How to let go and not hold grudges

Looking for serious responses only please

Long story short, there are 2-3 people at my shop who really made my life miserable when I first joined (and I'm not alone in my experience - someone unfortunately had to take 2 days of medical leave to go see a therapist).

I'm in a more senior position now and no longer directly work with these individuals, but I still see them at work and sometimes it makes my blood boil thinking about how I was treated.

I'm trying to let go and not let them live rent free in my head. I figured that time will cure everything (and to an extent it's working, as I'm less angry now that I was before).

I also try to make something good out of it. For example, I proactively make sure I don't treat my direct reports the same way due to my experiences.

Anyone else deal with something similar?

Comments (27)

Most Helpful
  • Intern in IB - Cov
Oct 2, 2022 - 2:35pm

"Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die"

Don't know who said it, but once I heard that quote, it made it a lot harder for me to hold grudges. I guess it made me feel like it was pointless to do so, and the feelings of anger hurt nobody but my own mental well-being 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Oct 3, 2022 - 3:00am

How do you strike the balance between detaching the emotion associated with the thing and being cognizant enough to not let the same thing happen again though?

Not necessarily asking exclusively about that work example but in general

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Oct 3, 2022 - 9:12am

Well I try to avoid avoid the circumstances that get me there. It also helps to try to view things from a long-term perspective and understand what truly matters and what doesn't. 

Having bad emotions isn't itself bad thing. It's healthy to recognize what makes you feel that way though and take steps to mitigate it. 

  • Prospect in Consulting
Oct 2, 2022 - 4:12pm

Extreme empathy works well for me. Everyone has a reason for the things that they do. Maybe they were going through a rough personal stretch and wrongly took it out on you. Maybe they were treated horribly when they first joined and thought it was "only fair" that your experience mimicked theirs. Or maybe their parents didn't love them enough and they derive their self worth from treating people like shit instead of something normal/healthy.

Regardless, you are out of that situation now. Any current mental energy you give to how you were treated is simply letting them win again.

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Oct 2, 2022 - 4:53pm
pavementroad, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I have handled this in two ways. First, I know this goes against the moral high ground (and I am not saying that the moral high ground is incorrect), but I take great solice in the fact that a lot of these assholes in finance usually find a way to screw themselves over sooner or later. Almost all of the people who treated me like shit have ended up divorced, cheated on, laid off, addicted to alcohol, etc. Not sure which came first, the shitty life events or the shitty personality, but no surprise that people who act this way at work end up in rough stretches in their personal lives. It's not like most people can turn the asshole mode on and off. Second, once you start getting older, get married, have kids, etc. you start to realize what really matters most in life so you naturally start giving less shits about grudges. I have 3 kids and when my first daughter was born, I instantly gave less shits about the bullshit at the office b/c I had bigger fish to fry.

Oct 3, 2022 - 7:40am
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:

"The best revenge is massive success" - Frank Sinatra

Oct 3, 2022 - 8:00am
richardchlenov, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I learned a long time ago that we hold a grudge as long as the person means something to us. I don't like negative emotions at all. The way I see it, anyone who has done something bad for me is bound to get it back. And I have my own life and there's no point in wasting time on other people. I especially don't understand the point of revenge. Why waste time on that when you can develop yourself.

Oct 3, 2022 - 10:38am
Dr. Rahma Dikhinmahas, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Had this issue a lot in the past, still have it to a degree.  Meditation has helped with it (and more generally with anything that takes my mind out of the present).

Of course a big problem with meditation is people have trouble getting started because too many teachers over-complicate it.

To solve that problem I highly recommend the YouTube videos of a guy named Light Watkins.  He makes it very easy.  

  • NA in IB-M&A
Oct 4, 2022 - 3:51pm

I know someone who had this happen at a major tech company, they got to a more senior position and fired the person.

Oct 4, 2022 - 4:10pm
Smoke Frog, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I had a really evil associate when I was a first year. I did two things to help move on.

  1. The best revenge is really to live well. Make sure your life is always up on the upswing. Make money, stay skinny, sleep with pretty girls.
  1. Get some type of revenge. You can't just let their nonsense slide or you will ruminate on it forever. Don't do anything illegal or anything that could blow back on you. But at least try.

In my case, I complained about him off the record a lot. I made a point to mention every time he was out. Just tried hard to be friendly with my group and just bad mouth him.

He eventually got fired after his tenth lie at work, but sadly on linked in it shows he still has a job. Looks like he's peddling his toxicity at jefferies now.

Did my bad mouthing get him fired? Probably not. Toxic people like him who abuse subordinates eventually piss off the wrong person. But it made me feel good that at least I was trying to fight back.

  • Associate 1 in IB - ECM
Oct 4, 2022 - 4:18pm



  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Oct 4, 2022 - 4:46pm

Think the best approach is two-pronged. Internal and external.

Internal: meditate, think about it (even journal if that helps!) and just over time you have to let it go.

External: it's cringe to say but I think can be generalised to "be a good person, learn from your experiences and hold good vibes".

Ultimately a workplace's culture is the product of the people who run it and project their culture around them. If you can be a force for good and be self-aware of behaviours that may make others feel down (Ie bullying, making blunt (unnecessarily negative) comments).

A zebra can't change its stripes but a snake can shed its skin.

Oct 4, 2022 - 5:12pm
thebrofessor, what's your opinion? Comment below:

yes. I was once told by someone who was a superior that I never have a future in this business. I worked basically next door to them (office wise) for the next 5 years. it's tough. 

I think you're doing the right thing, leading by example, letting time heal all wounds, etc., but your emotions will get the better of you from time to time. what I do when my lizard brain takes over:

  1. try to fool myself with logic - ask myself "so what?" and do this until I get to a tactical action. as seneca said, we suffer more in imagination than reality. 
    1. example - "this person wronged me and they're such an asshole/cunt/red sox fan/whatever" so what? what can you DO about it? would physically fighting them solve anything? would telling them off solve anything? NO, it may make you temporarily feel better, but ultimately what happened to you happened, and if someone is a psychopath, you can rest assured they won't all of a sudden find Jesus if you tell them off, you'll most likely get more mad because you'll get an unsatisfactory response
  2. do something intensely hard physically - it's really hard for me to feel mad when I've got 2 five minute rounds left on the bag, a big hill left to run up, or 500 more meters in the pool and the lactic acid is already at a bad pain point, or if I'm doing an intense breath hold (CO2 tolerance is maybe the hardest thing I've ever had to build up, try it)
  3. game of 2 - will I care about this in 2 hours? 2 days? 2 years? 2 decades? most likely the current reminder you're getting is a passing thing and realizing that you won't care about it much in a little while will allow you to move on

and finally, living well is the best revenge. I cannot think of the last time I thought about the person who made me miserable and put me to tears on more than one occasion  (before today). in fact, I saw her in the store many months ago and I actually felt sorry for them. I've far surpassed them in my career and even if I hadn't, they're still a miserable soul. hurt people hurt people (no that's not a typo), so if you're generally happy, even if they're making more money than you, you are probably way ahead of them in terms of blood pressure, karma, and happiness. I can guarantee that

Oct 5, 2022 - 1:14am
Batman-Robin98, what's your opinion? Comment below:

its late and im editing decks right now - i thought this said "How to get Laid" so i clicked on this post.

HA WELL i played myself 

Oct 5, 2022 - 12:29pm
TheBusinessAdministrationMajor, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is one of those times were meditation and forgiveness might be the best course of action.You're not going to be a chill cucumber that DGAF, but you'll be more aware of your emotions and be better able to manage your thoughts. Focus on your self, no your work , on your reports and all the other good things in life. 

It sounds like you have flexibility , you can go to a therapist and have them work with you on this if you choose to go down that path.

The only alternative will be to crush them.

Oct 5, 2022 - 5:29pm
baddealflow12, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I 100% support holding grudges.

If someone mistreated you, and they never apologized or suffered consequences for it, then you have every right to hold a grudge against them and later on use it against that person.

there's several people I work with who I wouldn't hesitate to screw over if the opportunity arose.  100% serious.

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Oct 5, 2022 - 9:58pm
Pierogi Equities, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I was in a somewhat similar situation, except my superior seemed to have a vendetta against me and was constantly gaslighting me to the point that it made every interaction with her very uncomfortable. In the end, she was fired, but not for that reason since I didn't really speak out about to anyone. That place was toxic in general, and everyone that I knew there closely has since left.

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

  • 1
Oct 6, 2022 - 3:00pm
danyaeche456, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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