Holding A Grudge For Years…

Years ago in my youth, I had an experience which bugged me and stayed with me for years. I was 19 and just arrived back in New Zealand, after spending some time in Australia. After doing first year varsity courses at Massey University, i decided not to go to a second year, but go ka’a in Australia. Got back home and it was good to see mum and my younger bother. Dad was out of town at the time, so i expected to come home to just mum and the bro. I got home and found that my uncle had been staying at home for a few weeks. Uncle was the drifting type, he would stay with my other uncles and aunts for periods of time before moving on. I’m sure you all have the drifting relative, semi annoying because they tend to free load without contributing to the household expenses…
Walking though the door, i was welcomed with the “hey!”, my immediate thoughts were “ugh.. um what are you doing here???”, externally it was “Hey Uncle, great to see you…”. I smelt some alchohol also, which irked me a little. i was tired so dropped my gears and bailed straight to the sofa (as you do). After settling in, my brother was quick to report Uncle’s doings and what he wasn’t doing etc, and how it was annoying to have him at home. The folks apparently had tried to coax him into going flatting but this wasn’t successful. He was trying to hang around as long as possible. I had only just walked in and i wasn’t really in the mood to be making any judgements about Uncle’s situation.

I was talking to my brother, when i noticed that Mum and Uncle were starting to raise their voices in the kitchen. Uncle has only got in just before i did, he had been drinking at the local bar. Initially, i wasnt overhearing them, but the conversation was such that while listening to the bro, i was trying to figure out what was being said in the kitchen. It started to worry me, so i jumped up so i could see what was happening..As i was making my way to them, i heard Mum scream, it’s a scream that i will remember until i am gone from this earth…

I got to the kitchen to find Mum on the ground, Uncle had punched her, my brother rushed in also and comforted her.. i yelled “you fucken bastard” and rushed and tackled him. It was all on, we were fighting furiously. I pushed him out the door and were both outside, my brother ran out also and we were both kicking and punching him as hard as we could. Two on one, but we didn’t care, he was going to feel our anger for a long time to come.. It was violent and it was bloody, my brother dropped off the fight, and went back to Mum.. i didn’t stop and had absolutely no intention of doing so, Uncle was going to feel my fury..

I was tired, from punching him, but i didn’t stop.. i could hear Mum crying and pleading.. “Son, that’s enough, it’s over, please stop”.. I was done.. By this time, the whole neighbourhood had pretty much gathered, and watching from the section boundary wasn’t enough, they had come right up the driveway. Some of the immediate neighbours improvised and climbed on their garage roofs to get a better view of the action. The police had arrived and cuffed Uncle, i watched him being driven away and thinking, what the hell just happened, it was all surreal.. I felt anger and sadness at the same time. Millions of thoughts were racing through my mind about what had just unfolded..

The night was spent comforting Mum and we were all in a state of shock of what happened..

The police called.. asking if someone was going to pick up Uncle.. i said i would. I drove to the Police Station and had him released.. had all his stuff in the car too. He said sorry in the car, but that was too late for me. I didn’t say a word,  instead i was thinking that he’s lucky i haven’t knocked him out again.. I stopped at the local bus depot, and said “don’t ever come back”…

Dad arrived home the next day, asking where his brother was.. I said “Well… something happened….”

It would be 2 years before Uncle would be in our midst again, at a family gathering. Everyone in the family knew what had gone down so there an atmosphere of some trepidation.. was something going to happen?? I literally stayed at one end of the venue. I didn’t want mine and Uncle’s path to ever cross again. I hated him still. My mother had long forgiven Uncle and i watched her go to him and they had a conversation. Everything was back to normal it seems for them. It wasn’t for me as far i was concerned. Mum said to me, “Ia fa’amagalo ma fa’agalo ga mea ua leva ga pasi” (forgive and forget). I shook my head, no way!

The family gathering came and went without myself an Uncle talking. Family opinion seemed to be divided equally as to the rights and/or wrongs of my stance.. I didn’t care really. I felt totally comfortable with my stance..

Another family gathering 2 years later, and i hadn’t changed an iota. Mum came to me and asked if i could stop being stubborn, she was over it and i should be too. I’m thinking ummm “stubborn?” i’m just being “right” and nothing else. After chilling out for some time, i relaxed and realised.. maybe it’s time to end this.. it was time to end this 4 year grudge.. it wasn’t plain sailing but.. we managed to have a conversation… I guess all was forgiven, but there would be no way i can ever forget this..

Have you ever had a long standing grudge? How long is it before a grudge goes from “justified” to just being plain stubborn?

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Born and bred in New Zealand with samoan heritage.. For a major part of my life, i have been able to do 2 things that have given much joy, as a musician, travelling the country and performing at all sorts of gigs, from large church conventions to sports bars, clubs, corporate functions, school balls etc and sport, having the chance to play rugby, league, basketball and volleyball,, and now for a new challenge, writing blogs 🙂 and staying on that yellow brick road 🙂

12 thoughts on “Holding A Grudge For Years…

  1. Well it is kinda hard to forgive and forget, but when you think agen Jesus was crucified he didnt deserve that, but it was all cause of us.
    Jesus still forgave us even though he went through bashing, whipping especially having to be put on the cross with nail going through his hands and feets he still LOVES us and he FORGAVE & FORGOT that very moment he was crucified.
    what i’m trying to say is FOGIVE which you have, but FORGET my friend.
    much alofas to use all who read this

  2. dang man! forgiveness is one of the hardest things in the world to do, it all comes down to forgiving the actions of others on the ‘inside’ -- once everything is cool with how you feel about it, then the rest is easy.

    all in good time!

    but in general, grudges aint cool to hold onto. 🙂

    keep it up bro!

    one love.

  3. jenjen, thanks for your comment! you’re right, forgiving is easy, forgetting isn’t. over the years, i have learned to how shall i put it, train myself into reacting sensibly, whenever i came across my uncle. and as john also said, everyone else carries on as per normal, which i can understand.. when you’re not central to the incident, you will forget, and as per john, that is also another catalyst to react. in the end, we do need to find a way that puts our minds at ease when we deal with a situation and as john has highlighted, we can be comfortable with the fact that forgiving and forgetting can be independent of one another.

    jenjen and john62, thanks heaps for your input!!

  4. i’ve had a few thoughts about this article based on my personal experience that is, essentially, similar to Overstayer’s experience, but different family members involved.

    JENJEN’s comment really helped me to be okay with the fact that i hadn’t forgotten the misdeeds against me. i believed that forgiveness meant forgetting, i felt bad about myself because i figured if i truly forgave then why can’t i forget; especially, because everyone else in the family carries on as if nothing ever happened, which further stirs the upsetting memory in my mind. now, i feel like i’m okay with myself because ‘forgiving’ and ‘forgetting’ does not require one, nor the other.

    THANKS for the blog and thank you for the commentaries!

  5. Malo lava! and thanks for sharing. Its a sad story but an understandable one. You know, the one thing that i learned, especially when it comes to immediate family, is that forgiving is easy, its the forgetting thats hard. The scene, like you said, is in your head verbatim. The relationship btwn you and your uncle will NEVER be the same, that is to be expected. Forgiving doesn’t mean you just take it out of your head and go back to the same relationship you and ya uncle had. Its about moving on with the memory and not reacting to it when you do see him. i guess its about control, eh?

  6. Heyas Jayfoo and Hood!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂 When you have an experience like mine or any experience where it becomes entrenched in your very soul, it’s very hard to forget. It’s as real to me now as it was back then, you know.. you can play out the scene in your head verbatim. Forgetting can be a very difficult thing to do..

  7. yes exactly like Tiger: WELCOME 2 ALA MAI OVERSTAYER! 😀

    very powerful blog uso.. i guess when it comes to family and grudges feelings like that will alwaes be there.. but when it comes to violence and the exteneded family well then thats just something every1z either gonna add their 2 senes in everything like alwaes or turn a blind eye 2..

    muj luv Overstayer!

  8. firstly..WELCOME OVERSTAYA

    I can understand you, i would think the same..its not a ‘stubborn’ thing rather a decision i belive is ‘right’. Plus you would do anything to protect your family or mother in this case.
    Yes i have a long grudge, i think i hold onto to it because im still hurt and healing from it, so its not an easy thing to forgive/forget about. I do try too…over 10years now and i still have hatred / bitterness towards someone.

    all n all it was a great read.
    😀

  9. Agelu, Lofz, Maosi Tuitele..

    Many thanks for your feedback! I think the point made about crossing them out unless an honest change is seen is a good one. There is a tendency from a fa’asamoa and a religious point of view, that we should forgive the transgressors of all crimes.. I know i can never do that personally myself. Maosi, you also make a good point that unless offenders are constantly reminded of their crime, then it’s most likely they will continue to offend, those who believe in rehabilitation would argue against such actions naturally..

    Malo Lava Le Fa’amalosi

  10. my answer is no… you cant let up on this kind of behavior…

    and the reason i say this is cause i know from the point of view of the offender that this is the kind of thing that once you let up that it is bound to allow it to happen again…

    this is the kind of thing that teaches us that we need to change and im grateful for your persistence in this matter…. all props to you

  11. I can understand your grudge, and understand why you will never forget what happened. I believe you can forgive a person but that’s doesn’t mean you have to be all good with them form that point on. Once someone does me wrong, i cross them out unless i see an honest change in them.
    If i were you i’d probably never forgive him for as long as he were a drifting drunk.
    They say if you never forgive someone, then you give them the power to control you (your emotions) so you have to forgive them in order to move on. I say this yet i myself still hold a strong grudge against a couple of people in my immediate family. I will never forgive them, it’s not ’cause i’m stubborn, but ’cause they’re kaepus. In this case your uncle was a kaepu, so i feel yah on that situation.

  12. well i kinda got the same thing here….except it wasnt an uncle but my moms husband..me and the MOFO got into a fist fight…shIItt it was good to let it on the MF..he did the something to my mom and to my 5 year old sister except he did worse to my own mother…i still havent forgiven him for being so stupid and givng me a punch in the jaw but that didnt back me down from a fight..i might call myself Stubborn with a capital S..lol..but i will forever hold a grudge against him for almost messing up my relationship between me and my mother and for coming into my family..
    Manuia le aso

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