Grievance Stories

Dear Readers,

This is an older post, but I thought it good to repost. When we are in addiction, we hold so many resentments, that over time turn into grievance stories.

When I was in college, I had to do a supervised teaching semester in a school. I went to meet the teachers and the school.
As soon as I returned home, I was informed by the dean of education, that they didn’t want me to teach there.
He said It was because of my speech.
I was deeply hurt. This came out of nowhere. 
I was sent to see the speech and hearing clinic at the university, and found out that I had a hearing loss, and because of that I had a lisp.
I had no idea.

Later, when I first started teaching, I was hurt by another teacher.
She reported me to the superintendent, saying I shouldn’t be teaching because of my speech. 
It was a horrible time. I almost quit teaching. I went into a severe depression. I didn’t know who to trust on the staff, as she told many other teachers.

For many years I told these grievance stories, over and over. I struggled to let go of the hurt and pain. I was so angry. One night, many years later, in a drunk stupor, I called the teacher who reported me to the superintendent, and raged at her. 

These are but a few of my grievance stories. Stories where I have been hurt, but struggle to let them go, to learn from them, but not carry them. I first heard of the term grievance story from a book called Forgive For Good, by Dr. Fred Luskin.  Here is an excerpt from an interview he gave on Virtues for Life:

“A grievance is created when we take a normal life event that is painful, make it very personal as opposed to something that just happened, and then exaggerate how personal it is. Then we practice this pattern over and over, and forget that there are other ways of looking at the same situation.”

When I was drinking, my grievance stories were about how hard work was, and about how everyone had wronged me. They were magnified by the alcohol. I would ruminate over these resentments for hours.  
Now, you can’t rush the healing from these real hurts. In order for someone to forgive,

“They have to have done some grief work about their loss or wound. They have to have done some grieving of it, which means that they have felt the pain and acknowledged their loss. Also, that they’ve looked at how they handled things and said, “Could I have handled it better?” So a lot of inner exploration and again going through these stages of grief. Then when these stages have been explored, you can look at letting it go. So you can’t forgive too early before you’ve had a chance to grieve the loss. That’s the biggest obstacle that people run into.

I really do have a choice. I can continue making myself feel bad, or I can change my story.
I can choose to forgive my body for making me deaf.
I have had to grieve the loss of music. (A cochlear implant changes music and makes it sound very strange, and unpleasant.)
Now, I tell myself and other people how lucky I was to be able to have insurance to cover a cochlear implant, so I can hear speech. 
I tell myself and other people how happy I am I can hear birds, and hear people talking! I can hear speech on the radio now, too! 

Real life takes work. I just don’t want to sit around moping about all the hurts I had past and present. 
By taking drinking out of the equation, I have been able to heal and let go of the resentments much faster.

In college, the dean found me another school to do my supervised teaching of kindergarten, and the teacher there was warm, loving, and I thrived. 

In the case of the teacher complaining about me, the district office put me in a different elementary school, and there I also thrived.  Being grateful for all that I have, and remembering I can grieve, and then move on, helps me change my stories from a poor me Wendy to a grateful Wendy!

With Beautiful Fall Weather,

On Day  1870,

Wendy

26 thoughts on “Grievance Stories

  1. Wendy, this is my favourite post of yours so far… I have been dealing with exactly that lately… my own grievance stories… though I didn’t know what they were called till now. Thank you so much for this. Very helpful ❤️

    Also, I don’t know if this helps or makes it worse, but I am grieving along with you in spirit, for your loss of the sound of music 😭😭😭 makes me feel ashamed for grieving anything less profound.

    You’re amazing in so many ways and a huge inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This book, although old, was very helpful for me. And although I wish I could whip through the process it takes time. The good news is, I don’t hold on to resentments and hurts so long, so they don’t become forever stories!
      ❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This post came at just the right time. I really want to “let it go!” And I’ve been struggling with, okay, how do I do that? I will check out Fred Luskin’s book. You really do seem to come out with the messages I need to hear just when I need them. Or maybe we all struggle with this kind of stuff all the time? It’s wonderful to have this space to talk about these life issues openly and honestly. Thank you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well done reposting this as it’s such a strong message . I may well be cheeky and use this with some of my clients. There are some lovely examples of reframing and the message of looking and being grateful for what we have rather than grieving over what’s not there is very powerful. BTW your treatment by that school that turned you down was appalling. I hope someone has challenged them over inclusion. That wouldn’t be harbouring a grievance that would be challenging injustice. ✊Rock on Wendy! X

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing your stories Wendy! Your posts here and your twitter comments often help me through a patch when I tend to let my own “grievance stories” take over my emotional well-being.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Wendy, I can certainly relate to what you said about repetitive grievance stories. I lived them. Ugh! Drinking made me moody and morose too. Letting go, sobriety and gratitude makes for a much better life. Thank you for another beautiful post and for sharing your spectacular photos. Happy Fall! 🙂
    J x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love your story, Wendy. It shows how you reached rock bottom and managed to get back up again despite the setbacks. Earlier this year I had major depression and went through a similar situation involving loss. Even though I don’t drink, your story is very relatable to me and it gives me hope. 🙏🏻🌹🌹

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hugs! Thank you so much! I read you have some hearing loss as well, in one ear.
      I think hope is essential in life, and acceptance, too. I’m way older than you, (think great grandma? Lol), but know that you can and will overcome. I rely on stories of strength, like Hellen Keller, and so many others!
      xo
      Wendy

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha I hope you’re not old enough to be my great grandma 😂 I never did meet any of my great grandparents. They were all deceased by the time I was born. Some of the deafness in my ear may be related to being born without the ability to filter out loud noises. In a normal ear, there’s an inner flap that protects the cochlea from loud noises over a certain threshold, and I don’t have that. It might explain why I can’t tolerate like loud noises. Hellen Keller was a strong woman. Idk how she managed with being blind and deaf. I guess where there’s a will, there’s a way. 🙏🏻💕

        Liked by 1 person

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