Holding a Grudge

Hello, all.

I’m struggling with something lately and would appreciate input from fellow Catholics.

Over a year ago, I had an unpleasant experience with another woman. She said some ugly things about me, sent me some messages on Facebook (anonymously, though not cleverly disguised), and she eventually reached out to my fiance in an attempt to slander me. To be completely honest, I have also said ugly things about her, though not to her. I never replied to messages she sent, and I have not even met her. Her dislike of me was fueled by feelings she had for my fiance, and my dislike of her was fueled by this as well. (Jealousy. Ugh.)

ANYWAY, a lot of time has passed. She is no longer an active antagonist in my life, and the possibility of her being able to contact me again is remote. Logically I know it’s over (or as over as it reasonably can be). And yet I still get angry when I think about everything that was said and everything that happened. My angry, hurt feelings are less frequent than they used to be, but it’s been almost a year since she last contacted me and tried to hurt my feelings, and the fact that my feelings still flare up when I am reminded of her bothers me.

It bothers me so much that, this Sunday, I didn’t take Communion. Something about the whole situation really started to eat at me this week, and by Sunday, I felt that, on a very simple level, if she’d been sitting next to me at Mass, I couldn’t have passed the peace to her. I know that this might be a silly way to look at things, but it bothers me anyway. (Also, she isn’t Catholic. I don’t know what she is, so she wouldn’t actually be sitting next to me. But that’s not my point.)

I have no idea if there’s a basis for my not taking Communion because of my grudge against this woman. All I know is that, when it came down to it this Sunday, I did not feel like I should. And I’ve never stopped myself from taking Communion before, not since I came into the Church, so I hope I don’t appear to be scrupulous.

I think I should go to Confession, but I would like to know what you think. If I’m honest with myself, I don’t know how long it will take me to feel like I’ve moved past this. I’ve told myself countless times that I need to get over it, and yet the anger still flares up when I’m reminded of her or of what happened. My fiance has been (and continues to be) supportive, but I know it wears on him to be reminded of somebody who was such a nuisance. (He has forgiven her, though.) I also just don’t want to carry this with me anymore.

Any suggestions?

I think that you did well not to receive communion under the circumstances.

Please do take this to your confessor. There are things here, components, that need to be sorted through and he is in the best position to help you.

By components, I mean things like - hurt, anger, resentment, desire to withhold your blessing to her (couldn’t share a sign of peace) and / or even a desire to strike back (not that you would)…

Coming to forgiveness can be a very difficult thing when one is dealing with these various components - So please do talk things over with your confessor.

Peace
James

I agree that you should discuss this with a priest in confession, especially the fact that you said some ugly things about this person.

However, you also have the problem of not being able to move on with your life. When you think about it, holding a grudge is allowing someone else’s evil actions to have power over you. From my own personal experience, I know this can be difficult to get rid of, but I finally found a way: Every time you feel hurt by what this woman did, offer up the pain for the intention of her soul.

After all, this is what Jesus did for us. While on the cross he offered up his pain for us.

A good rule of thumb is that if you think you should go to Confession, you should.

I have been in a similar situation and know it’s really hard to let go of that grudge. A combination of confession and praying for the person (not for her to be sorry, but for God’s will for her) really helped. But it did take time - and several confessions. :o

Thank you, everybody. Your answers are all great, and I appreciate the time you took to answer me.

I will be seeing a priest this week. I have felt out of sorts in regards to Mass for a while now, though I couldn’t figure out why. I have always loved attending Mass, always treasured Communion, and this feeling was foreign to me. It was only a comment made at RCIA (I’m a volunteer) the other night that brought it to light for me and made me see that I’ve harbored ill will towards a person I’ve never even met, and that this grudge was a sin I couldn’t just shrug off.

Not taking Communion this Sunday hurt deeply. I didn’t decide not to go up until the last minute – I wasn’t sure if I’d be strong enough to remain kneeling. Even so, I don’t feel strong. It really did feel like a physical pain. But I see it as a pain that will finally lead to healing. Kind of like having to re-break a bone that never set correctly, if that makes sense.

It is not easy to forgive and forget, but with God’s help it is possible. Seek his assistance in every way you can. Prayer would be a good start. Confession would be helpful too. If I were you, I would go ahead and take Communion, receiving God’s grace with humility and contrition, but I understand this may be impossible if you are filled with resentment at the very moment of the sacrament.

Look back to when this trouble started. The other person actively harmed you, and you had immediate feelings and reactions which were difficult if not impossible to control. Now that appears to be over (thank God for that), but still you are struggling with your memories of those past events. In other words, the problem now has less to do with the other person, and more to do with your reactions. That is the injury which remains, and forgiveness may be a key to your healing.

I am praying for you, and I urge you to pray when your spirit is burdened. Pray for the person who harmed you, that God’s grace may help her to grow in faith and become more loving. No matter how bad you think she is, we pray with hope for her, because all things are possible with God. Let us pray for God’s blessings upon you and your fiancé. May the Holy Spirit assist you with your troubles, bring you peace and hope, and guide you always toward a life of greater love.

Thank you very much. I feel the sincerity of your message, and I will pray for her. I was an atheist for ten years before I came into the Church. I know she is not beneath my prayer, because I was not the beneath the prayers of so many other people, even when I openly mocked their faith. That is what I need to remind myself of when I’m thinking unkind thoughts or saying unkind things about her. She’s no worse than I am or ever have been. I’m no better than she is. We are all sinners, and we are all loved by God.

God bless you and everyone who answered.

Get a pencil and paper.

Write her a letter.

Write in great detail, get everything down on paper, as if she was standing in front of you and you were telling her face to face.

Pour your whole heart and all your emotions into this letter.

When it’s written, take it out back, and burn it, watching the smoke rise to the heavens.

Say a prayer to God, to take it, Bless it, and Bless her.

Wish her well.

And let her go.

Sarah x :slight_smile:

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