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Ep. 112 – Moving Past Grudges

One of the biggest issues after divorce is holding grudges. In this episode Doreen & Jeff discuss the benefits of letting grudges go no matter who you are holding a grudge against. Learn some tips on how to get rid of grudges that could possibly hold you back from the life you desire after divorce.


Jeff: Hi, everybody. Today we’re going to be talking about a very important issue after divorce, which is holding grudges and forgiveness and how it will benefit you in your future. So if you’re ready, let’s get started.

Doreen: Are you ready to create a life that’s better than ever before? We are Doreen Yaffa and Jeff Wilson, and we are here to give you the strategies you need to create a life after divorce that you deserve and desire. As partners both in marriage and coaching, we use our expertise as well as our own personal experiences to help you make the next chapter of your life, the best chapter.

Hey, Jeff.

Jeff: Hi. How are you?

Doreen: Great. How are you?

Jeff: I’m doing fantastic.

Doreen: What’s going on?

Jeff: Oh, let’s see what’s going on. How about those dolphins? When in doubt, talk about football?

Doreen: Actually, they’re doing pretty good so far. But we were only two games in, so.

Jeff: Yeah. So looking forward to taking a trip up to

Doreen: Charlotte.

Jeff: Charlotte to see our eldest.

Doreen: Yes. I have become the, what do we want to. Well we have really become.

Jeff: Yeah. I would say the decoration, not the decoration team but the remodeling.

Doreen: So every time. Not every time. Well yeah, every time our 20 year old move into a new apartment or a dorm room, we go to their location and then within, I would say, two days, a weekend generally we redecorate, remodel
and put together their living quarters.

I think that if I wasn’t a coach and a divorce lawyer, I probably would have got into the decorating industry, an interior designer of sorts. I just love doing it. And you are great at hanging pictures. And getting the work done as usually
I take the whichever girl I’m with and we go out shopping and understand
their vision and then put it all together. It’s really fun.

Jeff: It is a lot of fun.

Doreen: It is fun.

Jeff: The before and after.

Doreen: So my oldest, who just turned 26. She just moved into her own apartment. This is the first time she is living by herself and she needs a little help or she wants a little help.

Jeff: I guess it’s our way of getting invited.

Doreen: Yeah. We become useful and needed. Always something that we love to do as parents, right? No matter how old they are.

Jeff: So holding a grudge?

Doreen: Let’s turn the subject to holding grudges after divorce. What that looks like. And let’s start really with understanding who we might be holding a grudge against.

Jeff: Well, let’s first talk about what is a grudge.

Doreen: We can start there. That sounds good.

Jeff: The definition, of course, I always like to go to the Googles and they say it’s a persistent that’s a keyword feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury.

Doreen: Yeah, I think that pretty well defines it, doesn’t it?

Jeff: It does. So and there’s many you know, again, I think you had brought
up there’s many different types of people or situations that we can hold a grudge against.

Doreen: Yeah. I mean, obviously one of them would be your ex, you know, that’s the one that stands out. But you could be holding grudges based on something that happened during your divorce. Maybe a family member
that said the wrong thing or you perceived said the wrong thing. Because remember, saying something is a circumstance. It’s a sentence. And as we teach the model, we know that the thought we have about what somebody says is up to us. You know, as humans, we control our thoughts. And then that would result in a feeling.

In this case, we’re talking about the feeling of a grudge and then the action line is what you do with that. And then the result is a result you have in your life. So that’s just a little background on what we use as a constant way of our coaching practice is what we call the model. So it’s a circumstance thoughts, feelings, action, results.

Jeff: Or in action.

Doreen: I think I just went into the weeds on that a little bit.

Jeff: That’s okay. It’s better. It’s kind of understandable.

Doreen: But anyhow, so you could certainly hold a grudge most commonly against your ex. That’s something, you know, kind of given. But as I was saying, you may be holding a grudge against a family member that maybe said the wrong thing or maybe it’s a friend that wasn’t supportive or maybe a coworker that wasn’t there for you or that you perceive was in there for you. It could be a number of people. And, you know, we have kind of this ongoing, I don’t want to say saying, but I guess it’s a thought that I see with many of my clients going through divorce is you learn quickly who your friends are.

You know, and this shows up in a lot of different ways because many times, of course, in marriages, you have the couples that you tend to go out with and to socialize with, right? You go out to dinner with the same couples. Maybe you go to their homes for various events. You have certain people over for the holidays that includes family and friends. You know, like you have these relationships. And then when you go through a divorce, those relationships can become stressed and maybe one person could or a couple could align with one of you versus the other. Finding it challenging to be friends to both of you.

And so we have this expression you find out who your friends are, right?

Jeff: Right. And it could be that, you know, they don’t see your side and your perception is they’re not your friend or they’re not seeing it your way. However, it could be where they just are aligning themselves with what
they are feeling and what their thoughts.

Doreen: Right, Right.

Jeff: So it’s nothing to hold a grudge against. It’s just something that they’re
just seeing things differently.

Doreen: Well, and like we say, people hold grudges due to both real and perceived wrongdoing.

Jeff: Exactly.

Doreen: You know, either way, the bitterness that comes with a grudge, even if it’s understandable and justified, comes with a price.

Jeff: It sure does. I mean, studies say that grudges after divorce that grow and grow and grow can lead to mental and even physical issues such as it could be depression, anxiety, even cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure, even immune system problems. And a higher risk of stroke.

Doreen: Experts believe that, from what I understand, is that the best way to let go of a grudge is to practice forgiveness. Easier said than done. Right?

Jeff: Easier said than done. Well, they say it’s simple, but not easy.

Doreen: Forgiveness does take time. So the first thing is to allow yourself
the time to heal and forgive. And this can allow you to move on with your life and embrace new, healthier relationships after your divorce. So holding on to a grudge doesn’t serve you. And practicing forgiveness is the key to really helping yourself.

Jeff: You know, I think the key is that forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean that you condone where the grudge came from or your exes or even someone else’s behavior. It simply means that you’re letting go of anger, bitterness and resentment that led up to you holding a grudge you know, practicing forgiveness allows you to turn the corner from feeling like a victim to becoming more empowered, more empowerment. And, you know, so that’s what really forgiveness is, is taking back control.

Doreen: Well, let’s look at the Google definition of forgiveness as well.

Jeff: Okay.

Doreen: And I’m sorry, my voice seems a little raspy today. I keep trying to get past that, so I apologize. But the definition of forgiveness that we found in the Googles is stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, a flaw or a mistake. Right?

Jeff: That’s a good definition.

Doreen: So what I’ve come to realize is that forgiveness is more of a perspective and a practice rather than about an act. Does that make sense?

Jeff: I like that because the perspective meaning that the way you’re looking at it and the way your thoughts are.

Doreen: Correct.

Jeff: I like that. You know, forgiving is one way of letting go of your old baggage so that you can heal and move forward with a new life after divorce.

Doreen: Absolutely. It’s about giving yourself the kind of future you deserve
without recycled anger. Right?

Because once you hope you’re holding on to that anger, that anger festers in all kinds of way that are really destructive and a lack of focus on what you should be focusing on, because you only have let’s think about this realistically. You only have so much energy in a day, right?

Energy in your thoughts, energy in your movement, energy where you place your efforts. And if you’re holding on to resentment that shows up as anger.

That anger is a use of that energy right? So using that energy in a more positive way towards your future goals requires you to get over it first, to move past it, to really understand it, and to get to kind of what I’m going
to call a place of peace with it.

Jeff: Because it’s about choosing to live a life where others don’t have power over you.

Doreen: Right. Right.

Jeff: And you’re not dominated by unresolved issues that may never be resolved.

Doreen: And sometimes you just need to, in from our perspective, realize that there are differences and in perception and in thoughts, in past issues, there’s differences in the way that each of us perceive those. Right?

So you may never have a meeting of the minds. You may never bring a person that you’re holding a grudge against into a place where they agree with you. It’s you know that expression, let’s agree to disagree and move on. Let’s agree that we have differences, but how do we heal and move on so that we can live together in a world in the future that makes sense and doesn’t drag each of us down? Right?

But I also want to suggest that the first thing is probably to recognize who you’re holding the grudges against. I mean, recognize portion of that is the first key because, you know, when Jeff and I were discussing the topic of today’s podcast episode, what I brought to his attention is that, you know, for example, if you’re holding a grudge against your ex, you may be in a situation
where you never need or want to have a conversation or relationship
with your ex in the future again, ever. And that’s a decision that you need to make.

So if you’re holding a grudge with someone that you never want a relationship or need to have a relationship in the future with, you know,
that’s one thing you need to recognize. And when I say need to have a relationship in the future, for example, you may have an ex, obviously you may have children together and those children might be adults at this level, you know, at this time. But you’re still going to be connected to your ex and to his family or her family because of your children. You will share events in the future. Likely such as weddings, you know, babies that are born, graduations, grandchildren, all of these experiences. And there is another side to that equation, which is your ex and the exes family and maybe friends of your ex.

So holding grudges with those people will have a bearing on the type of relationship that you have. And I want to suggest may even trickle down and affect your children.

Jeff: That’s true.

Doreen: You know, one of the things that I think I want to toot my own horn
about and pride myself on is that we worked my ex, Sam and I worked very hard at forgiveness because we at the time had three, you know, minor children together. Now they’re all in their twenties. But because we were able to forgive and move forward, we were able then to have a co-parenting that included all kinds of situations that many people have commented on throughout the years seem strange to them such as sitting on an event, let’s say, you know, as you all well, many of you know, our kids, one of our children played D1 volleyball and so we would go to the volleyball tournaments together and the games and sit together as an extended family.

Think about what that means to your child who’s on the court that looks up and sees two parents that she loves, who say hello to each other, that, you know, sit next to each other, that clap and cheer for her and go to lunch with her or dinner with her after the event as a union, as a family.

Jeff: Or in our case, three parents. You know, I’m sitting there right next to Sam. And a lot of people comment on that. I remember staying in Sam’s house after hurricane when we had no power.

Doreen: Right.

Jeff: And we’re like, wait a minute, you’re staying at the ex’s house?

Doreen: Because the fact that we had lost power and we were dealing with a hurricane and the repercussions affects everyone in family, right?

Because it was the children’s home as well. So he happened to be out of town
and he said, you’re more than welcome to come over, bring the dogs and stay at my place. And the kids know this. And what a lesson in teaching our children about forgiveness, not holding grudges and moving on.

Jeff: Well, that is one way. I was reading a book just this morning and they said that is one of the benefits of forgiveness, is you’re teaching a lesson to your children.

Doreen: Absolutely. That saying that they learn by way of not what you tell them, but what you do. Your actions speak louder than your words. You know, and you may not feel that it’s so important at the moment because they’re young or, you know, whatever is going on. But you do see the benefits of those types of forgiveness, forgiveness and relationships in the future when they go through their own issues with people in their life and when they have to practice forgiveness or should when they are holding grudges by way of the example that you present to them. Right?

Jeff: You know, and on the other side, you know, going the opposite direction, if you have a grudge against the next that you have no relationship with, there are no children, there are no, you know, parents or anything, do it for yourself.

Doreen: Right.

Jeff: You know, do it for yourself. We talked about the health benefits, the mental benefits of it. You know, do this for your own future.

Doreen: Right. So let’s talk about what do we have here? Six tips. I think it’s six tips. So let’s talk about the six tips that through our research, we were able to come up with and give you some practical ways  to consider moving forward and getting past the first one.

Well, the first one is pretty apparent. It’s acknowledged and become aware
of your feelings, your feelings of resentment and anger, then come up with the intention to let them go. So the first is awareness and then realizing, yes, I am aware of this, this grudge that I’m holding for this person, and I intend on trying to work past this and letting go.

Jeff: That’s awesome.

Doreen: So it’s really two things in one. Right?

Jeff: And then once you’re aware then you can take responsibility for your part in the conflict or what is going on with you and your ex. And usually, you know, there’s an old saying, it takes two to tango. Doing just this can change the dynamic of the whole relationship. It’s not easy. Again it’s very difficult
maybe or maybe very easy for you, but apologize to the other person
if and when appropriate.

Doreen: Right. I know it’s hard for a lot of people to get there. So, again, you know, we started this episode by talking about time giving yourself the time. And you may be in a place after your divorce that you first need to work on yourself and whatever that looks like for you before you can get to this place of now working on relationships, past relationships and future relationships and grudges, because it just takes time, you know, be kind and gentle with yourself.

I think we are always well, I shouldn’t say always, but we many times are our worst enemy. We expect things of ourselves that we would never expect
of our best friend or someone we love. Like we will talk to our best friend
and say, you know what? Give yourself time. You need to heal. You need, you know, you’ve been through a lot. We don’t talk to ourselves like this. So right yourself that the time.

Jeff: You don’t have a grudge against yourself. And play the blame game where if you’re blaming yourself or something, you could hold yourself accountable and have a grudge against yourself.

Doreen: Well, you know, that’s another thought is that you may be holding grudges as you the first exercise which is recognizing, you know, acknowledging becoming aware of your feelings and then who you’re holding the grudge against, it could be against yourself. That’s a very good point, Jeff.

Jeff: Thank you.

Doreen: So the third thing is about don’t allow your thoughts to grow. Challenge your beliefs and thoughts about holding on to your hurt feelings. Like really get into almost like a debate with yourself because processing what happened briefly will allow you to let resentment go so you can move on to healthier relationships.

In other words, like basically, I want to sum it up by saying, looking at the big picture, really acknowledging both sides, right?

Jeff: It’s also important that you express your thoughts and your feelings
coming from a sense of respect. You know, resentment can grow when people sweep things under the rug or they don’t want to take a good, strong
look at themselves. So be vulnerable and don’t bury or hide your negative feelings.

Doreen: That’s a big one. I just read something about and that was number four, but I just read something about setting boundaries versus avoidance. Well, boundaries is a whole different issue. And we’ve done a couple podcasts
in the past about that, but avoidance is not the same as forgiveness.

Jeff: Right.

Doreen: Avoidance is what it is. It’s still there. It’s still festering. Your thoughts are still going there, but you’re just trying to avoid it or ignore it. And that just never works. You have to move past and through that emotion in order to get to the other side of it.

So sweeping things, as you said, under the rug is not where it is. It’s about being vulnerable and basically bringing those negative feelings to fruition, to letting yourself work through them.

The fifth thing we want to talk about is acceptance. Acceptance that everyone, all humans, are unique in their own special way. And so we suggest, you know, attempting to have more understanding. You know, again, as we said before, this doesn’t condone the issue. It doesn’t mean that you’re agreeing with the other person, but you simply have come to a more realistic view of the past about both people’s, you know, perspectives.

Jeff: And the last one, number six, is practicing forgiveness. You know, we need to learn to think like a forgiving person and become one. Stop holding the grudge and declare yourself free from that victim mentality. You know, we’re all imperfect. And for some people, genuine forgiveness may not be possible, but a little acceptance is and is a worthy goal.

Doreen: Right. In other words, you don’t have to forget and or totally forgive. Right? It may not be possible for you based on what happened and the magnitude of the issue.

Jeff: They say the memory will always be there. But what you do with that
memory can change.

Doreen: And that’s what makes all the difference. You know, and again,
as we started this episode, we talk about why it’s important to try to find peace here, because it will have and it does have negative effects on you to live in that place of anger, to live in that place of having a grudge. Right?

Jeff: Exactly.

Doreen: All of the health issues we discussed, it truly is physical, but more importantly, well, equally important is, again, that energy that you’re spending there and where you could be spending it. Right?

Jeff: Right. And in closing, you know, one thing I want to say is, you know, do your best to adopt the mindset of a being a forgiving person, even if your ex-spouse doesn’t ask for forgiveness. Remember, you are on the same team, especially if you’re raising children together.

Practicing forgiveness signifies breaking the cycle of pain and giving up the belief that the other person should suffer as much or even more than you do.

Doreen: That’s important because over time it will allow you to create a new chapter in your life after divorce, like I just said. And it is a step towards your most amazing life in the future.

Jeff: Absolutely.

Doreen: You know, it just really is.

Jeff: And one thing that you said about there’s only certain many hours in the day where there’s only a certain amount of days and weeks and months in our life.

Doreen: Right.

Jeff: And you might as well cherish every moment.

Doreen: Absolutely. You know, we’re often reminded about that when we see people that get ill or die. You know, it really brings home the fact that we are here for a defined set of days and years. So use those days and years to create the life you want on purpose. Make the best of it.

Jeff: Let’s end on a quote.

Doreen: I love quotes. We’ve only done two so far, so we might as well throw a third one in.

Jeff: Well, we only did. We haven’t done anything.

Doreen: We do definitions. I stand corrected.

Jeff: Okay. You want to end it or you want me to

Doreen: No you go ahead.

Jeff: Okay.

Doren: I thought you came up with

Jeff: Suzanne Somers. We all know her.

Doreen: Well. I don’t know if we all know her, but certain generations know her.

Jeff:  It’s true. Well, hopefully there’s some young ones out there. They don’t know who she is.

Doreen: Three’s. Company.

Jeff: Yes.

Doreen: That was a fun. That was a fun show back in the day.

Jeff: I found it a little annoying, but that’s okay.

Doreen: No,

Jeff: Love her quote. She says, Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.

Doreen: Yes.

Jeff: And it’s kind of what we’ve been talking about that, you know, most of the benefits of being a forgiving person and letting go of grudges are going to be for yourself.

Doreen: Absolutely. Alright everyone.

Jeff: Well, thank you.

Doreen: We look forward to speaking to you next week as we always say, be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. In this episode, we want to suggest forgive, move on and create the best life you can.

Jeff: Absolutely.

Doreen: We’ll talk to you next week.

Jeff: Bye bye.

Doreen: Bye.

Jeff: You have the vision of what you want your life to look like after divorce, but maybe you just don’t know how to get there. So if you’re ready to take control of your life and want to find out more about our coaching, visit us at That’s L A D as in life after divorce dash

Doreen: Until next time, have an amazing rest of your day. And remember, yes, you can have an amazing life after divorce.

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