Why Do We Hold Grudges So Long?

I’m guessing by now everyone has heard that Mrs Clarence Thomas (Virginia Lamp) called Anita Hill and asked her for an apology for what she did to her husband. Go read it here on Good Question.

Some of you may be too young to really remember this but I remember it very clearly. It was comparable to the OJ Simpson trial in the aspect that it was on every channel all day long. This was before Satellite TV and before we ever thought of getting cable so it was watch this or nothing.

This story in itself can go in a lot of directions. Virginia Lamp is in some kind of Tea party thing and a lot of people think she just did this to bring attention to herself and her “group” but I’m not getting into politics. I don’t really care about that but I wanted to talk about grudges in general and that’s the direction I wanted to take this.

Why do we hold grudges so long?

This wife has been keeping this inside her for all these years and it clearly still bothers her. An expert said she’s probably thought about this every single day of her life and it’s been a very unhealthy way to live.  Now when you talk about “us,” our embarrassments aren’t on tv for the whole world to see but it still made me wonder how and why people hold a grudge.

I’ll admit that I can hold a grudge. Depending on who it is and what it’s about, I can hold one for a long time. If it’s with someone I’m really close to or really love, I try to get over it as soon as I can. As soon as whatever it was has gotten processed and dealt with. That can also go the other way. Sometimes the more we love someone the more we hold a grudge because sometimes we think people should be able to read our minds and know why we’re hurt or mad.

Is holding a grudge the same thing as just being stubborn?

What about you? Do you hold a grudge? For how long?

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15 Responses to Why Do We Hold Grudges So Long?

  1. mssc54 says:

    I could never figure out why she didn’t hold onto the pubic hair for DNA testing.

  2. Just a Mom says:

    I am the master of holding grudges! I learned from my mother who taught me well. I think it’s similar to being stubborn, but in my opinion being stubborn means holding your ground on something you believe in. Holding a grudge in my opinion is not forgiving someone for something. But I am also a master of being stubborn as well so maybe they are the same!
    I held a grudge with my Dad for oh, 20 years plus years. I even got the last word in when I wrote him a letter before he passed away.

  3. SKL says:

    Well, in the case of Clarence Thomas, I think it does matter. He is in a position where his credibility as both a man and a judge is extremely important. His accuser continues to capitalize on (make money off) the story that she told. She’s seen as a spokeswoman for the sexual harrassment issue. So in effect (if not in fact), she publicly re-accuses him continually. And again, his integrity as a Supreme Court justice continues to be so important. So I think there is a lot more than a “grudge” behind this situation.

    But as for grudges in general, I’m not big on holding them. On the other hand, don’t expect me to just “forget” something rotten that has been done to me. Hurt me once, shame on you. Hurt me twice, shame on me. I will make choices to protect myself, and that might include avoiding certain people. But that doesn’t mean I’m seething with anger all the time. Just trying not to get myself into the same mess again.

    • Laura says:

      I agree, in the case of Justice Thomas. And I found the whole brouhaha surrounding his wife’s phone call pretty funny. Discussions that I heard (on the radio) kept inditing the wife… “why would she call? Why is she looking for publicity now? She’s trying to push an agenda!!” Whoa, wait a minute! She made a private phone call. Miss Hill is the one who released it to the public. If she didn’t hold a grudge herself, she could easily have clicked “delete” and dismissed the entire mess. But no, she’s the one who went public with it, stirring the pot once again.

      • Laura says:

        I also think that Mrs. Thomas had to sit on her opinions and feelings for so long, as the “Good Political Wife” – here’s this woman (Hill) running around, making money off of her husband’s career. She (Hill) pretty much had free rein to say what she wanted, with no repercussions, and with the Press hanging on her every word. She is the ultimate victim. Her “attacker” is gagged because he’s trying to get a job, and then once he got it, he’s bound by the decorum of the Court. And his wife can’t say anything. So Hill can (and did) totally capitalize on the situation.

        So now, 20 years later, Mrs. Thomas is finding a public forum for herself, so she figures, “ok, I’m all in… I’m going to get this all out in the open” and calls Hill. Did she intend for it to be released to the public? I don’t know, but I think she was prepared for it, since Hill has painted herself as quite the Media/Publicity Whore. (ooh… there’s that word!!)

        I don’t blame her for asking for the apology, since I think the whole case was trumped up – a situation where a woman was NOT harassed, but simply should have looked at the guy and said “That’s stupid and disgusting. Shut up,” when he said whatever he did about the hair. I mean, come on, that’s 12-year-old humor, and if a grown woman can’t shut it down without feeling personally violated, there’s a problem – with the woman.

        I do think that Thomas shouldn’t have done it on a recorder, but face-to-face, and in private.

        • SKL says:

          I found it beyond ridiculous that they were trying to cast this phone call as some kind of crime. They launched some kind of official investigation. Give me a freakin’ break. I am so sick of the libs trying to coerce their opponents into silence in this so-called “free country.”

    • Joy says:

      It is really hard when someone really hurts you. I no longer speak to a few people and I never EVER thought that would happen. It’s just too painful to have them in my life. There comes a time when you have to protect yourself.

  4. Laura says:

    Walking the line between forgetting something that happened and forgiving the perpetrator is a difficult thing. I think that holding a grudge is toxic. It shadows everything in your life, colors the way you look at everything. You have internal fights with yourself – “I can’t forgive because so-and-so did this horrible thing to me!! How can I ever forget that?” But the trick is to not forget. You never forget the way you felt when it happened. You never forget the hurt, the anger, any of the emotions surrounding the event. But you can’t wallow in them, either, because when you do that, it allows the other person to control you. You may have already decided to never, ever see that person again, but until you let go of that anger, that person will still be in control, because you are allowing that anger to consume you and color the way you interact with the world around you (Man, I’m sounding like Yoda… “let go of your anger, Luke…”).

  5. Morocco says:

    I often wonderthis myself. I used to be a champion grudge-holder in high school, but now that I am older, not so much. I’ve learned that it is much easier to hold a grudge than it is to let it go and I’d rather be the latter category.

    I’m not always successful because I am nursing a few at the moment. I suppose these people have hurt me so much, letting it go feels like I am saying their behavior toward me is okay. What can I say–I’m a work in progress 🙂

  6. Nikki says:

    I tend to let things go. Maybe too much. I am certainly better at speaking my mind. If I need to get something off my chest, I’m more (the older I get) apt to deal with it right away. I used to hold on to things, dwell on them. They fester into something so much more, then I’d blow up and that is never good.

    I think people do it for kinds of reasons. Control, self gratification, or they simply have genuinely hurt feelings. I don’t know if holding a grudge is the same thing as “forgive but don’t forget.” There are many things that have happened in my childhood and adult life that I tend to hold on to. Not grudges so much as more of the feeling of “forgive but don’t forget.” Those seem to stay with me longer than the grudges once held.

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