How To Deal With Someone Who Has A Grudge Against You

“Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.”

― Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith

Unforgiveness feeds grudges, which then fuel the desire for vengeance.

A grudge has two ingredients ― anger and bitterness. Both of those emotions are dark enough to keep the grudge-holder in misery.

Someone who holds a grudge against you must be suffering on the inside.

And the longer they suffer, the more determined they can get to harm you.

Even if someone has less power than you, a grudge can drive them to hurt you in unforeseen ways.

How can you handle them to stop being their intended target?

Why Does Someone Hold Grudges Against You

People who are prejudiced, racist, intolerant, patriarchal, fundamentalist, conservative, inflexible, narrow-minded, egocentric, narcissistic, and antisocial are more likely to hold grudges. People may also hold grudges if they have unrealistic expectations from you, have a low threshold for intolerance, are inherently jealous or envious, feel unjustly left out, and have malicious intentions towards you.

We keep getting hurt; such is life. In grudge-bearing people, those hurtful feelings harden into anger and hatred over time.

There are many reasons why people hold grudges, but most of them are apparently rooted in fear.

People who hold grudges may have an unconscious fear of being hurt, betrayed, disrespected, or ostracized.

The grudge-holders feel that if they hold the grudge, they can avenge it.

But if they let go of it, it might allow the other person to hurt them again.

Understand that a person with a grudge against you need not be stronger or more influential than you to harm you.

What makes them so much more dangerous is that they believe that only an act of revenge on you will bring them peace. It is twisted, prehistoric, reptilian logic that warps their rational thinking.

Deal With Someone Who Holds A Grudge Against You

How To Deal With Someone Who Holds A Grudge Against You

A grudge-holder can harm you in many ways.

Anyone with a long-held grudge may carry out revenge. It can have major effects on those around you, not only on you.

But you don’t have to stress yourself out worrying how they might get back at you.

Here are some tips to help if someone is holding a grudge against you:

Step 1: Acknowledge The Issue

First, accept that you may have done actually something extremely wrong.

The grudge-holder may have really resented what you did. They may be completely justified in holding it against you.

Sometimes, people hold a grudge against you for things that you didn’t even do. This can be because of a misunderstanding or miscommunication, or their evil nature.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to acknowledge the issue that is causing them to hold a grudge against you and try to fix it.

The first step is to identify what caused the grudge in the first place. Ponder over the issue before approaching them to fill in the gaps in your analysis.

If they do tell you, then it should be easy enough to figure out what caused them to feel this way.

It can get difficult if they don’t tell you. In such cases, your calculated guess would be the best answer.

Once you are armed with the reason that caused them to feel this way, then it’s time for step two: approach them.

Grudges rob both parties of their happiness.

Step 2: Talk To The Other Person About The Issue

This is often a difficult task. They are hurt and may resist your efforts to reconcile with them.

Approach them with the understanding that the person you are about to talk to could be feeling too hurt to open up.

The trauma they felt may make it hard for them to reveal what exactly has unsettled them.

Nonetheless, just because someone with a grudge has turned hostile toward you does not make you weaker or less resourceful than they are. Keep this in mind before confronting them.

When you talk to the other person, it’s essential not just to try to understand their point of view but also to give them your side of the story.

Face everyone with boldness and love.

Talk to the other person about the issue that is causing them to have grudge against you.

It is important not just to give your side of the story but also to listen and try to understand their perspective.

Step 3: Decide What You Want To Do Next

Suppose they have already carried out their vengeful act. What do you do then?

We all have been there — someone has hurt us, and we want to get back at them. But what should we do next? Should we confront them? Should we avoid them? Should we forgive them?

We should forgive the person who has wronged us, for holding a grudge will only hurt us more in the long run. , and not only in the present.

We should forgive the person who has wronged us, for holding a grudge will only hurt us more in the long run, and not only in the present.

Don’t let the cycle of revenge go on forever.

How To Handle A Colleague Who Holds A Grudge Against You

Don’t let your inaction or callousness fill them with fury and revenge plans. Instead, make a move to break the silence and talk it out with them. Explain the situation from your point of view. Make your point while remaining empathetic. Offer to do something to resolve the issue before it blows up.

In an office environment, it is not uncommon for people to hold a grudge against one another.

There could be several reasons for this, like being rapped in front of coworkers, a narcissistic attitude, getting slighted for no fault, not receiving a promotion, or someone simply not liking you.

Whatever the reason, it can make working together difficult. However, there are ways you can handle someone who has a grudge against you while remaining professional.

Here are some tips to deal with someone at the office holding a grudge against you:

  • Realize that a grudge can be toxic for your health, well-being, and future promotion prospects.
  • Try to understand where they are coming from — grudges and revenge may be a cultural issue.
  • Let them know that you want to work through this and agree on a time to talk it out.
  • Ask them what they would like from you so as to drop the grudge against you.
  • Keep in mind that they might have their feelings masquerading as a grudge.
  • Offer them something positive before ending the conversation.
  • Keep your communication channels open with them.

Handle your grudge-holder with both courage and kindness.


What is the best way to handle someone who is resentful toward you?

The best way to handle a resentful person is to accept that you may have done something wrong to offend them, be sympathetic to their pain, talk it out with them, and offer to make amends.

It is more rational and healthier to find common ground with them and resolve the issue amicably than to live under the constant stress of a cold war.

Is it worth holding a counter-grudge?

It is never worth your time or resources to hold a counter-grudge against the grudge-holder. Whether it is a grudge or a counter-grudge both make a person cranky and grumpy over what the other one might hold against them.

Holding a counter-grudge merely tightens the grip of the grudge-holder on you. Your grudge-in-revenge allows them to occupy a rent-free room in your head.

holding a grudge is letting them live rent-free

Final Words

When at fault, apologize. When they won’t change, let go.

Some people cannot forgive. They are too obstinate to say “Sorry” and move on.

It’s their failing. You are not obligated to live in their rented guilt.

Let go and live your life in peace. You owe it to yourself.

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Author Bio: Written and reviewed by Sandip Roy — medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher. Founder and Chief Editor of The Happiness Blog. Writes on mental well-being, happiness, positive psychology, and philosophy (especially Stoicism).

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