The best vengeance is not vengeance

Vengeance frees the soul

Those who only suppress their thirst for retribution will get sick. The only important question is in what form the revenge takes place. Feelings of revenge are something everyday, but nothing harmless. It does not help, however, to demonize them. The Old Testament advice "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" has always enjoyed greater popularity than the holy commandment of Christian forgiveness.

In our society, it is hardly discussed out of shame, although everyone is familiar with the feeling. So far, psychologists have had the need to "get back" on evildoers as a stupid drive that should preferably be suppressed with all their might - according to the motto: no revenge is the best revenge.

But isn't such a noble disposition often interpreted as stupidity? And besides, giving up a strong desire has never had anything to do with relieving satisfaction.

The world-renowned Swiss psychoanalyst Professor Léon Wurmser advises his patients "... to express your anger when you have been injured". This is how you show: "I'm someone too, you can't do that to me."

Vengeance is the expression of a fundamental human need to transform passively suffered into actively traded, believes the expert. The victim takes revenge by becoming the perpetrator himself. The act of retaliation creates - at least - satisfaction.

Revenge is like a valve that carefully and gently releases the excess pressure of pent-up anger. Provided that you don't wait so long for infinite anger to build up, but take revenge with small, subtle nasties when you feel the need to.

Today experts consider revenge as a creative form of "psycho-hygiene". They are therefore calling for seminars to teach people how to deal with thirst for revenge so that they do not trigger new injustices. Avengers shouldn't lose sight of the boomerang effect. Everything is allowed in fantasy, but of course you are not allowed to carry out your bloodthirsty desires. For example, anyone who imagines how the unfaithful lover is run over by a car after a shepherdess with their rival is completely normal. Even murder fantasies are humanly understandable - as long as they are not put into practice.

Most of the time, we leave it to our wild fantasies about the just retribution of shame suffered. Often that is not enough, then action has to follow.

Preparing a lasagna with cat food for him, blackening them anonymously at the tax office, cleaning the toilet with your toothbrush or even a contact ad with the phone number of the unfaithful lover can be amusing. Text: "Tender He with a lot of free time spoils you:" The better you know a person, the more clearly you know his weaknesses and know how to hurt him.

Retaliation, however, must not be violent, criminal or excessive, and must never be directed against bystanders. Revenge is good when you know how to deal with it. Where revenge poisons the soul with its negative energy, there is no room for a feeling of satisfaction.

There is the irrepressible desire to harm the "bad guy" if we have been hurt, cheated or insulted. Insults hit the core of self-esteem sensitively: Burning anger soon turns into cold calculation, with which one goes to work with one's thirst for revenge.

Every revenge is preceded by a loss: the honor, the self-esteem, the great love - everything can be irrevocably ruined and arouses the desire for satisfaction.

"The need for revenge is greatest when it comes to love," wrote the American psychoanalyst Jane Goldberg in her book "The Dark Side of Love". Women feel especially humiliated when their partner takes a lover and you fall behind. When it comes to love, most people feel that their most sensitive side has been hit.

Some people are already down because of a single bad criticism. It is important not to make yourself too dependent on how others judge you. When asked: How much can I take without having to take revenge, it's all about: How resilient am I to narcissistic hurt.

"Even very young children develop - probably towards the end of their second year of life - a basic need for justice, a feeling that people can only live together if there is a kind of primitive justice," says Leon Wurmser. Retaliation thus corresponds to the archaic desire to restore a subjectively disturbed balance. Striking back seems almost like an instinctive drive to regain that balance.

A Swiss team of scientists led by Dominique de Quervain at the University of Zurich has found that punishment is satisfactory. They had playtesters compete in a game. They could behave cooperatively or disloyally. Teammates who felt they had been tricked were allowed to "punish" their partners. The overreached people found this revenge particularly pleasant: Whenever the test subjects were planning their revenge, a region of the brain called the dorsal striatum was particularly active and should be viewed as part of the reward system. From this it is concluded that giving punishment is experienced by the brain as satisfaction.