Damn good, that’s how revenge feels, ain’t it?
Feels like justice has been done, the scale of weights returns to its balanced position…
There are devasting misfortunes that happen to people, that literally turn life upside down in a matter of seconds, minutes.
And it forces people to reframe themselves: someone being a victim of any type of criminal situation, injured people from serving their country in a war. One only rests when one finds justice. And in some cases: justice doesn’t come.
And is justice you seek when you have feelings of revenge arising. For some valid reason for you: you feel wronged, angry, offended emotionally, hurt, outraged, you name it: we all have been through it.
And it feels damn good to make the other person suffer for some equivalent pain. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.
And just to think of revenge, how you’re going to get even, activates the circuits of the reward system of your brain - dopamine.
1. What Triggers Your Feelings Of Revenge?
The so-called emotional revenge.
When you’ve feel attacked, or have been a target of some injustice or injury, the triggers for feelings of revenge normally are other emotions like:
This is almost certain in situations that make you feel powerless, ridiculous, stupid, or ashamed.
All ugly feelings, right? Nobody wants to feel that.
But once in a while, one does feel those emotions.
That’s why is so important to identify the emotions that lead to want revenge, face and accept those emotions accept and learn how to deal with them: to become emotionally competent.
But first: let us find out the good and bad sides of revenge.
2. The Good And The Bad Of Revenge
A group of Swiss scientists studied the brain activity of a test group of people who had been wronged in a game test.
To these people was given the opportunity to punish the wrong-doers. The brain was scanned for one minute whilst the “revengers” were conjecturing about punishment. Guess what part of the brain was having a rush of activity? The one which is responsible to process rewards. A dopamine shot.
The thing is, the feeling of being rewarded doesn’t last.
Scientists also found that although there's a reward on revenge in the first few moments, actually getting avenge not only doesn’t “kill” the hostility on its host, as it prolongs the effects of the original offense.
- If you want to revenge because you felt ashamed: the feeling of shame continues.
- If you want to revenge because you felt jealousy: the feeling of jealousy continues.
- If you want to revenge because you felt humiliated: the feeling of humiliation continues.
- You get even, feel the reward for some moments and the emotion that originated the revenge: remains there.
The real solution points to another direction: deal with the original offense.
Understand why you felt offended.
Besides, revenge opens a cycle of retaliation: that puts you on a never-ending-engage with the offender: just changing benches in the offender/offended sit.
You can agree here that it's exhaustive, energy-draining, and not rewarding in the long-term spectrum.
2.1 When Is Revenge A Good Thing? Whats The Good Side Of It?
When is revenge a good thing? When is a matter of survival.
Picture a very hostile environment – like a prison or a gang culture. Messing with the wrong person is for sure there will be consequences: they will avenge.
In these circumstances revenge works like a retainer of harm, it protects you from attacks if you have a reputation of being an avenger, someone who seeks retribution. Is less likely for people to mess or take advantage of you. Survival.
2.2. What Is The Bad Side Of Revenge?
The first thing was already mentioned: the rewarding feeling doesn’t last and the taste of the offense lasts a lot more.
But there’s another thing: revenge keeps you bonded to a person you’d be better off without. You stay kind of anchored in the past.
As you think of revenge, those constant thoughts will keep your mind focused on the mistreatment, on the offense: vital energy wasted.
You should use all that energy in moving forward, dedicating it to build yourself up and take real control over your life.
"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster"
- Friedrich Nietzsche
There are some cases of people who have high levels of “rejection sensitivity” (hope is not your case!): might have aggressive responses of revenge.
This profile has more tendency to act violently after a rejection (violent to others, having self-harm behavior, or using other harmful ways), are prone to be more neurotic (see rejection when it doesn’t even exist), showing anxiety and signs of depression.
Of course, if you are that impulsive: wicked and manipulative people can easily use you for some twisted situation: because they know how you will react and they will use that for their twisted interest and against your own.
If that’s your case: you can begin again. You're not doomed or cursed to be a tool for malevolent people – they exist. Because in the meantime, you are the one who has to deal with the consequences of your own impulsiveness.
Search for help – professional help. So you can learn about the original emotions that trigger rages or outbursts. It will improve the quality of your relations – might they be professional or personal. It will improve the quality of your life. You will also have a better filter on malicious people's intents.
If you overcome revenge, you will be getting more emotional competency. That’s a skill that can be learned.
3. Ways To Overcome Revenge: Get Emotional Competency
Why overcoming revenge? Because it gets you more emotional competency. Avoids the feeling of walking on the border of the cliff of turbulent emotions.
It makes you stronger. Inside.
Especially in this social media era, where you have superficial connections with strangers, a great amount of “elements” are protected with pseudonyms or avatars’ names.
Some commentaries might trigger you into angry feelings, you might even feel insulted.
You might even think is someone who knows you – regardless of you using a pseudonym or not. That makes it personal. You might want to react with a sense of restoring justice for your hurt ego.
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth is a temptation.
In some cases in real life, people you know, use provocative triggers, just to make you react, to induce you in some behavior.
Do you really want to react to that? Do you really want to engage in this negative pattern of communication?
And if they are strangers? Are you going to blind-target them?
Based on what? On insinuations? That you don’t even know where they came from (their perspective based on their own experiences, for sure)? That you interpreted based on your own experiences?
Do you really want to engage in attacking a stranger? That puts you at a huge disadvantage already, if you're no stranger to the "avatar".
And worse: you start ruminating on what they really meant, what was the subliminal intention, then start creating your own drama, ruminating… And you go to bed with thoughts of a stranger implanted on your mind and triggered other negative thoughts…
You sleep with strangers on your mind; you wake up with your own ghosts in the heart.
If it doesn’t build you, if it doesn't help you grow: don’t mentally accept it as if it is "a truth to consider".
What value can you give to an offense from an avatar hidden behind a virtual name? None. You should give none value.
Simply because is a cowardly attitude. If someone has to criticize something and wants to be taken seriously: should do it upfront, with a real name, a person, not a personage.
3.1 What’s The Best Way To Prevent Revenge Feelings That Envenom Your Mind To Take Over?
- If you are a reactive person: breathe deeply before reacting. Your brain doesn’t work at its best with little oxygen. No good decision comes from it. If your life is not at stake: you have time to react.
- Say to you to yourself whilst breathing: “I’ve got this”, “I can handle this”, “I’m stronger than my rage.
- Take responsibility for your action before you actually take action.
- When you manage to be calm, try to think and see the moment as an outsider would and Observe Your Thoughts.
- Figure out the real reason it made you feel angry, insulted, or humiliated: was that situation itself, words that were stated, things that were done or was something that you related to a past experience that and assumed that it “was more of the same”.
- If it’s possible: talk with the person that you felt has done you wrong.
- But talk, not in a sense of accusation, but to understand from that person’s point of view, what made her do or say what that person did or say.
- Try to understand that reason, the why: there is always one. Understanding does not mean you have to agree.
- If you realize that you get triggered very often: search for professional help to learn how to unpeel your emotions and process them in a way that causes less damage to your life and to those around you.
- Forgiveness is a possibility. It gets you mentally healthier.
- Most of all: you deserve peace. Forgetting is as bad an idea as recalling it constantly through revenge.
- Letting go of the emotion is your best option: it doesn’t mean you forget, its just means that the emotion is not there. If the emotions are not there, the body doesn’t feel it, If the body doesn't feel it, it won’t react to it and it won’t take over your mind.
- Behind the act of revenge, there’s always an intention to affect negatively the other person who you believe did you wrong: you want to have control over them.
What if instead of trying to control others you took over control of yourself?
Focus on yourself: in getting stronger, in getting better. It will feel better.
Build that self-confidence reminding yourself that: “You are able to handle any situation that comes your way".
“The best revenge is to improve yourself”
-Ali Ibm Abi Talib
Getting Better Every day
Hey! I'm Eunice Veloso and you'll find more about me on my About Page
My favorite quote of all...
Antoine Lavoisier, 1789
The Law of the Conservation of Mass
Songs within the article: