting time hating someone who doesn't even know you hate them.

Warn your "little sis", but be extremely low key about it. Just shoot him slowly over time with miniscule negatives, to get her thinking bad about him too. Let her think she's learning what a schmuck he is on her own. Be that subtle. Because guess what? I'd think he'd be badmouthing you to her in the meantime anyway, and maybe he can lose her before you do.

The worst thing I hate about enemies is that I have to use their tactics to defeat them, where I'd rather be a positive person. I hate them for making hate necessary.

Pamela

I'll go take it (grudgingly) ... but I'm worried about the "sister" friend.

I hope she sees the light.

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