Getting Over a Grudge: The Case of Taylor and Katy

It's necessary to let go of the anger.

Posted Jun 19, 2017

The world of pop music provides a perfect example of two people holding onto a grudge and resentment for a long time. It also provides a perfect example of how to get beyond it.

Social media is going crazy after popstar Taylor Swift decided to release her entire back catalog of music on all streaming services on the same day that Katy Perry released her new album, Witness. It was especially big news because Taylor had previously pulled her songs from Spotify in 2014. Some fans took it to be an intentional act, possibly to take the attention away from Katy on that important day. At the very least, the timing was interesting, since Katy has publicly discussed her feud with Taylor multiple times in the last few weeks while promoting her new record.

For Taylor and Katy the grudge seems to have been born out of creative competition between them, but grudges can be kept over almost anything. Usually at their core is both people believing that they were wronged by the other person, and feeling justified in their anger, entitled to an apology, and basically hurt by the other person putting her own interest and needs ahead of the friendship.

Very often, the pain that the betrayal causes can run so deep that people easily become consumed in their desire for retaliation and/or revenge. When this happens, the goal is to make the other person suffer and pay for the pain they put you through.

In my book How Could You Do This To Me?: Learning To Trust After Betrayal, I discuss the nature of revenge and the toll it takes. When you lock into getting back at the other person, it keeps you connected to that person in a negative way. It is one thing to feel resentful over something a friend has done and decide to end the friendship and not have anything more to do with that person. It is another thing entirely to get mad and end the relationship but stay connected by way of your anger.

It also can be difficult for the people around you who may be drawn into the controversy as they are asked to choose sides, or worry about offending you by wanting to still be involved with the person you are feuding against. Too often there is collateral damage.

The question becomes, how do you end a grudge when you feel you have been betrayed? It isn’t easy to let go when you believe you have been wronged, but here are a few things to keep in mind as you attempt to do just that.

The first step is realizing that if you are in this situation it is like giving bad energy free rent in your mind, which could be used for more productive things.  If you keep the flame of anger burning you will have less available fuel for engaging in activities and doing things that could actually make you feel good. Recognizing this can help you choose to let go of vindictive thoughts so you can begin to shift your focus to what you can do for yourself, something you can control, and away from focusing on what you hope might happen to the other person, which you can’t control.

Another option is to deal directly with the person you have a grudge against. If you do go this route, it is important to give up the notion that you are in the right and the other is in the wrong, and that you deserve an apology. Instead, recognize that both of you are dealing with a misunderstanding, and tackle it as a team. Consider saying to the other person that obviously you both have hurt feelings, and that you are sorry for what happened and you hope that is mutual.

If you try to get into your view versus theirs, it is likely that tempers might flare and you might end up being accusatory and have a difficult time problem solving. If that should occur, the only choice might be to agree to disagree, and accept that you may never get to the bottom of it, but concur that the relationship matters more and you are willing to put the disagreement behind you. At that point, you can talk about how to put guidelines in place so you can check things out with each other and be more considerate, so hopefully you can avoid altercations in the future.

Perhaps Katy and Taylor are on the brink of letting go of their grudge, and time will tell.

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