We learn the taste of revenge at a very young age, even in our infancy.
As children, we see how the world around us functions, and, studying the behavior of the people around us, we discover that revenge is one of the world’s essential cogs.
When we want something and that something takes its sweet time coming our way, we try to force it into our lives by getting upset and letting the people responsible for that something know that we’re mad.
That way, we sort of punish them for not giving us what we need, when we need it. That feeling, projected onto someone, makes them feel guilty that we’re mad, they feel responsible and they give us what we need.
It works so well, that we change our personality from a very young age, to accommodate this mechanism.
One thing though: it’s a faulty mechanism.
The anger resulted in the manifestation of revenge affects only ourselves. It puts us in a negative vibration, which, in time, will manifest as an illness if we use revenge and anger often.
It’s reciprocal if you will, because what we do comes back to us, maybe in another form, but always as the same feeling.
We do positive things, we receive positive things. We do negative things, we receive negative things.
I learned that from my own experiences, and I can vouch that’s how stuff works.
That’s why, when we feel we want to use revenge as a tool to getting what we want, we should stop for a minute, take a step back from ourselves and try to examine the outcome.
What do we want: immediate gains but overall loss, or exercise a little pride swallowing and win in the long run?
I’m all for the latter. How about you?
” … which, in time, will manifest as an illness if we use revenge and anger often.”
How about if we use revenge just on severe occasions instead of “often” ? Would the concept of revenge be anymore acceptable ?
I disagree with your statement regarding feelings that come back to us later in our lives . Thankfully not all feelings of past traumas in our lives come back with the same initial intensity that we had while experiencing it. Likewise the fleeting feelings of pleasure achieved through revenge can never be duplicated with the same intensity as well.
” … We do positive things, we receive positive things. We do negative things, we receive negative things. ”
We all hope for this. In a fair, ideal world this would be true. Sadly, often life can be very unfair and even downright cruel sometimes .
Is the manifested anger present in revenge limited to just the person who felt he was wronged ? Reading replies of people in regard to any reported heinous crime suggests that many people vicariously relish the revenge inflicted upon any given perpetrator .
I believe that you are absolutely correct in regard to how revenge is a learned behavior.
When pondering revenge, one needs to ask oneself what will be gained (and lost) if revenge is pursued. By taking revenge would the other person in essence be getting you in trouble, albeit through your own actions of vengeance ?
Why shouldn’t revenge be pursued ? For the simple reason that two wrongs don’t make a right .
Reducing your ethical and moral levels to that of a perpetrator in order for revenge diminishes us as rational human beings who are blessed with the gift of reason . We need to have the wisdom of foresight in regard to what the consequences of our revenge might later entail . Our restraint in regard to impulse control for revenge should be greater than someone who has been deemed to be mentally ill .
Thank you, Daniel, for your feedback and for taking the time to write this. Please note that what I’m writing in this article has been my own personal experience and what I have learned the hard way from life. As far as “positive brings positive, negative brings negative” is concerned, this also has been my life long experience and I have Newton to back me up on this: “To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. Have wonderful day!
I have kept your Email in hopes that one day I’d respond a bit more to your kind reply. It says a lot about you Razvan that you would take time out to even contemplate a subject as potentially controversial as that of the concept of “revenge”. Experience is our best teacher and the best learning is done by doing as you have suggested. To analyze the ramifications and the genesis of “revenge” is to deconstruct the ignorance that causes it and allows it to flourish. By doing so with both your thoughts and in your written words you have made the world a bit more insightful and a wiser one in which to live,.
Too often revenge is impulsive, often leading to negative consequences to not only the one perceived as having been wronged, but also to the one who seeks the revenge initially. The irony as well is that quite often it is the person who seeks and “gets” the revenge who ultimately in the long run suffers the most. An obvious example might be someone who is incarcerated for life due to a revenge killing. I’d be curious if ever the world’s prisoners who were incarcerated due to a crime that stemmed from their revenge were polled how many now would say that they would do the same thing again and how many now would regret their past actions – actions that sometimes within the blink of an eye caused them to strike out in revenge changing the fate of both them and their loved ones forever, I would venture to guess that the majority if given the chance would want to undo their impulsive past in order to regain a more meaningful future.
As a former teacher, when anger in my children would erupt to the extent that a student would want to seek revenge on his perpetrator, I would always admonish him or her sternly with the words, “Don’t let (name of the perpetrator) get YOU in trouble! “. I like to think that at least in some cases the student in question had a moment’s pause to realize that by doing a momentary vengeful act that ultimately his nemises would get the last laugh.
When possible I would always praise and reinforce the student for not complying to his inner instincts. In this way a type of “revenge” was given to the initial troublemaker – the lack of praise and reinforcement.which his victim received.
It is helpful to realize that, barring serious physical injury, all anger is derived from emotional pain. Even if one were struck or were called a perojative term, the emotional hurt to one’s self esteem and self pride would be inwardly what harms us most It’s difficult to acknowledge personal emotional pain within ourselves because it may provoke inner feelings within us of being defeated, weak and vulnerable – all of which are characteristics that we would loathe to show our tormentor. When we learn to acknowledge the inner source of our anger as emotional pain though, it often dispels our anger and helps dissipate our hurt feelings, giving us a moment’s pause to calm down and deal with our issues in a more rational, mature manner.
To those of us that have the misfortune of being for whatever reason apart from a loved one, perhaps the greatest thing that we can do for both them and ourselves is to be (or at least strive to be), happy. Though it may seem inhumanly impossible at the time , we can console ourselves in knowing that we can bring our loved one’s no greater joy than that of our very own happiness. Conversely nothing could also be deemed a more powerful form of revenge to those who we believe have tresspassed against us, than for us likewise, to be happy as well.
Though more restrained, calculating and deliberate, the axiom “Kill them with kindness” can also be used as an act of revenge. Suspicious with malevolence, tormentors will more than likely eventually become paranoid in their cluelessness and outraged at their incapacity to ignite within us a hoped for response. Smiling enigmaticly we can find a complacent type of security in knowing that the cause for their fury isn’t due to the acts of kindness towards them, but rather from the inner emotional hurt that’s derived from their hurt self pride and lowered self esteem in not being able to manipulate a potential situation for their own ill will or bad intentions in order to make us angry.
This axiom should be cautiously applied however, since the goal of revenge (for those for whom vengeance is a must), is to (in this case surrepticiously) instigate a perplexed negativity in your adversary and not to inadvertantly reinforce his negative behavior to the extent that it increases in frequency and/or in intensity.
On second thought, perhaps this last form of revenge is best left to the “pros” … Theoretically though Newton’s Law of Physics (“To every action, there is a reaction”) could provide in time a positive response for the one attempting said axiom. For given enough goodness, in time the coldest of all hearts can eventually learn to thaw.
In the best of all worlds, it could even ultimately turn in to a “win – win” situation for all of those concerned as well.
Best wishes, Razvan Costea! >
Wow, what an extensive answer! Perhaps I should let you write articles on my blog 🙂
Personally, I haven’t considered revenge as the right answer to the many questions in my life, simply because when I did, it hasn’t worked out too well for me.
Newton’s law “To every action there is an equal an opposite reaction” is one of my favorites, and basically says that what we do comes back to us. I believe in it and it governs my life, inspiring me in everything I do.
Thank you so much for your kind words.
Tell me about being a Life Coach. I would imagine that the qualities of empathy and creativity would be of great benefit to you in your chosen profession. I would like to read the contents of your blog, but I’m uncertain on how to locate it. Is it necessary first to have to join the group of which you are a member in order to have access to it? Reading the bio’s of your group members I found several people who sparked my interest. A common thread among them seems to be their interest in computer encryptions. Would that be a fair and accurate assumption? Despite my propensity for exposition, I am woefully intellectually deficient in nearly all matters regarding computers and technology in general. If you were serious in having me write something for your blog please don’t hesitate to ask.
I want to apologize for my lengthy responses to you. I obviously have a fondness for the written word, with brevity and conciseness not being among the highest of my priorities when writing.
I sensed a feeling of futility in your Subject heading and if true, it’s my own fault for not being clear. For the record, no – revenge, per say, is never acceptable.(That is why I added in my response to you the little aside, “for those for whom (or feel) that vegeance is a must (to do) … “.)
A favorite response from columnist “Dear Abby” used to be :
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. That is more or less what I meant by the phrase “kill them with kindness”.Two examples might further shed light on what I was referring to. One is personal, the other (hopefully) is amusing.
While living in Latin America I had the misfortune of living temporarily with a small group of rich young native men who (I felt) considered themselves privilaged and entitled. I found their behaviors often brutish and obnoxious. Regardless of whether this was indeed true or not, the fact remained that they were unquestionably anti – “Gringo”. One particular day they obtained from a local church a large quantity of surplus oranges which were to be discarded. (For whatever reason even the poorest of the poor chose to pass on these oranges, possibly because they were still green.) Feigning affection each in turn gave me their oranges, ostensibly as a generous “gift” to show how much they “really did care” for “Gringos” after all. Snickers and giggles were had by all accept myself who was none the wiser in regard to their less than benevolent intent. (Sometimes as it’s been said, “ignorance” really IS “bliss”!) Holding them against my body as they spilled from my arms, I was surprised, delighted and touched by their apparent change of heart. Their inside “joke” turned to further resentment and bitterness however when time had passed and they had an oppurtunity to see the consequences produced from their bountiful crop. From their output I had produced some wonderful Still Life paintings in Water Colors. Fifteen years later I still own these Still Lifes which with their meticulous attention to detail were obviously done with a great deal of affection and care. Did I have the “last laugh”? Not really. But their frustration in their attempts for humiliation was a thought that got me through some pretty dark times.
My second anecdote comes from a biography of the great Soprano Maria Callas which was written by her late former husband.
Italy, which has produced some of the greatest Composers of Opera in history, has a population of residents who’s love and passion for Opera has been known to border on the fanatical. During the 1950’s in the world of Opera the rivalry (which was mostly created and was being reinforced by the ‘paparazzi’ for a salivating, yet adoring, public) between Maria Callas and another superlative Soprano, Renata Tebaldi, was legendary. Having conquered La Scalla (the famous Opera House in Italy) as well as Concert Halls around the world, Callas was next to perform in another great (but lesser known) Hall in one of Italy’s small towns – a town who’s crowning Queen of adoration was Renata Tebaldi. The Hall was sold out for Callas’s Opera appearance, SRO, with hundreds if not thousands of Tebaldi fans filling the seats from stage to the highest balconies. They had come (to paraphrase Mark Antony in Shakespeare’s, “Juliet Caesar”) not to praise Callas, but to bury her, for the audience attending came replete with a seething atitude and plenty of (undoubetedly) home grown vegetables. As was nearly par for the course, Callas musically stunned all with her peerless performance. Curtains were eventually drawn at the Opera’s end with each performer coming back out for curtain calls and audience acknowledgement. Finally it was Callas’s turn to walk out alone to face the scrutiny of those in attendance. Instead of “Bravas” however, the air was filled with shouted catcalls and “boos” and worse : for thrown even from the highest tiers of balconies weren’t the custumary rain of flowers and obligatory bouquets, but vegetables. Lots and lots of vegetables. Seemingly without missing a beat (beet?) she walked to the scrim of the stage, gracefully bent down, and scooped up a large bushel of radishes, clutching them with apparent affection to her bosom as if they were the most rarest and expensive of Roses. As is often custummary with a reigning Diva, a large “Rose” (or in this case, radish) was pulled from the bunch, put to her nose as if the fragrance were being lovingly inhaled and was given to the Conductor as a form of respect, gratitude and thanks. Suddenly the sound of thousands of feet stomping the floors in ecstatic excitement was heard, shouts of love and affection poured forth and tears of joy were wept. History had been made.Tebaldi was great, but Callas, Callas was legendary. She was one for the Ages.
Did Callas get “revenge” on her embittered audience? In essence, yes. She had gotten “even” with them through her actions.She had “killed them with kindness”. (Not to mention her great instrument, quick thinking and grace.)
More on “revenge”:
Adrenalin is the “fight or flight” hormone. When the potential for a fight exists, adrenalin begins coursing through the body out of instinct. Even though a “flight” response unnecessarily has a negative (if cowardly) connotation to it, it often is the more prudent and wiser action to take. Here’s why:
When someone hits you, our natural reaction is to hit them back. But what happens then? The only response in return for those bent on retaliation (or revenge) is to hit back, but this time even harder. This theoretically can go back and forth until ultimately the fight is stopped either through serous injury or death.
But what would have happened if that initial retaliation (which is a form of revenge) had never taken place? The “fun” for the perpetrator is basically now gone. His initial goal of fighting is quickly thwarted and his possible enjoyment of hurting others has been diminished. It takes two to fight. If one chooses not to, there will be no fight.
Behaviorists tell us that the quickest and surest way of stopping a negative behavior is by the total ignoring of it. This is called achieving “behavioral exinction” through the complete deprival of “reinforcement.”
Perhaps the greatest achievement in mankind’s history in using pacifism and non-violent resistance as a retalitory “weapon” against tyranny and oppression was when Mahatma Ghandi (and scores of millions of native Indians) used it in gaining India’s independance from Great Britain. You might say that Ghandi and his fellow countrymen had, instead of violent revenge against their years of servitude and enslavement, “killed them with kindness”.
Thanks for reading Razvan and have a great day!
Even if your responses are lengthy, I can appreciate your passion for writing, and that makes me read the entire comment, sometimes even twice, to make sure I fully understand. So there’s no need to apologize, you haven’t made any mistakes.
Your insights to revenge are wonderful. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Indeed you have discovered the answer to how to deal with those kinds of situations where the most common thing to do and the simplest is retaliation. Beautiful example, Maria Callas. It reinforces my belief that you can disarm any hateful person with love.
Life coaching is one of the most beautiful things to do in the entire world. To me, that is. It is an extension of my desire to help people, along with writing motivational books. I’m lucky to be one of those people who can see in others what they don’t see in themselves, and that, along with my empathy and my passion to help give me the tools to achieve great results. I could live of this feeling of achievement alone, without any water or food. Just kidding, I need some nutrients once in a while :).
My blog is here: https://razvancostea.com/blog
You’re welcomed to browse it, and, if you would like to write on it, you can send me your posts and, provided they are in tune with what I’m writing, I will publish them with credits to you.