I will go to extremes in order to clarify my argument. Let us say that instead of what really happened, the girl who attacked my son used a pickaxe to kill him and cut him into little pieces (a scenario inspired by several Pink Floyd songs). Would I be accused of childishly holding a grudge under such circumstances? No, I wouldn't; and my point therefore is that there are circumstances in which holding a grudge is unanimously justified. The question is, where exactly is the threshold following which grudge is justifiably held?
In order to try and answer the question, let us look at the actual crimes committed against my son by his young cousin:
- My son was stripped naked.
- A bid was stuck tightly into my son's ear (see photo).
- The perpetrator lied in her account of the events.
But we are not talking about a three year old here; we are talking about a child of school age. For such a child to perform such an act there has to be an ulterior motive. There has to be the active intention of causing harm!
The intention to cause harm is my answer to the question of when grudge can be understandably held against someone. People kill others while driving and get away with it because all they they were trying to do was drive home from work when someone jumped underneath their wheels. However, when someone actively tries to harm another I hold it against them; I am not alone there, because civilization has gone to great lengths to deal with such people. Therefore, when someone actively tries to intentionally harm my son without provocation, I will hold a grudge against them. It is that simple.
You can argue against me that I am going too far with this grudge of mine given that it is aimed against a six year old and not against a responsible adult. My answer is that it is exactly because of the criminal's age that I haven't reported her to the police and did my best to see her jailed. However, this streak of evil that this six year old has displayed is more than enough for me to act cautiously around her. As I said before, when I see her I see the devil.
Perhaps in ten year's time this cousin would be able to produce a clean record that would allow me to consider bygones bygones. Till then I do not see any option but to treat her as persona non grata in the best of cases. I am not going to even try to pretend being a member of a happy family here, for here is a person I am holding a grudge against.