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.