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Desire for revenge: what is it really and how to fight it?

Desire for revenge: what is it really and how to fight it?

June 12, 2024

Revenge is often seen as a path that leads to a state of mind of serenity once we have settled some outstanding accounts that we had with something or someone. From this perspective, the desire to take revenge is not more than the natural result of having gone through a humiliation or having been harmed in a very significant way, sometimes without that who has done us that damage there was something in return.

But nevertheless, the desire for revenge is not a sensation that in itself is healthy . In fact, it can make us enter into a destructive logic that does not do us or the society in which we live well.

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What is revenge?

Revenge is a set of behaviors aimed at harming a person or collective who is perceived as guilty or liable for damage caused to others or, frequently, to the person with vengeful desires.


In short, revenge is a way to manage behaviors linked to aggression. Sometimes, instead of adopting a behavior that involves directly confronting those who have harmed us at the moment in which they have just done it, they opt for a medium or long-term strategy, which would allow them to have a greater probability of inflicting the Desired damage to be able to benefit from the time and the preparation of resources to plan the physical or psychological attack.

On the other hand, it has been seen that the people most likely to embrace revenge behavior are those that score high on the personality trait linked to sadism . Sadistic people are those who are relatively prone to enjoy the suffering of others.


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The difference with justice

From small we are educated with the idea that negative acts have negative consequences, and positive acts, produce beneficial changes. This idea is often valid in the context of the education that fathers and mothers give to young children, but in adult life things do not work that way. Many times, by default, the damage is there, and the universe will not conspire 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 prevails that all people have the same rights and in which compensation mechanisms must exist. However, the desire for revenge is not born from the will 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 how society has to be, but rather it has to do with hatred and resentment .


Thus, the desire for revenge can become a way to enter a conflict dynamic that makes the problem bigger than it already is, due to its passionate and unsystematic character.

Why the desires of revenge are something negative?

Beyond the feeling that once the revenge is reached, a certain compensatory relief will be experienced for the suffering previously caused, getting carried away by this force of motivation often leads to harmful results . These are some of the reasons.

There are no limits to harm

In revenge there are only the limits that one puts oneself. Because, it's easy to go too far in wanting to harm someone . The justifications are appearing before any indication that many thresholds are exceeded, and this can lead to a situation in which control is lost and a lot of pain occurs.

Missed potential

There are people who invest a lot of time and effort in getting revenge. It is very easy that, once past this stage, we look back and see this period as a waste of time, a gap in the calendar, because nothing that is enjoyed in the future in a sustained manner is due to those Actions.

The escalation of violence

It's easy to forget the reason why everything started, and that an action has its reaction indefinitely . In this way, an initiative that seemed to be liberating at first (since in theory it served to be able to come to feel at peace) comes to enslave, by demanding more and more time and effort.

What to do?

In the face of revenge, it is best to opt for one of two options.

On the one hand, it is good to look for distractions that help to make the intrusive thoughts about it appear again and again. With the change of habits, the tendency to think always about the same or to fantasize about getting revenge is broken.

On the other hand, you can also choose to reach revenge in a very indirect and relatively constructive and benign way . It is the option of the lesser evil.For example, using this desire for compensation making personal progress serve 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 depending on each one's philosophy of life. Of course, that does not mean that there is no battle to fight (and win) against the desire for revenge.


Psychology of Revenge (June 2024).


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