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The Psychology of Revenge | Science of People

The Long-Term Effects of Revenge:

We often believe that exacting revenge is a form of emotional release and that getting retribution will help us feel better. Movies often portray the act of revenge as a way of gaining closure after a wrong. But in fact, revenge has the opposite effect.

Even though the first few moments feel rewarding in the brain, psychological scientists have found that instead of quenching hostility, revenge prolongs the unpleasantness of the original offense.

Instead of delivering justice, revenge often creates only a cycle of retaliation.

“A man that studieth revenge, keeps his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal.” –Francis Bacon

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Revenge and the people who seek it – Parental Alienators!!

The results suggest that, despite conventional wisdom, people—at least those with Westernized notions of revenge—are bad at predicting their emotional states following revenge, Carlsmith says. The reason revenge may stoke anger’s flames may lie in our ruminations, he says. When we don’t get revenge, we’re able to trivialize the event, he says. We tell ourselves that because we didn’t act on our vengeful feelings, it wasn’t a big deal, so it’s easier to forget it and move on. But when we do get revenge, we can no longer trivialize the situation. Instead, we think about it. A lot.

“Rather than providing closure, it does the opposite: It keeps the wound open and fresh,” he says.

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Borderline: Understanding the Patients that Psychologists Fear

BPD patients are thought to be particularly skilled manipulators with jealous and vindictive tendencies. Accordingly, mental health professionals often view sufferers negatively. BPD patients subject not only their loved ones, but their therapists and psychologists, to their emotional reactions and instability. Therapists tend to distance themselves when treating a BPD individual, which in turn affects the patient’s quality of treatment and outcome.

As further developments are made in dialectical behavioral therapy, aimed at borderline patients and the therapists who are unsure about treating them, the possibility of a successful outcome becomes more likely. However, just general demystification of the disorder and those it affects can aid in getting rid of the stigma that follows borderlines.

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Vindictive Narcissists | HealthyPlace

The narcissist may have been involved in tax evasion, in malpractice, in child abuse, in infidelity – there are so many possibilities, which offer a rich vein of attack. If done cleverly, non-committally, gradually, in an escalating manner – the narcissist crumbles, disengages and disappears. He lowers his profile thoroughly in the hope of avoiding hurt and pain.

Most narcissists have been known to disown and abandon a whole PNS (Pathological Narcissistic Space) in response to a well-focused campaign by their victims. Thus, a narcissist may leave town, change a job, desert a field of professional interest, avoid friends and acquaintances – only to relieve the unrelenting pressure exerted on him by his victims.

I repeat: most of the drama takes place in the paranoid mind of the narcissist. His imagination runs amok. He finds himself snarled by horrifying scenarios, pursued by the vilest “certainties”. The narcissist is his own worst persecutor and prosecutor.

You don’t have to do much except utter a vague reference, make an ominous allusion, delineate a possible turn of events. The narcissist will do the rest for you. He is like a little child in the dark, generating the very monsters that paralyse him with fear.

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How to Avoid Vindictive People

Basically, there are only two ways of coping with vindictive narcissists:

1. To Frighten Them

Narcissists live in a state of constant rage, repressed aggression, envy and hatred. They firmly believe that everyone is like them. As a result, they are paranoid, suspicious, scared and erratic. Frightening the narcissist is a powerful behaviour modification tool. If sufficiently deterred – the narcissist promptly disengages, gives up everything he was fighting for and sometimes make amends.

To act effectively, one has to identify the vulnerabilities and susceptibilities of the narcissist and strike repeated, escalating blows at them – until the narcissist lets go and vanishes.


If a narcissist is hiding a personal fact – one should use this to threaten him. One should drop cryptic hints that there are mysterious witnesses to the events and recently revealed evidence. The narcissist has a very vivid imagination. Let his imagination do the rest.

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What Does the Phrase “vindictive Personality” Mean?

A vindictive person is someone with an enduring need for vengeance. People who are prone to vindictive behavior have a high level of negative emotions, and often take out their anger by hurting their loved ones in some way, via psychological or physical abuse and manipulation.

Vindictiveness is also commonly a result of a personality disorder such as borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. Borderline personality disorder is also characterized by excessive and impulsive behaviors, emotional instability, a strong fear of abandonment, self-destruction, paranoid thoughts and unstable self-awareness. Narcissistic personality disorder may include an exaggerated sense of self-value, lack of empathy, self-centeredness, repressed aggression, hatred, envy, paranoid and suspicious thoughts and behavior. A vindictive personality can negatively impact social, family and work relationships.

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Why Are Some Human Beings So Vindictive?

Psychologists and researchers believe that human behavior is determined by the genes and the kind of environment we live in. While the role of Nature and Nurture has always been accepted, even the best of upbringing and education couldn’t exterminate the innate vindictiveness of human beings.

It can be discerned in the innocent squabbling of toddlers; it gets sharpened when they grow up to face the competitive world of sports and schooling and slowly it becomes a part of their personality.

Probably the real reason is rooted in the evolution of human race, which had to struggle to survive against all odds and challenging circumstances. In modern times, when people are blessed with all kinds of materialistic and spiritual choices, revenge refuses to slacken its hold on human psyche.

Why? What could be the possible reasons?

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Sociopathic stare

Look for hallmarks like the contempt sneer, a slight nostril flare, holding eye contact just a few seconds too long, and deep brooding looks that rapidly convert to faces camouflaging deep-seated levels of dark and murky rage from people with ASPD affectations.

If they hold your gaze for more than 5 seconds, understand the most common fantasies or free thought flow patterns most Sociopaths or Psychopaths report include thoughts of sexual domination or destroying their target. What that means is, if they cannot stop themselves from staring at you, they are striving to both capture your attention while secretly planning to use and abuse you.

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Offense Type as Determinant of Revenge and Forgiveness After Victimization: Adolescents’ Responses to Injustice and Aggression:

If given the choice between a broken bone and being dumped by a romantic partner, or between a black eye and being slandered by a close friend, many would seriously consider enduring the physically painful options over those that are psychologically and relationally so. (Barnes, Brown, & Osterman, 2009Barnes, C. D., Brown, R. P., & Osterman, L. L. (2009). Protection, payback, or both? Emotional and motivational mechanisms underlying avoidance by victims of transgressions. Motivation & Emotion, 33, 400411. doi:10.1007/s11031-009-9142-4[Crossref], [Web of Science ®] , [Google Scholar], p. 400)

Posted in Parental Alienation & Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Power and Revenge

We took an individual differences approach to explain revenge tendencies in powerholders. Across four experimental studies, chronically powerless individuals sought more revenge than chronically powerful individuals following a high power episode (Studies 1 and 2), when striking a powerful pose (Study 3), and when making a powerful hand gesture (Study 4). This relationship vanished when participants were not exposed to incidental power. A meta-analysis revealed that, relative to a lack of power or a neutral context, exposure to incidental power increased vengeance among the chronically powerless and reduced vengeance among the chronically powerful. These findings add to previous research on relations between power and aggression, and underscore the role of individual differences as a determinant of powerholders’ destructive responses.


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