There are two wolves that are fighting inside me”, said the grandfather to his grandson. “They are constantly in battle. One is evil - he is full of anger, jealousy, greed, lies, ego, resentment and arrogance. The other is good - full of modesty, kindness, empathy, generosity, love, truth, compassion and faith”. The little boy, wide-eyed, asked his grandfather, “who wins?” “The one you feed”, said the grandfather with a smile. This is a tale narrated to children to help them differentiate between the good and bad. It is also a reminder to keep our emotions in check. Everyone experiences hurtful incidents caused by a colleague, relative or neighbour. Some, in particular, choose to act on it in a rather revengeful manner. A furious person can't tell what's right or wrong. They only see a bad situation in the light that someone tried to wrong them and they have to make it right for themselves. The act of inflicting revenge is the only solution they can think of at that moment. To some people, the mere thought of revenge feels like a sweet morsel to the mouth. We want to call it retribution but in actuality, it is nothing but a thought or act of retaliation. Studies showed that when a person thinks of revenge, the feeling accesses the nucleus accumbens in the brain, the part that is accessed when we feel rewarded. Some people might feel vengeful, being completely aware of this emotion, they might or might not act on it. This is where our morals come into picture and help us to walk away from inflicting harm. Now, there are some who chose to be vindictive occasionally and some who are chronically vindictive.
You can spot a vindictive person if they ● Take things too personally - even the least of slights feels like it was to target them ● Severely and harshly criticize a person to their face or behind them ● They hold grudges and they hold it for long. They remember almost every incident they have been wronged. ● Sometimes they might not be all choppy and aggressive on the outside but they might be quite manipulative. If you find that this person who talks about anyone after they leave, they are revengeful and they might do the same to you. ● They are often passive-aggressive. It might take a while to understand that. They might say something that sounds like a compliment but it is more of a derogatory statement like 'you look good but if you were fair, you would have looked much better' A person with a vindictive personality is unaware of their feeling of exacting revenge. It is almost instantaneously the only way they react.
What makes someone vindictive? ● Jealousy - though jealousy is a feeling widely felt momentarily, this feeling makes a large part of a vindictive person's psyche. The thought of seeing someone happy or having something they didn't have is a major trigger. ● Negative thoughts - people who mull over all the bad things that happened to them develop a lot of negative thoughts. These thoughts fester and cause them to think that revenge is what will make them happy. ● Power - studies have shown that vindictive people long for power. It could be tyrannical managers or toxic colleagues. Punishment or inflicting pain through manipulation or blackmail are ways to show the other person that they are powerful.
● Insecurities - the feeling of not being enough or low self-esteem stemming from jealousy are triggered to make them want to inflict hurt. It exposes their imperfections to them making them want to hurt you for having that which they don't. ● Genetics - some studies show that despite being brought up in a loving household, some kids have shown traits of revenge, showing their most innate personality. Though nothing conclusive has been proven, you can't seem to find another reason for a child to hurt another kid for having a toy they can't have.
Revenge versus Avenge More often we get confused with the term revenge and avenge. Revenge is the act of righting the wrong done to you, as an individual. Avenge is an act of righting the wrong for justice. Revenge is the act of vindictiveness whereas avenging is an act of closure. A vengeful person thinks he/she is avenging themselves of the wrong committed to them. They play the perceived victim card. How to deal with a vindictive person ● Do not listen to their gossip or attempts to turn you against another person. Politely decline to accept their perspectives. ● Move away from vindictive and negative people - this is by far the best way to keep yourself peaceful ● Revenge is not a feeling that will dissipate once the act is over. It will only build up more situations. If you see someone who exhibits this quality or has gloated about something they did previously, keep away ● In situations where you are unable to avoid them, such as your boss or colleague, figure out a work around to move away from them. Request a change of project to your HR. If you find them repeatedly hurting you, try to talk to your HR or the office health counselor. Seek their help to make things comfortable for yourself.
Resentment is one of the most underrated traits that affect us in one way or the other. Be it the tyrannical boss, the negative relative or the jealous neighbour, we have had our share of bitter experiences. If you have been on the receiving end, the best way to spare yourself of misery is to avoid them. If on the other hand, you are able to relate with the behaviour of a vindictive person, seek help as resentment will only cause more harm to you.