Holding a Grudge

I can't remember exactly when I learned about grudges, but I do remember someone saying that The Hatfields and the McCoys were an example of why holding a grudge was bad. For the most part my childhood was free of grudges. There were the usual disagreements and I had an arch nemesis or two, but there really wasn't anything that could easily be defined as a grudge.

That changed for me around my 20th birthday or so. I fell in love with a girl. She dumped me. It was surprisingly painful. I won't bore you with the sad tale of who, what and why. All that you need to know is that a good friend spent time listening to me kvetch about it and offered his counsel.

What I didn't know was that the price of his counsel was shtupping my ex. He never bothered to tell me. The only reason I found out was that she called me one day and screamed at me that he had dumped her because he was afraid of me.

He later came to my place and confessed. But in the process he told me that I was lucky that she and I had broken up because she was a bitch. I told him that if he didn't leave immediately I couldn't guarantee his safety. He tried to apologize, but I wouldn't hear of it.

Looking back it all sounds relatively trivial and in many ways it was. So you're probably asking why twenty years later I am bringing this up. The answer is that he recently contacted me and said that he is extending an olive branch and that he hopes that we can rekindle our friendship.

Part of me says that there is no reason not to. His kids are around the same age as mine and there are a number of mutual friends we share.

But I am irked about this. It may sound ridiculous, but telling me that he is extending an olive branch just pisses me off. I don't want or need an apology. I don't feel any need to rehash the past with him, what is done is done.

So I suppose I ought consider why I am angry and whether he is worth the anger. I always tell my children that you can never have too many friends, but they're kids and they have much more free time than I do. I barely have enough time to keep up with the friends I have now, let alone adding more.

What to do, what to do, what to do..........


Anonymous said...

hmmm. that's a toughy.

i say: look at it this way.

if you were to be on your death bed today, would you be at peace passing away knowing that you had not forgiven him?

if yes, don't grab the olive branch.

if no, let him meet with you to talk but not before you come completely clean with him.

you need and deserve the opportunity to get all of this off your chest and to tell him exactly how his actions have made you feel.

also if you do go the route of trying to forgive him, do you think that you can completely forgive him and trust him moving forward?

all questions to ask yourself.

i don't believe in forgiving for the sake of forgiving or to make the other person feel better about themselves.

that's not what this is all about. i believe that it's about you.

i could be totally wrong but nonetheless, that's my take on it.

good luck with this.better u than i.

Anonymous said...

Yep, a toughie indeed. I'm not sure what I'd do, I have to say.

Do you spend any time at all regretting what happened? Do you feel a hole where he should be? Do you actually *want* to heal the rift?

Looking at it slightly differently, if he had come to you in the run up to Yom Kippur, would you have forgiven him, for the right reasons?

I think we all have people in our lives that we have fallen out with. I know I have. i found out through a simple slip of the tongue in a phone conversation - my ex thought I was the secret girlfriend, our names were similar, our voices clearly similar too. I agreed to give things a second chance but it didn't work. And friends didn't work either. We're not in each other's lives any more and it doesn't matter that we're not.

How much do you want it?

Good luck with whatever you decide.


Jacob Da Jew said...

One of my buddies invited me over for a weekend at his seaside place (3 hour train ride) and proceeded to shtup his girlfriend the entire time.

When asked for an explanation after I calmed down ( took a few months), turns out he was popping tablets of extasy. Gee, thats supposed to make me feel better, you invite me over for a weekend, ignore me the whole time while popping drugs and banging your whore????

He tried to ask for mechila but its hard to forget these kind of things. So I hear ya, Jack, I do.

Anonymous said...

I feel that it isn't a question of holding a grudge as much as it is a question of character. This person was not a nice person. Is this who you want to associate with? Is this guy someone you want your kids to say "well he did that, so it's ok for me to behave that way". It reminds me of a button I read on someone once: We cheat the other guy and pass the savings on to you!

Kayls said...

there comes a point in your life when you realise who matters,
who never did,
who won't anymore,
and who always will.
So don't worry about the people in your past...there's a reason they didn't make it into your future.

-quote i once read...not sure who it's by...

Jack Steiner said...

you need and deserve the opportunity to get all of this off your chest and to tell him exactly how his actions have made you feel.

He knows. I won't feel any better or any worse.


Twenty years and I can't remember the last time I really missed his friendship. Not nice, but that is the way that it is.


People can be a pain in the ass.


I don't know who he is now. I know who he was. He could be a decent guy. But my time is so limited it is not like I really have time for the friends I do have.


Sounds familiar.

rickismom said...

Grudges are not good for your mental health:
forgive (for your good)
and protect (be wary of the guy for your own good)

Jack Steiner said...

Grudges are not good for your mental health:

No they aren't. The thing is that I hadn't thought about this guy in forever, until he reached out to me.

So it is not like I am holding on to him. Just trying to figure out whether I have any need to respond.

FlutePrayer said...

Forgive: Yes
Trust: No
Renew Friendship: What friendship?

Jack Steiner said...


Forgive- maybe.

Anonymous said...

It's been 20 years. He behaved poorly. You have removed the negative influence of his presence in your life. You have moved on. You don't seem to have suffered from him not being in your life. There is an important difference between 1) separating yourself from those who behave poorly and 2) holding a grudge. If you don't want someone in your life because they are of poor character, that is not, in my opinion, holding a grudge. It is healthy to keep only the positive, trusted people in your life. Why rehash the past with this person? You have moved on. Don't look back. If they have regrets about their past behavior, or need to rationalize 20 years after the fact, that is their problem, not yours. Keep it all in your past, keep yourself in your current healthy present and future, and don't look back.

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