Monday, 27 May 2013
Revenge is sweet?
But apparently a lot of people find revenge deeply satisfying. They find it cathartic, liberating, perversely enjoyable. They like to rub someone's face in their failings and make them feel as dreadful as possible.
It seems especially common among jilted or dissatisfied lovers. Women who slice up their partner's clothes or write insults on their cars or circulate embarrassing photos on the internet. Men who cut off their wives without a penny or make out they're promiscuous sluts.
Can it really be cathartic? Maybe if the person has treated you particularly shabbily. Maybe if you just want to get the frustration and anger out of your system. Maybe if you want to show them you're not simply a doormat they can wipe their feet on.
But I've never felt the urge. My father treated me badly. One or two employers have treated me badly. Some supposed friends have treated me badly. But mostly I just shrugged my shoulders, rescued my self-esteem and moved on. I never "had it in" for them. I never wanted to "give them a good kicking." That desire in itself would affect my self-esteem. It would feel undignified, cheap, vulgar, primitive. I prefer to hold my head up high and turn my back on them.
Revenge strikes me as a kind of "eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" principle, which I've never agreed with. Two wrongs don't make a right, and to my mind revenge is precisely one wrong added to another. If you want catharsis, why not just look for a better lover, a better friend, a better employer? Surely that'll do more for you in the long run than cutting up someone's clothes?
But maybe I'm just lacking a normal, healthy, full-bloodied emotion that needs to be indulged from time to time. Maybe I'm simply too kind-hearted, too phlegmatic, too rational.