Sticking the knife in to get revenge gives you momentary pleasure but long term relationship stress.
Do you worry that you are going to be punished by your loved one if you talk too long on the phone when dinner is ready?
Are you waiting for the revenge that inevitably comes because you spent time with an old friend you hadn’t seen in a while instead of getting tickets for the show?
Perhaps you feel like taking revenge and punishing your loved ones or friends when they let you down. May be you want to teach them a lesson and make them pay for their relationship sins the same way you have to pay for your relationship rule violations.
It is normal to want to get revenge and punish those that have hurt, humiliated or shamed you. Sometimes it is the only way of making sure that the other person knows exactly how bad you felt when they punished you for just being human, for being yourself.
Relationships fall apart when revenge and punishment become the main motives that drive the interactions. They sow seeds of suspicion and hate, rather than understanding and tolerance.
Psychotherapy can help you manage feelings of revenge and a wish to punish by:
1. Helping you identify and speak about your deepest wounds that make you want to retaliate.
Benefit: processing your pain gives you words that communicate the depth of your hurt so that you don’t have to resort to revenge and punishment for satisfaction.
2. Providing strategies for dealing with expectations that stamp on your individuality and put your relationship in jeopardy.
Benefit: you learn to create and maintain your personal space and freedom without having to torment a loved one with revenge and punishment.
3. Describe and manage your experience when you expect to be punished.
Benefit: articulating your fear of being punished if you make independent choices gives you the incentive to check out whether your expectations will be realized on a specific occasion. You won’t be caught in a self-fulfilling prophecy, egging your loved on to punish you because you believe it is inevitable.
4. Outline your reactions to being punished in words rather than actions.
Benefit: articulating your experience of being punished if you dare to be yourself builds a sense of self-esteem and self-worth that works by eliminating the revenge and punishment cycle in close relationships. If you feel good enough, no need to buy the feeling with revengeful acts.
Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.
Call 310.985.2491 to set up your appointment.
Talk away your hurt rather than punish or be punished in your relationships