Not yet completed.
tba Most of the major points are below, though I'll be editing this. This is in a common "family" of beliefs and behaviors related to the same misunderstanding. Vengeance, anger, rage, rageful envy.
HOW DOES VENGEANCE GET CREATED AS A "STRATEGY"
From the small child's viewpoint, he is totally dependent on "the big people". It seems to make sense to the child to use every strategy possible to get what he wants. One strategy is to attempt to control others.
In so doing, he/she will concoct some really, really bad strategies.
A number of those strategies involved a totally nonsensical belief that he/she will get something out of things that have no real world impact.
It is just magical thinking.
And some of the strategies are alienating to others, plus stressful for the person involved - and the latter can be quite damaging.
QUESTIONING THE BELIEFS BEHIND THE STRATEGY
If I harm someone else and think that I am getting some benefit out of it, am I really.
Isn't it a superillusion to think that I will "get even"?
Yes, I can live in the world where I think that since I can't best another then I'll bring them down to my level (on an "even" basis with me) - I'll harm them and make them worse off in order to do that.
But is there truly any sense in that, in terms of real world results. I would say "never".
THE RESULTS OF MY BEHAVIOR
I must first develop an understanding of the damage I am causing, as a motivation to stop doing the behavior.
The results of this behavior:
1. Another person is probably worse off (if in fact they even noticed or cared).
2. The perpetrator is caught up in a destructive emotion while doing the strategy - which doesn't feel good and does sizable damage to the body. (See Anger and Stressors Of The Body.)
3. Unless the perpetrator is a psychopath sociopath, the perpetrator will feel bad about doing something that conflicts with his/her values (be kind, be a good person, not hurt other people, and such). This is called shame and/or guilt and it leads to self-recrimination.
What does it get the perpetrator?
DO I, AT THE CORE, REALLY WANT TO BE MATURE?
Handling an emotional need appropriately is the essence of maturity. Handling an emotional need inappropriately is the mark of immaturity (or high ignorance), for one creates damage besides often not even handling the actual, true emotional need. Immaturity is not "bad" or "evil"; it is simply a "not knowing and/or not being clear about" something. The cure then is learning, so that (1) knowledge can be applied to it along with (2) reasoning that allows one to come to a useful conclusion. (A person who does not progress in his/her belief system is involved in vague, non-corrective "non-thinking" and consequently needs to learn and develop the habit of "critical thinking" (aka "effective thinking"); knowledge/facts + logic/reasoning = success.)
Certainly it makes no sense to cause oneself ill consequences. And the test of sanity is whether one acts to get good consequences and/or to stave off bad consequences.
The question to ask oneself is, then, "will this get me more beneficial consequences?"
If the rational answer is "no", then you must stop doing it - and avoid the "I'm a victim of my emotions and beliefs" routine.
All of this is based around oneself seeking to remain in a victim role in life and the "supposed benefits", not realizing the costs of this "racket". To put it bluntly, even though you may not realize it, if you are engaging in vengeful behavior, you are engaging in poor thinking, childish thinking, and being a victim.
BUT, I CAN'T RESIST
"I just can't resist" is both a true statement and an untrue statement. It is not true to say that one does not have the ability to create a better result, in some manner - at the very least I can create better beliefs. It is true that if one does not prepare and if one does not have the knowledge to choose better (see Sufficient Knowing), then one will take the route he/she believes will relieve the distress.
How can one "get even" if one causes oneself damage (besides, of course, causing harm to another) and is, in fact, worse off?
There is no rational answer that I know of.
Basically, if one uses vengeance, one is simply engaged in a poor strategy of handling an emotion and really stupid beliefs that cause the emotion in the first place.
A VAGUE, UNTRUE, AND UNEXAMINED BELIEF!
Some will say "I get satisfaction out of getting even."
How do you feel after you've done it and while you're doing it? Is the satisfaction durable and positive or is it temporary relief?
Or is that simply a false, unexamined belief, one so bad as to be one of the most harmful traits of unthinking people and even whole cultures?
Temporary relief is achieved, for the moment anyway, if in one's mind it is believed that vengeance will cause relief, to some extent, it will relieve one of his/her current "distress".
But the measure of maturity is achieving a long term net positive result, and surely short term temporary relief does not trump long term benefit or avoidance of harm.
If someone has any conscience at all, there will likely be a "counter" conversation where one feels some regret or guilt about harming another. Also, one may feel a loss of confidence in oneself for having "reacted like an animal." Pride only comes from resisting the easy (or stupid) way and embracing what works and is, net, beneficial.
SIMILAR TO THE BELIEFS AROUND BLAME AND CRITICISM
It is based around or similar to the idea of blame, criticism, and punishment being of benefit, whereas the truth is the exact opposite, if one has reasoned out the consequences.
Since we all do things in an attempt to enhance our survival (and/or reduce threats to our survival), we would certainly like to do things that are effective – and definitely avoid that which is counter-productive, aka “dysfunctional". However, we most often first label “dysfunctional” as “bad”, to be avoided and even denied. (Avoidance and denial are done believing, falsely, that it will relieve us of responsibility for our lives.) But “dysfunctional” simply means "not serving to achieve the result we want" and/or to cause the opposite of what is desired.
There is no logical (i.e. proven, reasonable) argument for blame or criticism (pejorative judgment type) to be used.
People simply do what they know best and sometimes that doesn’t work (see No Fault). If one seeks, then, to correct another's behavior then one must give feedback (information!) that could be helpful, where that is feasible, instead of attacking the other person.
For ourselves, if the effect on us of being vengeful is not acceptable, one must simply move away, disengage – and give up the attempt to “control” what is uncontrollable (which is one of the most important realizations and principles to learn in growing up). Acting otherwise is engaging in a child's "magical thinking", where somehow they believe that they can control others via force.
IT IS ABOUT YOU, NOT ABOUT THE OTHER PERSON
Vengeance (and it cousins) lies in the realm of "doing someone else's inventory" (noting all the faults in another) simply to make them wrong (instead of being in a problem solving, progressive mode). And it often couple's up with the invalid idea of being able to control another person and not using the form of a non-demand request to help get what one desires. At the least, it takes energy away from looking at one's own inventory and deciding what to change oneself for the better - which is certainly realistically controllable.
You must do whatever it takes to fully reason this out for yourself and to accept that it does not serve you to engage in vengeance or getting even.
Then you must commit yourself to at least stop any action, until you return to a higher state of resourcefulness and HighSanity - at which point you would make your choice, perhaps also using a good resource to help you. When you get to the point of being able to engage your reasoning power then your life will vastly, vastly improve!
Take "The Commitment", and then go to the "conversations" one might engage in with oneself, in lieu of the ridiculous conversations one can have that lead to the degeration down to vengeance thinking.
___ I have seen what vengeance and the idea of getting even has caused.
___ I declare here and now that it is harmful to me and has no net benefit for the long term.
___ Therefore, I will no longer engage in it.
___ I hereby commit, henceforth, to never, even engage in vengeance or getting even.
___ I hereby commit to using my reasoning faculties and help when needed, instead, and to decide on a workable alternative.
___ I see that this is serious and important, so I will adhere to this commitment as a sacred vow which I will not violate. This is for my best good. And I now lay this issue to rest, never to be in my life henceforth.
I swear to this pledge on this ____ day of ______________, in the year _____.
___ I hereby promise to file this in a usable place.
Commitments must be copied onto a word document and then put into an accessible, referenceable format, such as the Reminders Notebook or one of the other appropriate notebooks in the LifeBook System.
The Vengeance Conversation
The conversation, explicit or deducible, that a person has that leads to vengeance would look something like this:
"That person did me wrong. He is evil. I must destroy him. He is a threat who must be stopped." "I will harm him and lower him, so that I can get even for the wrong he did to me!"
And what occurs inside is an intense anger emotion. That emotion evolved in us to deal with a true physical threat by having us fight or flee. But the degree of the motivation is intensified highly so that it will get us moving, if it is a truly large threat. [Note that if one has a highly intense reaction that is a sure sign that one's thinking has been that what happened is, in fact, a threat to survival. Even a threat to status can be extrapolated out to the belief that there is a threat to survival.]
The vengeance conversation is engaged in when the person has a limited quiver of strategies to use to "solve the problem" AND poor beliefs and/or erroneous perception cause some "wrong conclusions."
Be aware that such poor strategies as "vengeance" are allowed to exist only when there is vagueness, lack of clarifying, and lack of specificity about what is going on. To offset such strategies, one must, of course, engage in the opposite behavior: clarify, make certain, be specific, define and identity, be complete, use reasoning and facts.
The Mature Reply
Unless there is a mature reply ("conversation"), the poor thinking and the poor strategy will prevail, as those are practiced and fully grooved into the brain's neurological pathways. And, please be aware, this reply must have "pillars" of understanding and reasoning to support it, or it will tend to not be strong enough by merely repeating the words. (This is a common mistake in affirmations. See Using Affirmations Effectively.) "That person was simply doing no better than his current knowledge permits. So what if he used a poor strategy, he simply needs to learn better. But that is not up to me. It is a poor strategy to try to "teach someone a lesson", as it hardly ever works - and mostly just pisses off the other person." (See No Payoff Convincing, Persuading, Correcting.)
"It only makes sense to forgive that person, for he "knows not what he does". I forgive him and shall now move on to do something of benefit to me."
"Right now, I am scared, as if there is a true physical threat. I understand that primitive reaction, but in truth there is no big threat here. It is below a rating of 1 on a scale of 1 to a 100 of threats. It is no big deal, a truly small thing on the timeline of life. A person has simply been reactive, in his ignorance - and such is the human race. I shall not allow myself to go down to that level. I look at this from a high perspective and see it for what it is (virtually nothing as to an effect on my life) and for what it isn't (a true threat)."
"I need to appropriately handle any negative emotion that slipped through. This can be handled through physical movement to burn off the chemicals and through sending a safety signal to the alarm system by doing deep slow breathing and deep body relaxation for five minutes."
This or whatever you devise (if you devise something you think is good, please send it to me) should be repeated (as it cannot possibly be installed without that) for 45 days or longer (until you can recite the whole conversation by memory and thoroughly understand and believe what you are saying.
After the full installation (and for any "situations" in the interim), use this phrase to remind yourself of the overall conversation. (If you fail in a situation, do the 45 days again, perhaps even with an improved conversation to yourself.)
"He doesn't know any better. I forgive him. Now I will move on to do something of benefit to me. I will do the right thing and I will be the bigger, wiser person."