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The Opposite of Thanks

  Grudges may be one of the things that gets served with the cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving.

Why do we hold grudges?  A grudge is an emotional-spiritual reaction to a situation where you just don't feel as if your voice is heard, your opinion matters, your basic beliefs are respected.  As human beings we become angry when we feel our basic believes have been belittled, when our convictions are ignored, or our sense of self worth has been damaged and if those have happened to us with someone with whom we feel we can't get satisfaction grudges occur.

Grudges are complex reactions.  

One grudge type is the inactive grudge.  Inactive grudges have only one party actively working on the grudge.  Think about who are usually involved with grudges: those in perceived or real authority and those who are perceived to have or really do not have influence.  One of the aspects of all grudge types is how each party has taught those around them how they are to be handled.  Those in authority are often seen as being large and in charge, while the other party in the inactive grudge is seen as small and weak.  From these perceptions we have the formula for all grudges: weaker being over powered by stronger.  In an inactive grudge the stronger personality rarely "feels" in the grudge, if  they do they see it as the other person being sensitive, moody, touchy.  They may not even know, or remember, or understand why they are involved with the grudge.  And if the other person is a weaker character then they believe they no right, no voice, no support in defending their position.  The grudge becomes the only way for them to have a voice, to receive any justice, to get satisfaction.  The aspect of these grudges are often based on control, who has it and how the weaker party can get it for themselves.  The wounded person in an inactive grudge can never get the satisfaction they believe they deserve if they can not create for themselves the belief that they are worthy of being heard, being honored, being taken seriously.


Grudge are very primitive ways of communicating. 

Photo Caption   The show Monster-in-law holds the clue to another example of grudges: The grudge match.  The show's premise: Each episode follows the family as one spouse is trapped between the person they married and a member of their immediate family, desperate to put an end to the battles that are tearing them apart.  In grudges matches we can often feel trapped, either by our own silence when dealing with those we feel have hurt us or trapped by the harm that is being done when grudges have both parties actively working for dominance.  If we have not set good boundaries for ourselves, our relationships, or for our emotional-spiritual reactions we will be throw into a grudge match with no real tools to defend ourselves.  Grudge matches are often over who has dominance over the perceived weaker party. They are always between two stronger parties over one weaker party, both believe they have the right answer for what the weaker party should be doing, thinking and acting.   Again how we teach others to treat us is in action here, and with all relationships.  The weaker party does not believe they have a right to voice any opinion, thought or conviction, that to keep peace they must comply even when they do not wish to.

As in all relationships we must create the one we want.

Often what happens with grudges is we can not keep them to ourselves.  In an inactive grudge the wounded person who is seeking justice will do anything to bring the other party down: gossip, slander, generally treat them badly.  With grudge matches we want to hide, to comply to keep our mouth shut so it doesn't get worse.  But what really happens to us, the wounded party, we have now open the door to envy, malice, jealousy, bitterness. These emotional reactions come not from what we hope for justice, balance but from the fatigue that comes from trying to hold on to the negative that is always associated with grudges. Grudges are like ooze, they can't help but spread into all the relationships we have both causal, the teler at the bank we snap at because we just want to yell at the person who wounded us, to the more formal, our children we just are there we feel the need to have an outburst.  so, how will we create a new and better relationship?
I don't agree with the PollyAnnas,  who say the only way to get rid of grudges is to just forgive them, then to forget it happened.  That does not address the underlying cause of the grudge: damage relationships.  No matter whether the grudge happened years ago and the parties are dead and gone, or it happened three days ago, there must be a way for the parties to sit down and listen to each others needs and wants.  For inactive grudges the more powerful person may not even know how the weaker person feels and by creating that knowledge it can begin to create a better understanding between the two.  For grudge matches there must be a repairing of the boundaries and creating understand of the needs of the weaker person.  In all grudges the weaker one must beginning to have a say in their own life, have the strength to stand up for themselves and know that they have dignity and should have dignity because they are a child of God.



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