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Wixen, B.N. (1971). Grudges: A Psychoanalytic Study. Psychoanal. Rev., 58(3):333-344.

(1971). Psychoanalytic Review, 58(3):333-344

Grudges: A Psychoanalytic Study

Burton N. Wixen, M.D.

I. Introduction

Surprisingly enough, a thorough review of the psychoanalytic and general psychiatric literature from 1900 and before revealed no papers devoted to the subject of grudges. There are a few references to grudges in some textbooks, but they are all handled in a most superficial manner.8,1 It becomes apparent on a moment's reflection that the particular affective state described by the term grudge is not adequately covered by terms such as hate, jealousy, etc., under which headings the few references in the literature are made. Hence it would seem worthwhile to study this subject in some detail.

II. General Characteristics of Grudges

Grudge (Noun): “A feeling of deep-seated resentment or ill will. …”11

The dictionary definition certainly does not capture the unique qualities of a grudge, nor does it differentiate it from other affective states of ill will. After having analyzed several patients who have carried grudges, I have come to the conclusion that it is a unique affective state, with certain more or less regularly occuring characteristics. Furthermore, there tends to be a pattern concerning the age of onset and the dynamics involved. This paper will deal with these observations, using illustrative case material.


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