Tag Archives: vengeance

Vengeance revisited


Suppose you met someone, and they hurt you, and they vanished and you breathed a sigh of relief. And then they turned up again. Cheerily. Unaware of the damage you sustained in their presence. Wanting to damage again.

What would you do?

Would you seek vengeance?

Would you ignore the opportunity to create personal ruin?

Would you go to the gym and punch something til your hands bled to release the anger?

Would you let it go and avoid the confrontation?

It’s at times like this that I truly wish life was really like the TV show “Ally McBeal”. On this program, when the characters were angry, flames would shoot out of their mouths or a great wind would arise and blow the target of their anger all about.

Me, I’d like to wield thunderbolts. Not always, and I’d probably feel guilty afterwards, but my golly it would be great to have an occasional thunderbolt in my back pocket for some people.

Of course, the thought occurs to me that if I had thunderbolts, probably a few other people might have them, too, and I might well become a thunderbolt recipient. So it’s probably just as well we all remain thunderbolt-less.

So what to do with anger, rage, fear, animosity? I don’t have these emotions often. Over the years, I have muted my responsiveness to provocation – most things don’t feel worth fighting over.

But recently I was badly hurt by someone, and thought he was gone, and now he’s back, breathing wolflike along the edges of my existence. I can ignore him and hope he goes away.

But the temptation to wreak retribution is large. I can feel it tingling along my spine, sending electric charges into my arms, readying me for combat.

Forgiveness is wiser, but the circle is incomplete without apology. So instead I visualize ridiculous scenes of physical attack on this person (who is much bigger than I) followed by demanding an apology.

It’s unwise to try without those thunderbolts. (Interestingly, when I went looking for images of women wielding lightning bolts for this blog, there were hardly any to be found. Why IS that, I wonder?)

So, my fiction-writing self steps in, and says to me, in a soothing voice – never mind, darling, we’ll just use him in a story. We’ll inflict virtual harm. It’ll be almost as good. And you can hurt him again and again until you have wounded him out of your system.

Smiling, I pick up my pen, all better now.

Vengeance is mine?


ImageSeems to me someone said that once, and it wasn’t about all of us just wandering about blowing each other’s heads off.

But things are getting out of hand.

I was working out in the gym the other day, happily listening to some be-boppy music and watching the TVs in front of me, rather idly, through the sweat running into my eyes. I dunno, but I think I saw on CMT (Country Music Television) a set of songs involving women’s vengeance on men. It was all helpfully subtitled so I could read the words, and the visuals swam by rather horrifically. 

The first one was about a woman whose man beat her up, so she planned to stand behind the door, light a cigarette, and shoot him through the head with her gun. Sweet.

The next one showed a woman carrying a draining gas tank through the town to where she saw her guy in bed with another woman. She lit the gas trail and it whipped through the town, ending up by burning down his house. Maybe he was in it. I don’t know.

Doesn’t this seem a bit extreme? Why not just leave? Heck, if you are strong enough to go to all that prep, you surely have the moxie to move on and find someone worthy of your attention, right?

Of course, it seems more shocking since it’s a woman doing all this – we’re so accustomed to the male “You done me wrong so I’m going to kill you” meme we barely blink an eye. I always have hopes that women will turn out to be better at things than men. After all, we have the capacity. We just let men think they’re in charge a lot of the time because they can’t cope with the alternative. We could be in charge, but we don’t want the hassle, right?

Turns out we often are better. At vengeance. We women step up to the plate and are nastier than the men we deride. The other day in church, a woman who feels above us all called out our minister in public for some perceived slight. She explained that she had a much closer contact with God than the rest of us, so she needed to move on. Fine. Move on. But spreading discord in your wake? Needless and hurtful. 

Other women compete with friends, put them down, run back end sorties to scoop the sand from under them and rejoice in their fall. It’s horrible. Like the men we accuse, we spend out energies getting even, instead of starting over and living positively. At least men just punch and move on. Most of the time. Not that that is okay, either.

In any case, the whole vengeance thing is flawed. We often don’t have all the information, we are muddled by our own thoughts and desires and fears and inadequacies. Judges have a tough time assigning blame, and they have a rule book and are not personally involved. We’re hot under the collar and hurt and filled with incorrect information and phlegm, and direct energy negatively instead of positively. 

Like the women in the videos, maybe the problem isn’t so much external as internal.

As Despair.com says, maybe The only consistent feature in all of your dissatisfying relationships is you.

Why not leave vengeance to those responsible for it, and instead move on, forgive, not forget, not repeat, learn, make a new ending?

I love the quote from Joyce Meyer: Harbouring unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping your enemy will die.

There’s enough violence in the world to go around: physical, structural, emotional, financial. Let’s not get into it or sponsor the idea that it’s empowering to attack others.

It isn’t.

The true power and strength is in not attacking others.