IN THIS ISSUE
‘ MY GRUDGES RUN THE GAMUT FROM A LOW-LEVEL HUM I CAN SIT WITH TO DEEP-ROOTED ANGER ’
There’s a well-known saying: ‘Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick.’ On an intellectual level I can see this is wise and correct. Emotionally, though, in the real world, it’s a whole other story, isn’t it?
It’s generally accepted as an unattractive quality, but I will admit, I have been known to hold a grudge or…50. How long can I carry it? Well, you can’t grow up in a chaotic, noisy house as one of four siblings and not remember some humdinger rows and their fallout. My brother and I still can’t talk about the time he found my Easter egg stash at the back of my wardrobe and I was punished for being angry with him. I was furious about his wilful, unchecked invasion of my privacy and yet it still gets framed as though I was just angry about some chocolate – to this day I can still feel my temper rise when I think about it! (Yes, I am 48.)
That might be a ridiculous example, but my grudges tend to run the gamut, from a low-level hum that I can sit with and never let get in the way of my affection for someone (say, the close friend, or so I thought, who didn’t invite me to her wedding ceremony, just the free-for-all reception) to deep-rooted anger (such as I feel for the former colleague who ghosted me after a 20-year working relationship). People tell you to just get over it. We tend to be admonished as silly children for harbouring pent-up anger, so we feel ashamed when we can’t just ‘rise above it’. And this only makes the pain and humiliation worse.
So I was emboldened by Sophie Hannah’s piece on the subject, on page 30, which argues that it’s actually useful and healthy to hold grudges. Don’t be ashamed of still being angry about that thing that happened ten years ago. Accept that you will always be angry about it – and that the anger is part of the complicated splendour that makes you uniquely you. Probably healthier still, of course, is to release the residual anger by confronting those who have wronged you and clearing the air. Although I will admit I’m not grown-up enough to do that either.
Enjoy the issue.