I know I addressed this subject a few years ago. While I’m not surprised at how often my clients speak of “revenge” during a divorce mediation, I’m kind of embarrassed that it’s taken me a long time to revisit the topic.
In the State of Nevada where my mediation practice is located, divorce is what they call “no-fault.” The catchall phrase is “irreconcilable differences.” Regardless of Nevada’s definition, in my office either the wife or the husband is at fault, and the other partner wants revenge. Although I don’t ask why the relationship is ending, it almost always comes out in our conversations. Some people take the position that they are the innocent victims, while others spend time convincing me that they were justified. I let them vent because they usually need to do so. And they also seem to need to exact some form of revenge.
I’ve heard enough examples of revenge that I’m now able to divide them into three categories.
- Signage Revenge. These have run the gamut from public posts on Facebook and Twitter to billboards, to signs in the front yard, to spray-painting words of vitriol on garage doors or car windshields. Spelling and grammar apparently don’t matter in this context. The messages contain insults and creative swearing.
- Money Revenge. This is the kind of revenge I hear about the most often. Spouses draining their joint bank accounts, maxing out their credit cards, selling the other partner’s prized possessions for peanuts on E-Bay, You get the idea.
- Passive-Aggressive Revenge. These are, in my opinion, the most interesting. Some decide to expose the other partner’s actions to his/her parents, causing additional and sometimes far-reaching family drama. Someone once confessed to me that she poured out her boyfriend’s conditioner and put hair removal lotion in the bottle instead. Once, I read about a woman who sewed several pounds of raw shrimp into the lining of the living room drapes the day she moved out., and evidently, it took awhile to figure out what was causing the nasty smell in his apartment. I’ve even been told that people can cast an evil spell against someone!
I want to make it perfectly clear that I don’t think revenge is a good idea. It can easily backfire, and it can cause irreparable harm to all involved. So why am I still curious about it? Why am I writing about it? I am not doing any personal research, that’s for sure. I can truthfully say that I don’t have a single grudge against anyone whose actions would warrant my seeking revenge. Not right now, anyway.
So humor me. Do you have a “friend” who has sought revenge? No names. I’m looking for examples of good ideas as well as ridiculous ones. I also would like to know if there were any consequences. Please help me out and share a story or two in the comments. Make sure you change your “friend’s” name so we can keep this all anonymous.
While I have never instigated revenge on anyone that has done me wrong, I have often thought about it. Personally I try to take the high road when I am done wrong by others. I could relay a ton of experiences where I was wronged even by friends. Yet, I took a deep breath and walked away taking the high road. I have no doubt that they wonder what I really think. My solution is to just distance myself and build a life without allowing that person a door back in.
“Before beginning a journey of vengeance, dig two graves.” — Confucius
My mantra is I’m not going to be who you think I am. Easier said than done, sometimes, but why give the person any satisfaction.
Revenge is not a solution to any problem. My father always said “the better person walks away from a fight “. There have been several instances where I would have loved to drain the bank, spray the car and slam on social media, who is the victor in those situations? Not me and not the other involved. Revenge is utmost anger. No one should have to get to the point of revenge. There is always a solution to every action. Make smart choices.
I have seen 2 cases of revenge with my children and their ex-spouses. In both cases, I would say karma was experienced.
1. When my oldest daughter divorced from her husband; he turned their only son against her by accusing her of the demise of the marriage because of his accusation of her infidelity. (Come to find out later – he was unfaithful before and throughout their marriage). She took the high road, and never said a word about her ex-husband’s infidelity. Karma: She and her son have found their way back and are rebuilding their relationship.
2. When one of my sons and his wife divorced. His ex-wife threw him out, and had him fired from his job with her step-father as a heavy equipment mechanic. Financially, and admirably, he pulled himself up out of abject poverty. He was so experienced and well-certified at his job, he was “head-hunted” by a couple of international heavy equipment companies to open a branch of their company here in Las Vegas. He has a very good income now. Karma: He was able to hire his former father-in-law’s best mechanic away with a great job offer.
I have to admit, I’m not as high-minded as my children have been. I really wanted revenge on the people who hurt them. When you think about it – it’s not in anyone’s best interest. Those that hurt intentionally, will themselves experience the same someday (hopefully).
The best revenge you can get is to survive and prosper. Nothing pisses off an ex more than to see you getting on with your life and doing well.
Always liked the quote from “Color Purple”. “What you done to me, already done to you”. Karma.
I dropped or cancelled all of an ex boyfriends classes on the last day to drop a class if your not doing well in it. This was during the 90’s and I did it over the phone.