It’s emotionally exhausting to focus on and carry a grudge.
Grudges are like cancer. They are hard to battle because they grow internally and you don’t even realize it. We don’t take CT scans or blood tests to determine grudge levels. They just eat away at your subsurface, depleting your joy.
The tragedy of it all, is the grudge isn’t hurting the perpetrator, it’s hurting you. You might as well paste a sign on your forehead: “I carry a grudge”. Rather than understanding your side of the story, and why you carry the grudge, all that others see is “this person really holds a grudge. They aren’t a lot of fun to be around.” Grudges are a joy-stealer.
We are hypersensitive to the divorce process and we may jump to conclusions that may not necessarily be true. My neighbor seems to be awfully supportive of my ex, that must mean she takes his side. Or, my sister won’t testify in court for me, that must mean she doesn’t support my decision. The granddaddy of all grudges goes to your ex. The evil troll. He ruined my life.
I carried the mother of grudges after my divorce.
My ex best friend Kathy. Barbie’s rotten twin. Clearly, I am still a work in progress with overcoming grudges.
I actually struggled with the grudge against Kathy much more than with a grudge against my ex. I knew that my children were much more important than any valid grudge I would carry against my husband, so I simply decided to not have a grudge. It would have come at too great of a price to my children. But with the ex-best friend who was in cahoots with my ex during the divorce process, a grudge was a great fit. The battle was on.
Eventually, I realized that I was letting her win by allowing the grudge to dominate my emotions. I would get my undies in a bundle just thinking about her betrayal. The sheer determination to not let her “win” by causing me grief and frustration was what caused me to recognize grudges for what they are: cancer. So, I went to work on how to overcome grudges.
I read a tip to write down my grudges in a journal.
Draw two lines down the middle and title the top of the columns: “Name, Grudge, and Intensity”. Then write down everyone you have a grudge with, the reason for the grudge, and how intense the grudge was on a scale of 1-10. My list would have had at least 30-line items. I was offended by practically everyone.
I felt like I was in 5th grade again, making of list of the people who hurt my feelings because they called me tiny Tina or made fun of my non-name brand jeans. But, grudges are real. We have them as adults too.
Next step: walk away.
It’s emotionally exhausting to focus on your grudges like this. You probably feel your blood pressure rising! It’s like a detox diet, where you want to flush the toilet without looking.
This grudge list is not something to hang up as a daily reminder. That would be toxic. Its purpose is to identify your feelings so you can move past them. Just like cancer, you need to identify which kind it is, and then begin to treat it.
Maybe if the person is super important to you it would be worth talking it through with them. Set up a time to meet with them where they know you want to talk about your feelings with them. That way you are not catching them off guard but giving them an opportunity to explain themselves and their feelings on the subject. It may be a good excuse you didn’t know about. You should try to hold on to good relationships while going through the turmoil of divorce.
I treated my various cancers/grudges with different techniques.
The rotten Barbie twin: became the ex-best friend. The hurt was too deep to fix the relationship, so I abruptly ended the friendship. The pastor: the relationship organically ended when I moved out of town. My ex-husband: I decided to forgive and continue an amicable relationship with, simply because I didn’t have the luxury of cutting him off (wouldn’t be possible to co-parent). Most all other 30+ grudges fell into the category of, overlook and move on. They never asked for forgiveness, but I decided to overlook the transgression that caused the grudge because they probably weren’t aware they offended me, nor had they ever experienced divorce so they don’t know how to handle it.
If left untreated grudges will infect your life and steal your joy. Try this simple step to identify the grudges, then work on detoxing your body of those feelings.
You can be grudge-free and live a joyful life after divorce because YOU are an OVERCOMER!