This is what I've learned. I will start...by saying, I honestly don't hold onto anger or hold "grudges" very long. That's because I've learned to process my anger and get rid of it pretty fast. Processing is a coping mechanism. Everyone gets angry....and anger is always legitimate to the person. Having a "right" to be angry is based on you...the person angry and it's always in your "right" to be angry. Expressing your anger verbally to another person is also in your "right" to do so...but your dancing a fine line and skating on thin ice...is you can't express your anger and tell the other person "why" your angry both at the same time.
Reactive expression of anger is irrational in respect....only to the other person. It's tells them nothing except...that you're angry.... if you fail to connect what you are angry about...to what is happening now in the moment. If your angry about something that happened in the past...and don't connect it to the past and then connect it to the same thing that keeps happening but now in the present moment.....and you're expressing and voicing your anger to them about what they just did now in the present time;...there (can be) a complete loss of context for the listener...unless you can communicate that to them now...in the present moment.
In other words....if you are holding onto the anger from the past and you remain angry about it continuously, chronically, and it never gets resolved....you are holding a grudge. You got a"bone" to pick....a "chip" on your shoulder....and that anger never truly goes away. It's just there until the next time...and gets added onto what is already there underneath (that you may not even be aware of yourself) by the other person throwing salt in the wound each time they do the same thing again...but now in the future.
But on the part of the other person.....they only know what they did right now this very minute. Stop right there.
If a person is in denial of their "anger". Repeat....denial of their "anger"... and they don't realize they are just angry all the time but have gotten so use to being angry all the time and they are just carrying it around with them constantly... YOU the listener, will have no idea what they are angry about unless they tell you exactly what it is that is making them so angry about in an on going basis...specifically.
If both people are in denial of their own anger..... and both are holding onto past anger and don't realize what lurking below....that is...this unresolved anger that's just waiting for the shoe to drop and for the other person to do what they the next time....this I see as a problem. It doesn't matter the reasons "why"....it only matters that this unresolved anger "exits" in the first place. It could be from your childhood. It could be from your job or other times or events in your life.....and it could be from the anger you feel in your marriage and everything in between?
Coping...is the ability to resolve and process anger and get rid of it....now...or very shortly after.
Inability to "cope" causes holding onto anger and it never really goes away. If this is the case your marriage I feel....this is what I'm calling "The Permanent Grudge". Any anger from the past that you are still angry about...now...in the future......is irrational anger since it's not in context to what is happening now...in the present time since it makes no sense...in context...to what is happening now.
A person who is not connecting their past anger...to what is happening now (who can't remember what it was that they were angry about before ....or what someone else was angry with them about) is not going to understand you when you are angry with them now in the present moment....since the past event does not exist in their memory of it. It's blocked either from being in denial of what they do makes you angry. Not present in their working memory of the past. Haven't learned yet....why you are angry with them...or has no idea what they are angry about in reality. Reality being...in the "now"
If I think about this.....there is only the present moment when you are speaking to someone live. There is no past involved...right now at the present moment... as the sound is coming from your voice and reaching another persons ears.
That right there...is the problem with being in a state of "Permanent Grudge" and just holing onto past anger and expressing it now at the present time. The person on the receiving end of this...will have no idea what you are angry about unless you can tell them...and connect the past to the present moment. Literally....every time you express anger at all...now...... to the person standing in front you.
Of course....if that person is in denial or YOUR anger....they can't hear you....don't understand why your angry ...and can't connect what you are angry about right now in the moment and will just get defensive with you. Defensiveness...is a defense mechanism from a lacking in ability to cope and resolve anger and emotions to past events or even in the present for that matter.
IF...YOU are in denial of your own anger...and YOU aren't communicating what YOU are angry about to that other person right now in the moment...and assuming they understand YOU...by simply just reacting emotionally and irrationally and not speaking in plain English what you are angry about.... why you are angry....... and what your anger is all about this very minute in the moment since that's when you are expressing it to them. IF it's YOU who's doing this. Then you're the one in denial of your own anger. At least this is what I believe is actually true
Anytime you hear someone being defensive....they aren't listening and hearing you. They are effectively....blocking everything your saying...and throwing it right out the window as fast as you say it to them since what they are angry about has nothing to do with them as they see and it's all you who's angry and they have done nothing wrong.
If you are assuming they hear you...and they can't even remember what you said before....then you aren't getting, that they didn't hear you in the first place (in the past) and they have no memory or context and the ability to connect.... to what is actually happening now (no context or referencing ability) every single time you keep getting angry about the same thing. 1 time....or 100 times. It will make no difference. Your anger is not getting heard, understood or even remembered if they are in denial and being defensive. If you assume any of this and not realize this...you will be assuming wrong.
As I just tried to describe this. This is a person in denial. They aren't going to know what you are talking about...unless you make it clear to them each and every time you say the same thing because what you said in the past....never really happened. Not technically true..but functionally yes.
What I see here on this forum mostly when it comes to anger on either side? You've been with this person so long...and these things have been unresolved for so long ... that both people are ina "Permanent Grudge" and both people are doing exactly the same thing with each other...and no one is either learning, coping, processing or resolving the anger from the past and it just all "chronic" anger and completely irrational.
If that's the case and one person is just reacting with reactionary anger...blowing up without warning and just spewing it everywhere. They don't even know why they're angry....they're just angry...and expressing it while you are in the room with them. Nothing they say will be able to be connected to what they are really angry about...yet they will think it's you who caused it since you just hit that button and 'POP...out comes (the same past anger) that is lurking there just waiting for you to hit that button and out comes that same anger on top of what you just did to trigger it again and again every time you do it. It won't make sense to you. They will say all kinds of crazy things and accuse you of kind of crazy stuff you didn't do...except for possibly the "ONE" thing that you did do right now...but with it comes the rest of it and that's all just crazy irrational past anger resurfacing again.
If I'm not mistaken....this is called operant conditioning. It happens over time. The longer you are conditioned to it....the harder you will be able to see yourself doing it. And if both people have conditioned each other this way. Both people are doing it...both are not coping....both are not resolving...and both are going to appear irrational to each other and no one is hearing or listening to each others anger......in the moment....and no one is actually understanding what the other person is really angry about.
Unless you can get completely rid of all your past anger entirely...and bring it forward into the "NOW" moment...there is a very high chance...your doing this. I can tell you from this experience personally doing this very thing myself...and........ being on the receiving end of it as well. You may think you know why your angry....but your not...at least not right now in the moment...if you can't connect the past anger...to the present anger....and know exactly "why" you are angry. Only you know 'why"....no one else will ever know if you can't identify it and speak it into words that anyone can understand without having to "guess"...what's up your butt. IMHO
I hear the words......"crazy making" used here on this forum in referencing this very thing. This is what's "crazy making"....spoken in words I hope everyone can understand?
I think getting right down to it....this is what is actually happening with my wife. She is angry about something in the past long before she met me....but she has no idea what she is really angry about and can't tell me why? Only she knows the "why". If she can't tell me "why" specifically....I will never truly understand when she just reacts...and spews anger all over the place like a machine gun out of context....and can't speak in terms "in the now"...and say so in plain English...even if it's spoken in anger so I can understand it? I might have done something to trigger this anger....but this anger has nothing to do with me. I know this because she can't say what it is I did to make her angry...or when she does....it makes absolutely no sense to me. She will use excuses and accuse me of thing related to what I DID actually do....but her anger is out of context and she can relate what it is that is really upsetting her and why? If she could do that....i would understand her? I'm not defensive..don't get over emotional...and even if my feelings are hurt or I'm angry....I can....not react....not just spew....think about it....keep my mouth shut....and come back later to talk a bout it. I can do this. My wife cannot. I have a very long fuse...and I can take a lot of hits....before I reach the point where I am acting out of control and just reacting myself. You will rarely see....reactionary...blowing up....without of lot of speaking rationally and objectively and then with plenty of warning ahead of time. What makes me react or lose control....is when someone is rabid and coming at me and being completely irrational and not making sense...but at the same time...getting up im my face......and closing in on me. I finally got to a place.....where even that won't do it anymore with my wife as it did before. I'm not doing anything or reacting much all....but I do get tired of having someone throw what I say back in my face...and refusing to have an open discussion about why they're angry with me. I don't just blow up at my wife....but I do get angry with her for doing that chronically and repeatedly over and over with my best foot put forward and having my guard down in my attempt to "talk with this". That pisses me off....;but I in control of my anger over this now. I never discount the effect my ADHD has on her....but that's no excuse for her just to "REACT" in anger...and not hold "her mud" the same as I do in the same situation. I'm a good "mud holder"....that's all I'm saying. LOL
Using terms here to reinforce what I'm saying. If you have a bad day...and it's all built up and you aren't coping.....you might come home and kick the dog out of frustration just to release it since you're out of the ability to cope anymore. But shortly after...you realize why you kicked the dog once you had a chance to get past it and calm down.
But in the same context....if you've had a bad life....and your kicking the dog everyday....the you are in a state of "Permanent Grudge" because you "stuck" somewhere in time and still bring that same past anger along with you into the present time...since that past anger never really went away, never got resolved and you don't even realize this is what your doing...because your still anger about the same thing. If it happens again...or happens repeatedly over and over (the thing that makes you angry)....then your doing this....and it's you who needs to find a way to get rid of the past anger since is exactly what will happen when you don't and will appear irrational...and not making any sense to the other person hearing you express it if you think this is going to work and make them understand?
This kind of denial....is denial of your own anger if this is what is happening with you. I do believe this to be true and this it what I believe I've learned from this experience myself and how I came up with the term...."Permanent Grudge." It's a chronic state of mind that will never go away...unless you really know...what you are angry about and why? It will come out of you...in untold ways....the person you are with...will have no idea what you are REALLY angry about....that is....in the moment when are trying to express it to them.
Just my opinion....from observation and my own personal experience with it...and speaking objectively. For what it's worth.