Is life too short to have bad people in your life or is it too short to bear a grudge?

(68 Posts)
HuiledOlive Tue 24-Dec-13 12:30:25

A couple of people have really hurt me over this year so we've kind of left them out of our lives.

However Xmas seems to be the time to forgive and forget.

What to do?

Bonsoir Tue 24-Dec-13 12:32:02

The older I get the more assertive I am about not letting people I dislike into my life.

nkf Tue 24-Dec-13 12:34:49

I think it's best to avoid people who make you miserable. But I think you forgive and forget for your own sake. Hope you have a good Christmas.

DawnOfTheDee Tue 24-Dec-13 12:35:08

I don't see it as either or. There are people I have cut out of my life (and I feel I'm better for it) but I wouldn't say I bear a grudge against them.

juneybean Tue 24-Dec-13 12:38:51

There are people I've pulled away from this year, they just left me feeling unhappy when I was around them. Life is definitely too short.

treaclesoda Tue 24-Dec-13 12:41:30

bit of both I'd say. I would feel no guilt about putting distance between myself and someone who has hurt me, but grudges tend to hurt the person bearing them much more than the recipient, so it's always worth trying to move on from bearing a grudge too.

meditrina Tue 24-Dec-13 12:41:55

I find that people change (including me) and there is plenty of scope for the extent and nature of contact to ebb and flow.

Depends what the reasons are & how bad the people are.
Life is too short to bare a grudge for shallow reasons, but on the other side of the coin some people are just too toxic to be around or have in our lifes.

headinhands Tue 24-Dec-13 12:42:26

The way I see it I am sure there are people I have hurt, I'm sure there are people we have all hurt. I would be very sad to be cut out of the life of those people. That said, there has to be a cut off point where the hurts are damaging and continual and in that case I would cut them out but only after warnings and trying to get them to understand how they are hurting me.

Sirzy Tue 24-Dec-13 12:43:34

it depends on the person and what they have done. Generally I don't hold grudges but there is one relative that I refuse to ever have anything to do with because of his actions in the past - he had second and third, and fourth chances and blew them so no more.

rpitchfo Tue 24-Dec-13 12:44:58

I know we are culturally condition into accepting forgiveness as the ultimate virtue. But I just think it's necessary at all. If. You're happy move on. There's no need to forgive anything.

Re chances, there is one chance, there is second, but after a third i would say you have had chances enough.

daisychain01 Tue 24-Dec-13 12:49:41

been there, done that this year. It is tempting to use Christmas as the reason to "forgive and forget" but the problem/s that make us distance ourselves in the first place may still be there on Jan 2nd, won't they? Then it would go back to being business as normal again.

Maybe you can forgive them in your own mind/heart, so you can "let it go", but not necessarily allow them back in your life. Or else, use the festive season as an opportunity for reconciliation, if it gives you the "open door" you need to melt the ice, have a heart-to-heart and sort the matter out (whatever it is).

along the same lines as what pumpkin posted really smile

Farrowandbawlbauls Tue 24-Dec-13 12:52:48

I did the forgive and forget before just for them to take the piss again.

Life is too short for bad people in your life. I'm not doing it again.

Trills Tue 24-Dec-13 12:52:49


Life is too short to hold a grudge if it is something that you could let go of and move on from.

Live is too short to have people in your life who make you unhappy, where there is no prospect of that improving.

nkf Tue 24-Dec-13 12:55:55

Forgive and forget doesn't mean going back to where it was before. You can forgive and never see that person again. It's not a welcome mat so unkind people can trample over you. It's not reconciliation and giving someone another chance. IMO of course.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Tue 24-Dec-13 12:56:55

It's the wrong question you are asking.

If you give these people space in your life, your grudge will grow. If you let them go, so will the grudge and you'll have lots of room for lovely, kind people instead.

Out of sight, out of mind.

HowAboutNo Tue 24-Dec-13 12:57:25

Cutting people out of your life doesn't have to mean holding a grudge. For me it means that they just were more trouble than they were worth, and that life will be better this way.

Meerka Tue 24-Dec-13 13:04:47

1) don't hold a grudge if you can both make it up between you. Specially if apology comes in there somewhere or if there's basic decency / goodwill.

2) If the same thing is going to happen again or if they're unpleasant, you can decide to not have contact and to move on. Just move on without bitterness. Let that go.

drbonnieblossman Tue 24-Dec-13 13:05:56

What Bonsoir said.

absolute forgiveness is a non-runner. when you have experienced upset with someone, that relationship never fully recovers, IMO.

LurcioLovesFrankie Tue 24-Dec-13 13:10:21

As said by others - both. Remove from life, then forget about! (Not sure about the forgiveness bit - the "not giving them headspace" bit seems more important).

I don't think cutting someone out is holding a grudge unless you hold into the anger too. You can cut people out of your life and forget about them.

OP, Christmas is a time for being with people you love. Forget people that hurt you.

Bumblequeen Tue 24-Dec-13 13:23:28

I forgive and walk away.

I agree that we all hurt someone at one stage in our lives. However, some cause deliberate hurt and will continue to do so if you keep them close.

I distanced myself from people who made me feel bad about myself. If I see them I will say hi but they will never be part of my life.

Lazysuzanne Tue 24-Dec-13 13:26:28

I don't bear grudges but if someone is doing me more harm than good I'll reduce contact and limit their influence until they are no longer able to have a detrimental effect.

Sometimes that means no contact at all, cutting contact for me is not a way of punishing someone it's a way of protecting myself over the long term

laughingeyes2013 Tue 24-Dec-13 13:34:12

I've learned that you can forgive but also continue to protect yourself from toxic people.

What you do is learn to view them/treat them as though they haven't ever committed the offence. But you act as cautiously as you would do if had only just met them and instinctively you knew they were likely to be that kind of toxic person that you'd choose to avoid having contact with.

Forgiveness is healthy. It doesn't mean laying yourself wide open for 'round two'!

HuiledOlive Tue 24-Dec-13 14:22:41

Wow! These are all great responses. Thank you

summerdip Tue 24-Dec-13 16:48:52

Am struggling a bit with this before Christmas and having to mingle quite considerably with negativity towards me over upcoming holiday period. What inspired via posts is not giving head space to these people which can be hard to do but really worth working at - to keep me at peace and calm. thanks

Chottie Tue 24-Dec-13 18:03:21

Let toxic people go.......

foreverondiet Tue 24-Dec-13 18:06:48

I think it depends why.

If someone displays ongoing consistent abusive behaviour then right to not include them in their lifes.

If its just a one off or a misunderstand then forgive and forget and move forward.

stubbs0412 Tue 24-Dec-13 18:20:18

This is has been really thought provoking hulliedolive.
I took my girls to see frozen, if you have not seen it, it's about sisterly love. I love my sister but I don't like who she has become in recent years, I'm not implying I'm perfect.
We only live an hour apart but she never bothers with me or my children, never calls or even sends Christmas and birthday cards anymore, not my choice and another story... .... Anyway I cried and cried in the film (sad I know) and was tempted to phone her but I'm guessing she maybe feels the same way as me and "for the first time in forever" (from the film) I realise that whilst life is too short to bear a grudge, it is actually too short to waste on people who do not give a shit about you . Merry Christmas everyone .

hackmum Tue 24-Dec-13 18:41:49

I agree, it's a thought-provoking question, and I think some of the answers really skirt over the issues. How do you tell the difference between a situation where someone's hurt you, and the best thing is to forgive them, put it behind you and continue the friendship and a situation where someone has hurt you and you're going to cut them out of your life because they're toxic? And although b) might look right to you, to other people it might look like you're bearing a grudge.

DorisButtons Tue 24-Dec-13 18:47:39

Ditch the witch.

I would love to set things right with my youngest sister. BUT she did something pretty much unforgiveable. Particularly to my niece (my other sister's dd). I know the kids - ds, dn, and my youngest sister's two - miss each other. But in order for us to repair the relationship, my littlest sister would have to recognise what she did, how extraordinarily wrong it was, and take steps to a. apologise fully and b. make sure it never happened again.

The last bit hasn't happened yet, sadly. I'm not sure it ever will - littlest sis has said 'sorry' but then threw a load of abuse at me, most of it concerned with my ds. I don't know whether she truly understands exactly what she did, is prepared to fess up and put things right - or whether my other sister would ever be prepared to listen to her. Other sister takes the line that she has to protect her dd from poisonous people. Which is entirely sensible and reasonable.

I can't repair my relationship with littlest sister while leaving my other (injured) sister and niece out in the cold. And completely get that sister's reasons for breaking all contact. Sadly not sure this will ever be resolved.

Meerka Tue 24-Dec-13 18:55:58

In this context, maybe be open to closer contact. But it cannot come only from one side, yours. There has to be some level of reciprocity. If you are sending cards into a non-responsive void, if she never calls, then in the end you can simply sit back a little bit and take measure. Then if she begins to call you, or to bother in any way, you can happily match her efforts.

If something is 90/10 one sided, it's not working. If it's even 60/40, it is ... guess everyone will decide for themselves where the point of diminishing returns has been reached.

Its not holding a grudge. It's simply expecting some level of mutual effort in a relationship. Really can't come from only one side.

hackmum, if you arent sure if someone will hurt you a second time, you can give them the benefit of the doubt unless you're just too hurt to try - which is not quite the same thing as being too grudging too try. Experience will tell you if it will be okay or not. As for people misunderstanding, well, that's always going to happen :/

stubbs0412 Tue 24-Dec-13 19:12:08

Meerkat that's exactly the trouble between my sister...
I am "expecting a mutual effort", only it doesn't appear. Last time I spoke to my sis she was rushing off to buy a "crate of beer" for a friends husband as it was their bday. This really hurt when without mutual agreement she just decided she wasn't sending cards to me anymore. I gave her a second chance, ignored her not sending me a bday card and sent her card this year anyway and when my bday came round again ... No card. I'm not giving a 3rd chance. This discussion has helped me accept that just because we are sisters doesn't mean I have to put up with it. I think I'm probably holding a grudge as I'm getting all agitated.

PeriodFeatures Tue 24-Dec-13 20:10:53

do you care aBOUT THEM? Do they care about you? was the hurt caused by malice or misunderstanding? I have hurt people, I have been hurt. Hurt can happen in relationships. Its up to you.

cathers Tue 24-Dec-13 20:22:16

Can you learn to forgive them but not forget? I was badly hurt by a close friend last year by her betraying my trust. I have forgiven her for it and feel at peace and hold no grudge towards her however I cannot trust her again. As a result, our friendship has become very superficial and I am happy with it that however I feel the friend is still embarrassed by it.

MrsDeVere Tue 24-Dec-13 21:00:59

I don't bother with people who are self absorbed and selfish. I am happy to remain friends with people are are less than perfect though.
They can be flaky, bonkers, miserable etc.
If I like them I don't expect too much of them and take them as they are.
I wouldn't expect a flaky friend to help me arrange a funeral and I wouldn't be upset with a miserable one who didn't want to go clubbing.

But if someone just takes and doesn't give anything back. If they are bitchy about me or cause any sort of trouble, I just walk away.

Life is to short to allow people to cause conflict and distress.

I think if you can really look at what happened and work out a. has it properly, genuinely hurt or b. do you feel that you should be hurt.

Sometimes I think we can hang on to grudges because its expected of us.

raisah Tue 24-Dec-13 21:38:46

There are a few people I have pulled away from over the years. I don't wish them any harm but they are not good for my mental well being so it is best to stay away. I don't want to bear a grudge but neither do I want to be miserable so it is best to stay away.

Lisavarna Tue 24-Dec-13 21:49:40

The bad people in your life don't give a stuff whether you hold a grudge or not, they will still be bad people in your life, doing or saying things that upset you, regardless of whether you are holding a grudge or not.

So in short, life is too short to have those people in your life.

FestiveYoni Tue 24-Dec-13 21:55:11

Its taken me long time to realise I am deeply affected by being around all sorts of people, negative, or dream crushers, and I have also got better at spotting under lying motives.

In terms of serious clashes with people close to me, in laws or old friends again, I have become quite ruthless...I have though tended to give second, third and fourth chances to be absolute sure where I have cared for the person, like my sister for instance...its not worth it, I have had to cut contact. Life is too short to have her in it. fsad

Scarletohello Tue 24-Dec-13 22:05:52

There's a great quote about holding onto resentment and how toxic it is;

'Its like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die..'

Wise words....

Kitttty Tue 24-Dec-13 22:08:55

I think there are 3 parts covered by all the posters above:

-- one acceptance of what happened and how this impacted on you.
-- two being realistic that you wont get exactly what you want - an apology etc - and accepting this
-- third your decision on how to move on and what level of contact is acceptable to you.

Keep calm and rational, don't leave yourself open to further stress. There are lots of other people to be friends with.

CalamitouslyWrong Tue 24-Dec-13 22:12:19

I don't think this is an either/or. You can cut out people who make your life more miserable and not bear a grudge. Indeed, you no longer need to bare a grudge because they no longer affect you in any way.

I haven't seen my useless father for over a decade. I bear no grudge, but I'm much happier without him in my life. I'd resent having to spend time with him, and I'd be worried about the effects of his nasty mind games on my children. It's win-win really.

Spero Tue 24-Dec-13 22:59:22

Really good question.

As others have said, I think you have to be honest with yourself about WHY you felt hurt.

Did they do something objectively horrible and refused to show any remorse .
Were you disappointed that they didn't live up to your expectations?
Were you angry that they challenged you about something you were doing that they didn't like?

In the first scenario, cut them loose, walk away, don't waste your time. They won't give a damn if you 'forgive' them.

Other scenarios, less straightforward because you then have to think about what role you played in the hurt you now feel.

boogiewoogie Tue 24-Dec-13 23:11:34

Forgive and forget in your own time op. However, do not confuse this with reconciliation. You don't have to have anything to do with someone who has hurt you but letting things go means that you are free from the hurt.

maddening Tue 24-Dec-13 23:17:52

are they seeking you out to wish you a happy Christmas? Fair enough if you bump in to them be pleasant and exchange Christmas greetings but as you have dropped them they haven't worried about you - just carry on as you were imo

happytalk13 Tue 24-Dec-13 23:38:03

If forgiving and forgetting means allowing people into your life to hurt you again then don't do it. Protecting yourself isn't bearing a grudge - it's common sense.

Andro Wed 25-Dec-13 00:11:30

It depends what they've done.

CheerfulYank Wed 25-Dec-13 04:38:05

Depends. I am TERRIBLE at holding grudges, just can't do it. But at the same time, there are people (like my brother) whom I consider toxic and I am very careful as to the extent that they are allowed in my life and the life of my DC.

MrsMook Wed 25-Dec-13 05:20:26

I like the taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

Forgiveness is about not holding a grudge and retaining the hurt and negative emotions. You can do it with maintaining contact or dropping contact. Forgiveness is within and stopping the negativity.

It is not saying "oh that's all right then" and leaving yourself open to a repeat.

I can think of a "friend" (group friend) that was a very draining person, who without malicious intent, overrode other peoples plans and feelings and was a general pain. She disapeared off the radar for a while (in an insensitive way, upsetting friends in the process) , but a few years later wanted to come back in the scene as if nothing happened. I see her through other friends occasionally. I do not want to be friends again, but I can hold a civil conversation, the same as I would for any friend of a friend. I hold no ill will, I'm glad to hear her life has moved forwards with positive developments. So I'd say she is forgiven (no negative emotion attached to her past behaviour) but the behaviour is not forgotten. I refuse to re-establish personal contact as I don't want to reignite a friendship or lead her in the wrong direction. She's just an aquaintance these days.

Family is harder. The relationship is less disposable. There are multiple relationships involved for consideration. Dropping a former friend or rationalising their behaviour is simpler than a relation. With family, I tend to think about how I'd react if a friend treated me in that way.

Grudges are best dropped. They are unhealthy.

duvetheaven Wed 25-Dec-13 19:21:01

Yes, let the toxic go gently if you have to. For your own sake be great for negative feelings about them to fade. Took me a while to figure out that I have a few family members that don't try to hard so finally I don't try too hard either .

princesscupcakemummyb Wed 25-Dec-13 23:36:16

im one of those of those ppl if you really do something wrong to me i sadly bear a grudge and sum ppl ive never spoken to again i know life is short but thats just me

rabbitlady Thu 26-Dec-13 07:43:37

forgive and forget, but don't tell them. don't have them around.

stgeorgiaandthedragon Thu 26-Dec-13 07:48:59

Have to admit, it does amaze me on here how frequently 'cut him/her off' is the given advice for any chosen situation.

In extreme cases - spite, or really awful anti-social behaviour, yes. But in my experience it is difficult to cut some people out entirely because to do so would mean not seeing or socialising with people who you DO actually like.

I have people I keep my distance from and I have people I try to avoid but I cannot think of anybody I have 'cut off'!

Meh84 Thu 26-Dec-13 07:59:33

I'm just the same, lost a very dear friend back in June and haven't seen or spoken to her since.

IMO - life is too short to have bad people in your life. It was hard at first, but the best decision I made.

Lweji Thu 26-Dec-13 08:02:07

All and all detachment is better.
It doesn't have to be 100 or 0. You can socialize when you have to, but not be too intimate.

Some things you should forgive, although not necessarily forget. So, it depends on the forgiveness front.

brettgirl2 Thu 26-Dec-13 08:03:36

If a person is bad then forgiveness is irrelevant as they are still bad. Forgiveness and moving on for me is when someone makes a mistake (which doesn't make you bad) or an argument/ misunderstanding. Be careful about forgiving the bad is my advice.

dontsqueezetheteabag Thu 26-Dec-13 08:04:15

I have a toxic mother who upset me every time I spoke to her for months.

I would get wound up every week knowing that she was about to call and what the hell would she say/do this time?!?

I decided to go no contact as I have so many more important and lovely people to spend my energy on.

My friend (who also has family issues) gave me a good way to think if it. Think of a set of scales with all the people who love and care for you on one side and the person making your life difficult on the other side.

No contest. Good luck OP x

Summergarden Thu 26-Dec-13 09:25:14

If it is close family, please do try to forgive and forget.

I had a fall out with my father when I was 22 and I didn't speak to him for 4 years. He died suddenly a few days ago aged only 58.

I am so hugely grateful that I decided to forgive and forget and spent time getting to know him and building up memories to keep now that he is gone.

Life is fleeting and precious.

Spero Thu 26-Dec-13 11:04:18

I think it is precisely because life is precious and fleeting that I don't want people in it who have done me harm and who are not sorry.

I don't obsess or ruminate about them (any more) but I would be a massive idiot if I kept on letting them in to repeat their bad behaviour.

laughingeyes2013 Thu 26-Dec-13 12:22:47

I think that - with all relationships - you can only go as far as the other person is willing to with you. So if you want peace and harmony but they don't, you can't force them to respond. You can only go as far as their willingness allows.

It's a mistake to think you can always win people's better nature over by forgiving and letting them have chance after chance. Sometimes you have to see it for how it is realistically and accept the other party just won't comply with simple human decency.

Having said that, I've watched my Mum forgive people time after time, and was the only child at her mothers death bed because all the others had long since gone, not accepting the parents bad behaviours. My Mum on the other had endured her Mum's awfulness out of an unconditional love that I'm not sure I could have done in the same way. It was like a blind optimism. Somehow I think it made her the stronger person but I can't quite explain why. I'd spent a lot of time over the years advising her to walk away like her siblings did, but she refused, saying "none of us are perfect".

So although I'm saying I've leaned to see people for what they ARE and not what you WANT them to be, and respond accordingly, I have to acknowledge I admire a different way of rising above it and being the bigger person.

I think actually one crucial part may be how my Mum viewed it. She was hurt by the verbal attacks but understood her Mum had mental health issues and so gave her a lot of rope. Somehow that empowered my mum rather than imprisoned her. I guess only you know the level of damage this relationship would have on you and whether it's appropriate for you to walk or not.

Bigbadgladioli Thu 26-Dec-13 13:12:49

laughing - I like this attitude. I'm not bearing a grudge, I am protecting my family.

I am now very wary, having kept a toxic mil at bay for a year. (We've had such a good year.) I was coerced into spending time at her house for a couple of hours (five hours) yesterday. Within fifteen minutes she was bellowing that now that she had a new car she would be through to see us "all the time". I am now awaiting "round two".
She kept repeating this throughout our time there. Cuddling the kids (inescapable perfumed headlock) and telling them she was going to be coming through "really soon"/ "all the time"

As is traditional after contact, I have been up most of the night worrying about the implications.

I think you can forgive at this time of year for your own good. But I'm afraid my warm feelings only lasted for the first fifteen minutes of contact. Then I returned to a state of red alert. Happy New Year!! Awooga, Awooga!! ...Where's the camomile tea?

MarriedtotheMod Thu 26-Dec-13 13:31:17

interesting thread as this time of year triggers me off wondering if I should "try harder" with my father and his family. However since watching that Psychopath Night on channel 4 I've reassessed slightly. I'm convinced my father is a psychopath; he doesn't even crack a tear when people die so I'm fairly sure he doesn't give two shits that I've taken a step back to protect myself. I think its always difficult though, I try not to hold a grudge as such but I'll always be sad that this is the relationship we have. sad

principalitygirl Thu 26-Dec-13 18:05:11

A few things MIL-related here:

1)MIL just announced mid family boxing day meal that her and my toddler DS have a plan which involves her taking him to eurodisney (just the two of them!) when he's five....
I said that I think he'll be older than five when that happens and she was then momentarily miffed and then said 'oh well, that'll give me more time to save'.
She often does this sort of announcing with intent about what she's going to do with DS, whether tomorrow or in five years time. I find it v annoying and a bit controlling.

2)Whenever she visits or we visit her she seems to always want to spend time alone with DS and almost never with us as a family which I also find annoying and a shame.

3) She buys DS - her only grandchild - pretty rubbish gifts. For his first birthday she got him a cheap ball (I'd got one similar for him to use in the garden from the pound shop) and a glove puppet. For Christmas this year she got him plastic stacking cups and a soft toy. Money isn't an issue for her and when there are so many lovely things you can buy for little ones I find it disappointing that this is all he gets. He's not short of toys and clothes but something a bit more thoughtful and imaginative would be nice, even though he's still v young.

4) MIL lives 3 hrs away and is retired. She visited us every month on average this year for two or through nights each time and that's on top of us making two or three trips to her place. We're at hers for Christmas and she's already talking about visiting in January. I find this a bit suffocating, much as I want DS to have a good relationship with her, maybe especially as usually when she visits I spend the most time with her as DH is at work.

AIBU to feel this way? Most times I can focus on the upsides to each of these things but sometimes it gets too much.

principalitygirl Thu 26-Dec-13 18:06:30

Doh! Didn't mean to hijack thread. Meant to start a new AIBU. Christmas brain! Sorry!

Kitttty Thu 26-Dec-13 20:58:17

principal...she sounds like a a doting grandma -- who sounds like she wants to spend precious time and give unconditional love to her grandchild.

You say that she doesn't spend enough on her grandchild - but is saving up for Euro Disney?

I think that she demonstrated incredible diplomacy when you popped their bubble of an exciting trip to Disney in the future - why couldn't you be gracious for the kind and generous intent without sabotaging it?

You are the one who sounds controlling that you want her to spend more time with you all rather than just with her gs - maybe she senses your hostility and makes her self scarce? but in the same breadth you complain that she is spending too much time with you overall?

Leave you son have his lovely on to one relationship with his grandmother - she wont be around for ever.

ashamedoverthinker Fri 27-Dec-13 00:09:18

Some people hurt me (social) I know its not major but they really got to me. I see them regular (no way of avoiding)

I do have a grudge I wish I could wipe the floor with one of them - but i wouldnt dare say anything.

I wish I could let go - I have tried hard to do this but can't seem to get it to 'click' in my head.

I dont understand this as I have forgiven people for much 'more'

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now