I once acted as counsel on a family law trial in which the support payor had grudgingly complied with a support order and gave the recipient a support cheque with the word “ztodziejstwo” noted on the front of the cheque. I didn’t know the meaning of that word let alone able to pronounce that word. Translated into English, the word means “thievery”. I also recall on another matter clear and express instructions that the children were not allowed to go to Disney World. The refusal to consent to the out of Country travel was rooted in the non-travelling spouse’s previous perception that the spouse had sped off from the spouse’s home on a care exchange that had occurred months before the request to travel to Disney. In both instances as counsel, I was left with the difficulty of attempting to understand why and how the spouses were essentially permitting the actions and entitlements of the other spouse and the children to control their own actions.

This topic could be an extensive book with so much to say but the purpose of this brief blog is to focus on the importance of oneself and the benefits of choosing your actions based on your own set of principles without negative emotions of the other spouse. For some this is impossible to do. Unfortunately, some spouses are unable to let go of grudges and some bitterness that arises from the things that we say and do to each other. Under no circumstances am I intending to minimize or cast away the absolute significance and serious impact of the other spouse’s behavior on you. I acknowledge how someone else’s negative treatment and conduct may affect you. From each of your tribulations there is also a trickle-down effect to those around you including friends, family and loved ones.

Refocus to Self-Focus

Frankly, you are responsible for promoting your own health and well-being. There are extensive benefits from letting go of grudges which may include:

  • Healthier Relationships with your ex-spouse and other family members ,
  • Improved Mental Health,
  • Enhanced Feeling Of Self Worth,
  • Increased Motivation And Self-esteem
  • Development Of Interests And Goals In More Positive And Fruitful Things,
  • Better Overall Health,
  • Ability To Manage Possible Symptoms Of Depression,
  • Improved Physical, Emotional And Mental Health And Well-being,
  • Talk with a mental health provider.

I recognize this is much easier said than done. Please note that this is just a short list of many areas that can be affected and improved as a result of letting go of grudges.

I do acknowledge that every situation is different. In fact, no two situations are the same. In addition to confiding in close friends and family wherever possible you should spend some time with counsellors and third-party professionals to simply talk about your situation. It is encouraged to talk to a professional. This is one reason to celebrate such days like Bell Let’s Talk Days to self-reflect and consider why you hold a grudge and possibly find a solution. To move from suffering to a proactive state with the goals of your own interests. Each of us have a tremendous amount of value to offer to others. Each of us can improve life for your neighbors. If you are having difficulties achieving a positive state and frame of mind, you can consider joining a support group.

As you let go of grudges you will be able to:

A process of self-focus and self-help can change your life through an enhanced sense of happiness and greater emotional stability, in addition:

  • Focus more on defining yourself and your life rather than how you have been hurt,
  • Acknowledge your emotions and to release your negative feelings
  • Keep work life separate from home life ,
  • Chose to forgive or at least not focus on the person who has offended,
  • Move away from the feeling of victim and focus on your growth and self-improvement,
  • Write down your thoughts in a journal and use self-help books,
  • Approach simple day-to-day tasks with a focus of finding something absolutely new and interesting ( for example a cup of coffee has a certain warmth, smell, taste, and no two cups are always the same and a blade of grass outside is unlike no other blade of grass),
  • There is always something new to learn about your external environment.

By letting go, it removes the power that the ex-spouse may continue to wield over you. Ultimately, you “win”, if you want to say it that way, through your self-accomplishments .

Family Law and Excessive Begrudgingly Behavior

It really doesn’t matter if the ex-spouse’s behavior changes. More importantly, it is whether that behavior continues to impact and shape your instructions in the separation process. Does the ex-spouse’s behavior continue to impact your lives. There are some mediators who advertise based on the fact that spouses will continue to remain amicable with each other as though each spouse still have some vested stake in the other spouse’s behavior and feelings. I could not disagree more with those mediators. I’ve heard multiple instances of the dynamics and problems within the families. To interchange the family law and mediation process with the therapy and counselling from the separation is a faux pau.

Difficulties in Lifting the Grudges

Holding a grudge with the ex-spouse does nothing for your self-development and advancement. In fact, it keeps you under the control of the ex-spouse. The potential effects of holding a grudge over the ex-spouse may be anger, bitterness, depression, and other significant mental health issues. Your mental and emotional health is of utmost importance and certainly more important than the past egregious action or omission portrayed by your ex-spouse.

By continuing to hold onto the past action and holding a grudge it validates that the perpetrated action against you was wrong and will always be wrong. But this allows those negative hostilities to take root and foster negative feelings within you. The result is an overcrowding of positive feelings.

Can you even imagine a sense of justice and right and wrong and fair and unfair if you are in a constant state of getting even or getting back against the other spouse? Rather than masquerading these innate traits with negative feelings and grudges you will be much more effective at instructing family law counsel if you can realistically focus on an objectively fair outcome.

Through addressing the grudges arising from the separation you will be much more reasonable within your own set of instructions during the family law matter.

Mark A. Simpson