As humans, we will make mistakes and inevitably do things that others aren’t ok with at some point. Sometimes these mistakes cause unintentional harm to someone within your social circle, requiring a moment to reflect and apologise (link apologise). Although interchangeably used, there is a difference between someone holding a grudge and a toxic relationship resulting in boundaries. In this post, I will explain the main differences, which I hope you will find helpful.
Grudges are a form of punishment irrespective of the intent of someone who has hurt you. It’s intended to constantly hold something over another person’s head, not letting them recover from a past failure, not accepting that people can grow and learn from mistakes despite changing their behaviours. An established grudge makes a person stuck, unable to recover from that action that injured the relationship. It is also a complete lack of forgiveness or acceptance. Often interactions continue, and with each interaction, the anger builds.
Hurt is often the root of anger which is a protective emotion. The most harmful this about a grudge is that when left unaddressed, the result is irreparable damage.
Boundaries are an act of self-preservation and support a relationship by avoiding burnout or being overwhelmed by past issues. They involve growth, acceptance, open communication, understanding, and very often compromise. Correctly implemented boundaries allow space for both parties allowing you to love yourself and the other person. The more respected boundaries are, the closer a relationship can be.
To mitigate the intensity of anger in a relationship, creating a physical and emotional boundary may be necessary. An example is to see someone a few times a year and avoid intimate communication. In other cases, the best solution may be to sever ties entirely, at least for a while. With time and life events, feelings can shift and ignite the desired change or re-address the situation. However, the healthiest solution for some may be ending the relationship without reconnection, which is also ok.
Sometimes we hold a grudge when we believe that we have set a boundary. Often in cases where a given apology is without a change in behaviour coupled with a lack of consequence.
Equally, the toxic person in your life might tell themselves and others that you are holding a grudge, mad at them, or are bitter. Often this is the case when they notice you have created a boundary; therefore, they can no longer take advantage of you, intimidate you, or cause you stress. It may also be that in their mind, you did not settle the argument. If this happens, then it’s important to remember that it is just their toxic nature of needing everything to weigh more heavily in their favour. Equally, it is essential to remember that there is no favour, and ultimately, they are not respecting your boundaries. You are entitled to protect your heart, mind, and inner peace. You have no responsibility to alleviate their regret or an obligation to reopen a discussion that always ends the same way. Your boundary keeps you from inviting drama back into your life whether you still love the person or not.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
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