Holding a Grudge is Like Drinking Poison and Waiting For the Other Person to Die

by Jayne Kopp on November 2, 2011

to hold a grudge

I know I am on a bit of a roll lately talking about the detrimental act of holding a grudge and how it really is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

Just  before I get on with my post, I just wanted to mention I don’t really like talking about negativity on my blog… but there are a few reasons I am choosing the write on this topic this week.

First off I get a lot of visitors to my site looking for information on forgiveness:  both how to forgive others, and self forgiveness.

I have come to realize there are a lot of ‘hurt’ people in this world who can’t seem to get passed things that have happened to them, or more accurately problems with relationships.  (Marital, friendship, or otherwise)

Also, this week, I have worked with two coaching clients.  One lady has such deep rooted bitterness and held a grudge against her ex husband for having an affair.  The other lady is suffering because her ex husband torments her on a continuous basis with cruel actions that keep her trapped in a state of despair.

Third… I as mentioned on my last post, I was lucky enough to learn my lesson about holding grudges at a very young age, and have managed to salvage one of the most precious relationships ever, that is with my best friend Julie.

Last of all, I am living proof that a person can move forward when there is someone in their life who holds a BITTER grudge against them.  I have lived under these circumstances for the better part of six years although may not have shared this part of my life with  my readers because, truth is, I have learned to divert my focus and don’t want to come off as playing my own violin.
(because I’m not!).

With that said I know a thing or two about a thing or two as all of these situations are ones that I can relate to… and although I have never held a nasty grudge… I do understand the stress ‘any’ grudge causes; both to the grudge holder… and the recipient!

I feel compelled to share my advice based on the fact that as stated,  I am a person who knows the pain of having someone feel badly towards me to the point it has definitely interfered with my life in the past…..  at some times worse than others.

I know the pain of simply ‘knowing’ the pain of  a broken relationship and that even silent inner strife causes heartache and discomfort and sucks the joy out of life as did  the situation with my friend that I wrote with on my last post.

Regardless of the situation, the level of bitterness or the affects… grudges rob freedom of life… even if they don’t cause continous pain, a grudge is always on the minds of BOTH parties and as the saying goes:

Holding a grudge IS like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die!

Grudges, Bitterness, stubbornness, bad feelings towards others are all  useless emotions that will produce nothing good for either  party.

The person who insists of consuming their days in a state of negativity and scheming is suffering in the worst way.

They often have their blinders on so tightly that they can’t see or feel anything but stress, anxiety, hatred and cruelty… so much that they are not only spoiling the life of the person they dislike… but also ruining their own.

The ‘victim’ (so to speak) often can’t escape the pain;  particularly if the other person makes their feelings known continuously and is hammering at them and keeping the negativity alive.  (sadly, this happens a LOT)

Depending on the  self  image or self esteem of the ‘recipient’ of these feelings, they can either sink into the depths of hell by being beaten down… which more often than not can easily  result low self worth or self esteem… even if they deserve none of it!

What’s worse… and even a little dangerous is that if indeed the victim of the angst weree in the wrong or perhaps made the mistake or bad judgment call that damaged the relationship, after a while they sometimes start to think they deserve the abuse and battle with self forgiveness.

When this happens… it can take a lot to recover as many of us do find  that forgiving yourself is much more difficult than forgiving others.

The Grudge holders on the other hand,  can, in some cases… depending on their level of energy develop a somewhat narcissistic personality. 

If they see their actions are causing the other person pain, this fuel is often what keeps them going as they get satisfaction out of
knowing they are getting the results they desire.

The sad part is, this is actually often the “only” joy they get out of life because they become so consumed with planning the next
cruel act.

On the flip side, if they see their actions are having little effect on the ‘grudge recipient’ they might lighten up … but in  any event will often  spend the little energy they do have left… scheming for the next act of nasty… or something that ‘might work’.

Either way… they are pathetic and exhausted and frankly often hurting themselves more in than they are  other person but obviously have nothing better to spend their time on.

It becomes very apparent in these severe cases that malice prevents them from  focusing their efforts on their own personal  healing the way they ought.

Of course these examples are extreme but certainly not unusual.

There are of course people who hold grudges and don’t act on them.  They simply carry the internal stress around which often has little effect on the ‘recipient’ but severely affects mental freedom and definitely detracts from full on happiness.  All negative
thoughts drain the soul and act as a weight on your shoulders.

If the said grudge has just resulted in a parting of the ways…recipient obviously is not affected much, , other than the fact they too  are aware and often  feel the pain of the broken relationship the way me and Julie did when we were on non speaking terms for those ridiculous ten years.

As for my own current  story pertaining to “grudges” …it’s a bit on the extreme side.

As many of you know my biggest regret in life is that I am divorced and sadly this breakdown was as a result of mistakes on both sides of the relationship that neither of us were willing to fix at the time.

While I still carry love in my heart, my ex certainly does NOT…despite the fact that he moved on a married  within two weeks of our official divorce. (and btw I’m ok with that…quite like her)

He still owns ‘our’ successful offline business and bought my shares after I made the decision to stay home with the kids.

During our break up we spent a lot of money of a proper contract outlining the important details of child support, travelling with the kids and reviewing support at appropriate times.

A few years ago, I planned a trip to Disneyland for myself, the kids and my mom.

Even though we had a contract outlining the fact that the travelling parent would sign the travel consent form for the other parent to travel out of the country with the kids, my ex refused to do so.

He did so because he holds a grudge against not only me… but also my partner which is based on nothing more than jealously…yet another useless emotion.

The problem is, my partner was NOT travelling with us (not that is ‘should’ have mattered) and my former husband knew it; in fact … only my mom and the kids were travelling with me.

After much struggle… I finally did get the consent signed but only with a ‘clause’ he added to the form saying that he objected if my partner was travelling.

To make matters worse… after I booked the  trip, since I did not receive my Itinerary immediately, I chose to look the address of the hotel where we were staying on the internet just so I could get the necessary paperwork into his hands as I was prepared for a long wait in any event.

I did not realize at the time that there were in actuality four hotels bearing the same name as the one I had reserved that were also across the road from Disneyland.

In error, I provided him with the incorrect hotel.

Surprisingly… he actually went through the effort of calling the hotel to  based on the information I gave him to confirm that I was ‘actually staying where I said I was” … Unfortunately I had selected the wrong address for my hotel even though I honestly didn’t know it at the time.

He then called the police … who showed up at my door as he had accused me of threatening to ‘kidnap’ the kids… and hide our true destination!

Of course the officials had a very clear picture of his nature and understood the situation and told me not to worry… but still… it was a hard pill to swallow and added a lot of stress to a trip we were all looking forward to experiencing.

Furthermore… even after this mistake was explained and supposedly rectified, my former husband called Homeland Security in an attempt to have us blocked at the border!

All of this by the way based on an “out of control”  ‘grudge’ !

A couple of years later, I booked at trip to Mexico.  This was in 2009. 

This time around I was travelling with my partner and because of this my ex flat out refused to sign.

I had no choice but to apply to the courts to get the signature of a judge in order for me to be allowed to take my children outside of Canada.  This cost me $12,000!

Based on the actual COST as well as the principle…….I thought that if I was forced to spend that kind of money just to go on a holiday… I was going to make this effort count and get not only the ‘travel’ details sorted, but also get the issues with ‘back child support’ seen to …as there were shortfalls at his end in that regard as well.

At the end of the day… I was awarded the right to travel (naturally)… but we still had the ‘child support’ issue to rectify which took another TWO court dates.  This did result in the judge ruling in my favour but also at a steep cost of an additional $27K!!

(nobody wins…) :-(

Now… as I type….. We face an appeal in December of this year … as he is appealing the judge’s decision even though he can afford the increase in child support!  This will again cost in excess of another $10K.  And make note:  These costs are times (x) 2 as these costs above are only MY legal fees… not his!

What makes this worse is the fact that he  owns a very lucrative business that not only provides a good living for himself… but also enables him to own car collections, boats, RV’s ATV’s, TV’s you name it.

Now don’t get me wrong… I am not a jealous person although I know that by mentioning the material pleasures he enjoys… it sounds that I am.

Well… I’m not!  I always feel that everyone on earth should enjoy the rights to the fruits of their labour… as well as the things that make him happy are not the things that make me happy.

I wouldn’t care if he lived in a castle on a hill and drove a different Lamborgini every day of the week if that what would float his boat!  The only reason I am mentioning this  is to outline the fact that if he really wanted to … he could afford (in more ways than one) to let this go.

The thing is he won’t… and even told me himself that regardless of cost that  “he will continue to fight me for the rest of my life and he doesn’t care if we BOTH lose everything!!”

This proves it has nothing to do with money or principle, but  more on the fact that he holds such a strong grudge that has actually GROWN WORSE over the years (not better)  with no thought to the future or the affect it will have on not only US.. but our kids.

This is a guy with the world by the B8LLs.  Yet he can’t let negativity go… and in fact has made things worse for us both this last few years than they were in the beginning.

The bottom line is… a grudge holder; particularly if they have a narcissistic personality will only continue to GROW negativity… based on their own mentalities… simply because they CHOOSE to live in a state of hatred and disdain.

Here’s the bottom line:

The victim (so to speak… although I don’t like to use the term) can do nothing about the way the other person feels or chooses to act.  All you can do is shield yourself against the treatment … and if violence is involved… get the authorities involved.

Other than that you need to lose the victim mentality and move forward to improve your own set of circumstances and  this starts with YOU.

In other words, you can’t control other people… but you can improve yourself.

You can choose to love, not hate… Have faith not fear… and while it’s easy to say don’t worry about it… you can… but only focus on it for a short period of time.

Schedule your worry time to think it through… analyze it for what it’s worth then let it go.

If you need coaching or to talk to someone… it’s often better to choose a “neutral” party… who knows neither you nor the other
person.   This way there are no pre-determined biases.

Then move forward and increase your own value and focus on the things that make you happy and fulfilled the way I did when I started my personal development business.

There comes a time when you have to have faith and know that if you are truly in the right… eventually things will sort themselves out… or as the old saying goes “this too shall pass”

Another saying I love to share is:

Fear is something you belive will happen… but have no guarantee that it will.

 Faith is something you believe will happen but have no guarantee that it will.

And even if you feel you “deserve to learn a lesson  or two”  perhaps based on a mistake you may have made…learn and grow from it and don’t let it weight you down.  Everybody makes mistakes.

You have to learn to let things go, release… and then  forgive yourself if indeed that is your issue.

You also have to remember that everyone has the right to be angry or disappointed… but nobody has the right to be cruel.

As for the Grudge Holder:

You  have to get over yourself and live you r life!!  Realize you are only hurting yourself … and that  the other person won’t die (even if you want them to)… they might be a little saddened but you are truly hurting  yourself more than anyone else.


To both parties… regardless of the severity of the grudge itself and the pain that has resulted because of it. 

  • Practice LOVE not hate.
  •  If your relationship (regardless of who it’s with) is broken… you CAN CHOOSE to fix it!

(its always a heck of a good option!)

  •  There is a lot of power in an apology…
  •  Even though you may not ‘forget’ there’s relief in forgiveness and even self forgiveness.
  •  Develop yourself… work towards bettering yourself.  Work towards a goal, chase a dream (and catch it) ….
  •  Focus on Gratitude and give thanks for WHOM and what you have in your life… and even for life itself….NOT what’s wrong.
  •  LIVE… we only get the opportunity to tango on this fine planet for a short while… don’t waste it with useless emotions.
  •  Strong relationships create happiness!

Holding a grudge TRULY  is  like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die… The thing is they wont…… but YOU might! 

If  you do end up on your death bed due to the stress and anxiety you’ve caused yourself to ‘age’ and become ill  with……I guarantee you won’t look back and be thankful that you focused the prime of your life on holding grudges.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Terence January 24, 2012 at 2:50 am

Thanks for the reply on the either blog. Yeah, a grudge can be poisonous. I’m sorry to hear about your husband. I broke up with my ex two years ago and it was bad, but I’ll never treat her the way your ex is doing to you. For me, its bad to the point where I don’t think we can speak to each other again, but I wouldn’t gossip behind her back nor hurt her in anyway. I forgive her but I have to move on. I know you both have kids but thank God you came out the bigger person. I remember God saying “don’t repay evil for evil.” To lazy to cite scripture. Grudges really gloom my day and I realized that God has put more friends into my life for every bad one I run into. I’m pretty sure the Lord has blessed you with other friends as well. I pray that your husband would someday calm down and let go.


Bwendo November 24, 2011 at 10:35 am

A grudge is like distilled negativity we carry – like a necklace of burning tires around our neck.
I have struggled with letting go over the years – but let go I have and it is like cutting the anchor. Now I am free to bob and float on the swells of the ocean of life.
Great sharing post – thanks…


Jayne Kopp January 11, 2012 at 11:48 am

HI Bwendo, I am sorry for taking so long to respond to your great comment. I am only just finding the time to get caught up as I have been working feverishly at other projects and my poor little blog has been neglected.

I do appreciate you stopping by though for sure. I did pop over to your blog and you have an amazing story. Good for you for having great will power. Keep up the good work. You are a very good writer. I am sure blogging and sharing our story will help many.

As far as Grudges… you are correct. it is like wearing a burning necklace. Life is too short to wear something that causes so much discomfort.

Lovely to see you and thanks so much for introducing yourself to me. I hope to stay in touch.



Azhar November 12, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Grudge is some sort of revenge intention that can harm the person who populate it in its mind.It diverts the persons towards negative actions.


Jayne Kopp January 11, 2012 at 11:51 am

HI Azhar, yes a grudge is like carrying internal revenge and it can sure harm the person who holds onto it.

There are better things to do with our energy and life is too short to let internal emotions cause us so much damage.

Thanks for stopping by.



Maja November 12, 2011 at 7:40 am

It is my own experience that patience always change your potential into kinetic.Grudge always made you think negatively and distort your personality.The first lesson of moral-ism is patience and it is gate way to the principles of humanity.


Jayne Kopp January 11, 2012 at 11:52 am

Hi Maja, I understand exactly what you are saying. Holding grudges do affect your overall feelings or kinetics.

Thinking negatively does great damage to a persons outlook and personality for sure. You seem to have a good grasp.

Thanks for stopping by.



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