Psychology Today Article: Breaking Free of Grudges

Forgiving the Adult Bullies who have hurt me is a challenging and complex process. Some incidents are very hard to forgive. However, I know that practicing forgiveness can have various benefits for my emotional well-being. As I wanted to get better, I knew I had to find a way!

I don’t want to feel this way and am working very hard toward letting it all go from my system. I do this for me, not for anyone else. It takes as long as it takes. I am very patient with myself and will continue to focus on my own personal healing and growth. One day, when all the domains are no longer registered for use, I will rest.

Here are some steps I use that are moving me closer to forgiving Toxic Adults who Bullied me:

Reflection: Taking the time to reflect on my feelings, relearn what some of them meant all over again, and the impact the bullying has had on my life. I had to think of all the ways this has impacted me and learn to release the anger, one by one… I understand now that holding onto anger, resentment, or bitterness can harm my mental health.

Empathy and understanding: This is a hard one for me but I try to understand the bully’s perspective, acknowledging that they might be dealing with their own insecurities or past traumas. This doesn’t excuse their behaviour, but it did help me empathize with the circumstances that led them to bully me and others. I had to accept that they are narcissistic people with very toxic traits who see racism and discrimination from everyone they meet. It must be really hard to live that way.

Personal growth and healing: I learned to focus on my personal growth and healing from the bullying experience. I engage every day in activities that bring me joy, practice self-care, and build a support system with friends and family. I learn about myself and why this gets to me and work on those things to become a better human to those around me that I want in my life. I am becoming mentally stronger so I can tolerate more in the future.

Seek professional help: As bullying has had a significant impact on my mental health, seeking therapy was very beneficial. A professional helped guide me through the forgiveness process and helped me heal from the emotional wounds caused by the bullying.

Set boundaries: Forgiving someone does not mean you have to maintain a relationship with them or tolerate further mistreatment. Set clear boundaries to protect yourself and establish healthy relationships moving forward.

Practice forgiveness: Forgiveness is a choice and requires consistent effort. Gradually let go of the negative emotions associated with the bullying and work towards releasing any resentment or grudges.

    Remember, forgiveness is a personal journey, and it may take time to fully forgive the Toxic Adult Bullies who hurt you. It is taking me longer than I thought, but I am getting closer!

    It is hard to forgive individuals who continue to do the same things over and over again! As long as these Toxic individuals continue making websites filled with their many malicious opinions against other people, it will be hard to forgive their actions. They continue the same allegations but against different individuals and it is becoming a constant.

    One day, I do not doubt that I will reach this point of forgiveness, as I am worth it!!

    Breaking Free of Grudges

    The healing power of forgiveness.

    Posted October 27, 2023 |  Reviewed by Monica Vilhauer


    • Grudges can be hazardous to your mental and physical health.
    • Grudges can mean giving more power to the person who hurt you.
    • Forgiveness and letting go is a process — and more for you than the other person.

    Grudges can darken lives for years and for many reasons. Another friend told me about a woman in her cancer survivors’ group who constantly complains that her mother destroyed her life. The woman is 82 years old, her mother long dead.

    Grudges can separate families, sometimes forever. Grudges can keep people stuck in anger, bitterness and blame, negatively impacting subsequent relationships. Grudges can keep you rooted in the past instead of finding joy in the present. In holding a grudge, you unwittingly give the other person negative power over your life and emotions instead of moving on and creating a new and better life for yourself.

    Studies have found that holding a grudge not only may be detrimental to your quality of life, but also to your physical health. One recent study found that holding a grudge means living with intrusive negative thoughts that can be triggered easily even when feelings of hurt and anger appear to dissipate, impacting one’s quality of life. Another study has found that people who hold grudges are more likely to have a history of pain disorders, cardiovascular disease and stomach ulcers.

    So why would anyone hold a grudge? Some hold onto hurt and anger because they feel unfairly treated and are waiting, sometimes forever, for an apology. Some hold grudges because it seems to be a show of strength: refusing to forgive even though the other person apologizes, even perhaps pleading for forgiveness to no avail. Still others, deeply wounded by a traumatic past with family members, feel that to let go and forgive is to negate the seriousness of the transgressions, letting the other person off the hook, minimizing the depth of the pain.

    But grudges mean giving power away. They can mean lost opportunities for growing past one’s pain.

    Forgiving and letting go of hurt and anger doesn’t mean saying the other person is right or that your pain isn’t justified. And, to be sure, it isn’t easy. It’s a process that may take time and tears and a lot of work.

    If you’re carrying anger and resentment, expressing those feelings and then letting go, can take a number of forms, sometimes in combination. Therapy can help. Journaling can be a valuable way for you to find your voice and sort out your feelings. If you’re a survivor of a traumatic event or series of events, joining a therapeutic group may help you to feel less alone and more empowered in your process of healing.

    It’s important to remember that forgiveness isn’t primarily (or ever) for the person who wronged you, but for yourself. In fact, forgiveness does not have to include reconciliation. There may be times when it is impossible to reconcile – if the other person has died – or inappropriate to reconcile if the other person was abusive. But forgiveness can calm your spirit and give you a fresh perspective on what happened back then and why. By looking back at the person who hurt you, not with bitterness, but with empathy and compassion, you may be able to let that pent-up anger go. For example, seeing an abusive parent as someone who had a traumatic past of his or her own can make what happened with you more understandable. Not okay. Not ever okay. But more understandable. With that, you can begin to move on.

    Forgiveness can help you to let go of anger, resentment and bitterness and feel a new sense of well-being. Even if pain still lingers, you may be on the way to growing past what was to a calmer, happier, more positive mindset. You’ll be better able to improve the quality of your relationships and your physical and emotional health. You may even find yourself viewing the person or persons who hurt you through a new lens – one of empathy and compassion – that, once again, can free you to move on.

    Forgiveness is healing. It means freedom from a painful past, empowering you to create and to embrace a brighter present and future.


    Examining the lived experience of holding grudges. vanMonsjou, E., Struthers, C.W., Fergus, K. & Muse, A. (2023), Qualitative Psychology, 10(1), 60-78. 110.1037/qup0000205

    Bearing grudges and physical health: relationship to smoking, cardiovascular health and ulcers. Messias, E., Saini, A, Sinato, P, Welch, S.Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 45, 183-187. (2010)

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