What is revenge for a deceiver

BITTER SWEET REVENGE Why retribution is a brief indulgence

Should you turn the other cheek too? Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that! Mockery and malice cry out for retribution as well as lies and deceit. We want revenge on those who think they can lead us by the nose. The catch: the longing for retribution only seems sweet at first glance.

The sardonic grin of the pretty YaVaughnie Wilkins would surely have been seen by everyone when the huge billboard with a deep kiss photo of her and her ex-lover, the billionaire and closest advisor to Barack Obama, Charles Phillips, was hung in the middle of Times Square.

We didn't get to hear more from the vengeful ex-lover, let alone see. But that doesn't matter. After all, everyone can imagine for themselves how cute the spirited southern woman is revenge must have tasted. That was a triumph in a class of its own! The betrayed Miss Phillips got the truth, Mr. Phillips got the avenged punishment and the long-term affair never got the grin off his face.

How much we would not like to practice a bitter-sweet act of retribution on our faithless ex-lover. Or the hypocritical colleague who smeared the boss on the bread that we supposedly take too long breaks. Or our neighbors, who are not so strict about the general quiet and who rob us of sleep night after night. Wouldn't that be nice? Isn't the thought of vengeance immensely satisfying? Yes, as confirmed by psychologists and various scientific studies.

Why chocolate when you can get revenge too?

In fact, science has confirmed what many have already suspected: revenge tastes sweet! Similar to chocolate or cookies. Because in both cases the same brain area is actually stimulated by the unbridled consumption. Both sugar consumption and revenge activate a region of the brain called dorsal striatum - the area that is crucial for a feeling of reward. So it is not just a popular saying, but a physiologically and psychologically verifiable fact. We enjoy revenge and thus get a pleasant feeling of satisfaction - but also justice?

At least the desire for revengeCountless surveys and studies have found that in many cases this is the result of a desire for this very thing. Revenge is always preceded by defamatory, unfair or otherwise unjust behavior. The longing for justice does not result from a primitive retribution, but from a biologically deeply anchored instinct. Studies have also proven that. It was found that toddlers from the age of two can naturally differentiate between right and wrong and try to keep the two in balance.

Avenged or just?

So revenge aims to compensate for previously unjust behavior. Behind this is the desire to repay an act and finally restore the status quo of justice. Sounds fair actually. But what most do not consider: Even if fairness is the goal, it is rarely achieved.

For even if righteousness is the motive of vengeance, righteousness is almost never its essence. Whether you intend to scratch your ex's sports car, mix laxatives into your colleague's coffee or share common secrets with your former best friend - revenge creates new injustice.

And there's one more bad news: the happiness that comes with revenge is like chocolate - most people who have committed an act of revenge regret what they did afterward. Because already in the vernacular it is said: the fence is no better than the stealer. And that is why vengeance does not cast a halo over our heads. If we had been above it all, we would not only be the smarter, but also the cooler. But our instincts wanted something else. Our instincts called for vengeance. And now we have the salad. The guilty conscience is great, so is the shame and the benefit all the smaller.

The bitter aftertaste

Because the consequences of revenge are anything but sweet and usually quite bitter. Especially in interpersonal matters, revenge does not create compensatory consolation, but in most cases a vicious circle of hurt, humiliation and mistrust. Trying to save a relationship by punishing the unfaithful partner with the same shame almost always fails. Martin Luther King was right when he said: "If everyone lives by the principle of 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth', we will end up with the blind and the toothless”.

What to do with the lust for revenge?

So revenge is just a short, sweet treat with a long-lasting bitter aftertaste. Somehow we thought so. But what should we do with our anger? And the vengeful thought? How do we tame our primeval greed revenge? Researchers and psychologists have advice on this, too. They recommend that you make the aggression that has built up physically noticeable through exercise (for example, sport) and thus make it possible to compensate for it. Talking directly to our tormentor by honestly telling him to what extent he has hurt us can also soothe us.

So let's summarize: move, confront, shout! All of this may be valuable from a psychological point of view. But let's be honest: It's not really satisfying, is it? Of course, we still agree with all the psychologists. Theoretically. Because in practice we give you something else. A link. No more and no less. What you make of it is determined by your sense of vindictiveness.

Text: Linda Freutel

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