It’s okay when someone gets angry at you for doing something wrong. But what if someone is just silently holding grudges?
If you think it’s hard to deal with an angry person who lashes out and throws tantrums, think again. It’s much worse if you get the silent treatment. Don’t believe me?
The toxic reality of holding grudges
Although most people who get angry tend to express it openly, there are those few who use another tactic altogether.
I have experienced this many times in a former marriage, where my spouse made a habit of utilizing the silent treatment to get his point across. What made it much harder to deal with was the fact that half the time, I had no idea why he was angry. One moment things were going great, the next, he wasn’t speaking to me, except maybe in short statements. It was unnerving for years and I felt as though I had to walk on pins and needles to keep the peace.
Boy, am I glad that’s over!
Holding grudges is one of the most manipulating acts of all. It may not seem so, but it can raise the blood pressure and cause stress to its intended recipient. There are ways, however, to deal with people who hold grudges. Pay attention, I know someone out there really needs help with this.
Confront the Issue
If you know that you did something wrong, apologize. It is your responsibility to make amends when you are the one who made the mistake. If you don’t know what you did, then ask them.
If you don’t think you did something wrong, but they do, then apologize for doing something that bothered them and work toward a solution or compromise. If you apologize, you are no longer on the hook for how they feel. You have done your part.
Sometimes it helps to ask friends and family how they dealt with similar situations, especially with the person in question. For instance, you need to know how long they generally hold the grudge and if it’s better to apologize or just let it ride out. Sometimes those with grudges, get worse when you apologize.
This is mainly because they wish to prolong their hold on you and garner attention to themselves. You cannot deal with someone in this state and apologies will not help. Therefore, you need someone else’s knowledge of experience with the person.
Always keep in mind that those holding grudges are sometimes at war with themselves or their past. It’s not always just about you. To them, you might seem like an abusive person from the past, a sister, brother or parent for that matter. They may be feeling emotions from all over the place, triggered by one incident with you! Be patient and feel your way through this one.
Give them some space
Sometimes it’s best not to apologize at all and just let them have some time alone. In most cases, people who hold grudges will come around, needing someone to talk to. A little silence can be beneficial to gathering thoughts and calming nerves. Grudges don’t always last long and sometimes the angry person will end up acting like nothing ever happened when left to their own thoughts of regretful actions.
Always be there in case they wish to talk, and when they do, ask what you can do to make it better. It is a logical question and should not be seen as an attack. Offer comfort if comfort is needed, but only for a little while. Offer to spend time with them doing an activity or going somewhere. Being helpful may just be what they need to cool down.
If none of this works, and the grudge holder refuses to accept any reparations, you must move on. On rare occasions, friendships end with grudgery. There is nothing you can do about it.
No, it’s not easy to deal with an angry person, but it’s a blessing compared to those who have the habit of holding grudges. Unfortunately, this is the only way some people can deal with problems, pushing others away until they get what they want. They may be deeply scarred from past events or even projecting old feelings onto new people.
Whatever the case, it is up to you to protect your own sanity. IF you can’t fix it, then you may have to walk away.
Always remember, there is a healthy way to get angry, and this is not it! Spread the love instead.
Copyright © 2012-2019 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.