Revenge is often seen as a path that leads us to a state of serenity once we have settled some unpaid accounts we had with something or someone. From this point of view, the desire for revenge is nothing more than the natural result of having been humiliated or hurt in a very significant way, sometimes without the person who did us this harm, something in return.
however, the desire for revenge is not a healthy feeling in itself. In fact, it can make us enter into a destructive logic that does no good to us or to the society in which we live.
What is revenge?
Revenge is a set of behaviors intended to harm an individual or group who is perceived to be guilty or responsible for the harm done to others or often to the person who has vengeful desires.
In short, revenge is a way to deal with aggression-related behaviors. Sometimes, instead of adopting a behavior that involves directly confronting the person who hurt us at the time you just did it, you opt for a medium or long term strategy, which would allow you to have a greater likelihood of inflicting the desired harm to be able to benefit from the time and preparedness of resources to plan the physical or psychological attack.
On the other hand, we have seen that the people most likely to adopt revenge behaviors are those who score high on the personality trait related to sadism. Sadists are those who are relatively inclined to profit from the suffering of others.
The difference with justice
From an early age, we are educated on the idea that negative actions have negative consequences and that positive actions produce beneficial changes. This idea is often valid in the context of the education parents give to young children, but in adulthood things don’t work that way. Several times, by default, the damage remains here, and the universe is not conspiring for compensation.
Faced with this reality, the desire for justice appears as a human quality aimed at creating a better society in which the principle that all people have the same rights prevails and in which compensation mechanisms must exist. However, the desire for revenge did not spring from the desire to make a better world, but from a much more visceral feeling. It is not something that has to do with a way of seeing the world or with a desire for what society should be like, but it has to do with hate and resentment.
Thus, desires for revenge can become a way to delve into a dynamic of conflict that makes the problem bigger than it already is, due to its passionate and unsystematic nature.
Why are desires for revenge negative?
Beyond the feeling that once revenge is obtained, some compensatory relief will be experienced for the suffering caused previously, getting carried away by this motivational force usually leads to bad results. Here are some of the reasons.
There are no limits to hurt
In revenge, there are only limits that we set for ourselves. For that, it’s easy to go too far in wanting to hurt someone. Justifications emerge for any indication that many thresholds are exceeded, which can lead to a situation where control is lost and a lot of pain is produced.
There are people who invest a lot of time and effort in revenge. It is very easy that once this step is passed, you look back and see this period as a waste of time, a gap in the schedule, because nothing that is enjoyed in the future in a sustainable way is due to these actions.
The escalation of violence
It’s easy to forget why it all started, and that an action has its reaction indefinitely. In this way, an initiative that seemed liberating at first (since it served in theory to feel at peace) comes to enslavement, requiring more and more time and effort.
What to do?
When faced with the desire for revenge, it is better to opt for one of the two options.
On the one hand, it is good to look for distractions that contribute to causing intrusive thoughts to appear over and over again. With the change of habits, the tendency to always think about the same thing or fantasize about revenge is broken.
On the other hand, you can also choose to go to take revenge in a very indirect and relatively constructive and benevolent manner. It is the choice of the lesser evil. For example, using this desire for compensation by making personal progress serves as a lesson for those who wanted to harm us, showing that their attempts to harm us were in vain.
In any case, it is clear that each case is unique according to the philosophy of each person’s life. Of course, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a battle to fight (and win) against the desire for revenge.