Revenge – The Act of Getting Even

By Robert Jameson

“Payback’s a Bitch!”  I remember hearing an alcohol/drug counselor saying this to a group of teenage boys many years ago.  At the time, I thought, “What does that mean – payback’s a bitch?”  I remember the boys looking back at him with blank eyes, silently saying, “You’re wrong!  You don’t understand.  I need to pay them back for hurting me.    They need to be punished for what they did to me.  It’s my right and my duty to balance an injustice.”

Our society also punishes people for doing the wrong thing.  It’s in the Bible, “an eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth”(cf. Exodus 21:24).  We hear and see it all the time in the media and our judicial system is based on it.  So, what makes seeking revenge an ineffective process?

The Process of Revenge

If we look at the process of revenge, we find two limiting paradigms at the foundation:

1.  “I’m right and you’re wrong,” and you’ve victimized me.  In the “I’m right and you’re wrong” paradigm, I get to “get even” with you because, from my point of view, you did something wrong to me.  Thus, I get to take revenge against you.

2.  In the victim paradigm, you did something to me that I had no control over.  You spoke mean or hurtful to me, you took advantage of me, therefore I’m honor bound to give back to you what you deserve.  A challenging question shows up in both these situations:  what’s the right punishment and how much is enough?

What often happens is:  you hurt me, then I hurt you back with a little more force (to prove my point or to teach you a lesson), then you hurt me back with a greater force, to save your honor, then once again I intensify my actions and I hurt you even more, and now we are in a cycle that goes on and on.  We never seem to get to the point where everyone feels justified.  The situation never gets to a point of being even or balanced.  It’s the old traditional “blood feud” between two warring tribes.  On the global level, revenge seeking has been going on for centuries.

If Not Revenge, Then What?

If we don’t seek revenge, then what do we do?

There’s another quote in the Bible that gives us a direction.  “Do not seek revenge . . . love your neighbor as yourself”(Leviticus 19:18).

Wow!  That’s tough.  That means I’m supposed to accept you and me.  I am not supposed to judge you or me.  I’m actually supposed to “love” you and me!

The Chinese philosopher Confucius, states: “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”  He’s suggesting that the desire for revenge hurts you as much as the person you inflict the revenge on.  The person seeking revenge often becomes what he wishes to destroy.

When concepts like revenge show up in the Bible, or any other ancient texts, it suggests to me that we are dealing with a deep human condition that our forefathers have dealt with and have processed through on some level.  Our job is to listen to what they said and apply their solutions to our current way of thinking.

So what do I do with this terrible thing you just said or did to me?  I’m angry.  I’m hurt.  I am judging you for what you just said or did.  If I can make you wrong, if I can see you as less than me, then I am justified in wanting to do terrible things to you because you “deserved it.”

Breaking an Ancient Pattern

The first thing to do is to accept that you got caught in an old pattern of being “right” or being a “victim,” and you want to strike out, you want revenge.  You are human, and as strange as it might sound, this pattern is a normal human reactive pattern.  It requires wisdom to be aware of this pattern.  There’s another old saying that addresses this process:  “Forestall vengeance until wisdom can reassert itself.”

So you’re now aware that you’re in your old pattern.  This is a time to love and accept yourself, not to judge or beat yourself up.  It’s a time to express your hurt and anger in a healthy manner.  Expressing your hurt and anger is a special process in itself.

So, I’m going give a quick way for you to express your hurt and anger in a way where you don’t hurt yourself or others.  Take out a piece of paper and for the next 5 minutes write, as fast as you can how you feel you have been hurt or wronged.  Go for it.  Use a lot of four letter words.  Don’t read what you write.  Now tear it up or burn it.  If you still feel angry or hurt, do another 5 minutes.  At some point, you will feel you have sufficiently expressed your angry or hurtful feelings.

Certain Questions Can Create a Learning Moment

After you have expressed your feelings, you can start to look at the situation as a learning opportunity.  What did you learn about yourself, what did you learn about them, what could you have done differently to get a different outcome?  These types of questions will help you regain your center and to claim a point of wisdom.  It becomes an awakening moment.  At this point, you can move into a process of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is a process where we forget or let go of the hurt, but remember the wisdom or the lesson we were to learn.  It allows us to understand what happened.

There are two old sayings I often tell myself in these situations.  “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)  I believe if people truly knew the consequences of their actions, then they would not do hurtful things against others.  The second saying is:  “If they knew better, they would do better.”  We can only do what we have been taught.  If we knew a better way to create loving and peace in our lives, we would do those things.  When people know a better way, they usually choose that method.  As with everything, I’m sure there are exceptions.  When we are confronted with people who refuse to honor us, as well as our boundaries, we have permission to walk away.  We don’t have to stay and receive their abuse, we don’t have to teach them, and we don’t have to balance the action by seeking revenge.

Challenge To Respond Like a Master

My challenge to you is to be aware of the revenge process.  When you get caught in the pattern, express your emotions in a healthy way, regain your center, claim your wisdom, forgive them and your self and move on in peace, loving, and joy.

About the Author of this Article: As a licensed marriage and family therapist, Robert C. Jameson focuses on helping clients understand and overcome issues, such as anger, hurt, depression, anxiety, love, relationships, boundaries and limiting beliefs, to name a few. During his years of private practice, Mr. Jameson found it useful to give many of his clients “homework” in the form of handouts to support their work while in session. The Keys to Joy-Filled Living was born from his handouts of tried and true exercises and techniques.

Jameson, Robert 3331 Ocean Park Blvd., Suite 100 Santa Monica, CA 90405 310.395.7047 

Adrienne Papp

Adrienne Papp

About the <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Author </a>of This Article: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer"> Adrienne Papp</a> is a recognized journalist, economist and feature writer, who has written for many publications including <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Savoir</a>; <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">The Westside Today Publications</a> ; such as <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Beverly Hills 90210</a>; <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Malibu Beach</a>; <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Santa Monica S</a>u<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">n</a>; <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">The Beverly Hills Times</a>; <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Brentwood News</a>; <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Bel-Air View</a><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer"> ; </a><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Celebrity Society</a> ; <a href=",+Adrienne+Papp&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8" rel="noopener noreferrer">Celeb Staff </a>; <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">It Magazine</a>;  <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Chic Today</a>;  <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">LA2DAY</a>;  <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">West Side Today</a> among many others. She is the President and CEO of Los Angeles / New York-based publicity company, <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Atlantic Publicity</a> and publishing house, <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Atlantic Publisher</a>. Adrienne writes about world trends, <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Quantum Physics</a>, entertainment and interviews celebrities, world leaders, inventors, philanthropists and entrepreneurs. She also owns <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Atlantic United Films</a> that produces and finances true stories made for theatrical release or the silver screen. <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Spotlight News Magazine</a> is owned by <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Atlantic Publicity</a> that just opened a new extension to it : <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">PublicityLosAngeles</a>. <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Adrienne Papp</a><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer"> is a member of the </a><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">International Press Academy</a>.She is the Founder, CEO and President  of <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Youthful & Ageless </a>™, <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Bringing Information to Billions</a>™, <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">An Honorable Cause</a>™  <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer"></a>. www.<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer"></a>, <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Atlantic Publicity Articles</a>, <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Latest Ageless,</a> <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Events Photo Collection,</a> <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Linked In Profile,</a> <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Movie Data Base  Profile,</a><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer"> Twitter,</a> <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Instagram</a>, <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Youthful and Ageless Google+,</a> <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Atlantic Publicity Google+,</a> <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Atlantic Publisher Google+</a>, <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Adrienne Papp Google+,</a> <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Adrienne Papp Personal Google+</a>, <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Spotlight News Magazine, </a><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Atlantic Publicity Productions</a><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">,</a> <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Atlantic Altitude,</a> <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Altitude Pacific, </a><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Atlantic Publicity Photography and Filming,</a> <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">About Adrienne Papp </a>  <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">What Others Say</a>  <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">AtlanticPublicitySEO</a>, <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">BrilliantMarketing365</a>, <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">An Honorable Cause</a>, <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Academic Research</a>, <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Knighthood Today, </a>  <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer"> Youthful and Ageless</a>™. She was knighted and became a Dame in 2010. Her official name is Lady Adrienne Papp and Dame Adrienne Papp. Voting Member of The International Press Academy and The Oscars: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She is the Managing Editorial Director of The Beverly Hills Times Magazine, and Hollywood Weekly. She has a Master of Science in Economics majoring Logistics; an MBA Degree; An International Law, Trade and Finance Postgraduate: Marketing and Advertising Postgraduate from NYU and UCLA. Guest Professor at Oxford University; Director and Producer of TV and Airline On Camera Editorials; <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer">Adrienne Papp Enterprises </a>

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