Letting Go of Revenge

Hamlet avenged his father by killing his uncle...

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The concept that we need to seek revenge against those who harm us runs deep in the collective subconscious.

I never quite understood the desire for revenge in my life; I viewed it as one of the many roots of evil among humans.

Reading the Bible as a child cemented in my mind the idea that revenge was the low path to take. I did not grow up in an overly religious home. We went to church only a few times each year. I read the Bible because from a very young age, I was a seeker. While reading the gospel of Christ, I became convinced that Jesus was a wise man who knew a higher truth. When he spoke against revenge, I agreed. I knew in my heart that his words were right.

“Ye have heard that it has been said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”  (Matthew 5:38-39).

This way of turning the other cheek, of course, is the right way. It is the high road. I knew this, firmly, by the age of ten. As a result, I went through my entire life without ever considering revenge. I forgave people their trespasses against me. This included my young husband, whom I had left at the age of twenty-three, taking our baby daughter with me, because he had turned to a life of drugs. I never condemned him to our daughter, and she grew up knowing that he had fallen to the wrong path, but that he was a good person at heart. Not once did I ever feel a moment of hatred or resentment towards him, in all those years during which I raised her by myself, without any help from him because I did not want to be connected with his lifestyle.

When he came back into our lives after an absence of nearly twenty years, we both forgave him, and we believed and trusted him while he told us lies about having quit getting high years before. We opened up our hearts to him and let him into our lives.

After nearly three years of our new life together, I discovered in October, 2010, that he was still dealing drugs, that he’d never stopped, and that he’d been sleeping with another woman for over a year. This was a turning point in my life, as I grappled with the emotional upheaval from his betrayal. In order to process his betrayal, and to heal, I began writing this blog.

Surprisingly, I became obsessed with the idea of revenge. I wanted to seek revenge against this other woman, whom I have never met. At first, I was convinced that he had lied to her as well, and that she hadn’t know that he was sleeping with both of us. However, within a month it became obvious that she had known about the deception, and had been an active deceiver.

How could another woman, who had never met me, willingly go along with a deception which would break not only my heart but my daughter’s? I struggled to understand. I’d never met anyone who’d cheated or deceived like this and now I knew two people who had been deliberately deceiving me for eighteen months!

I would think of how I would exact my revenge. I would inform her adult son that his mother’s new boyfriend was a long-term drug dealer. (He has a full-time job and has hidden his drug use from her.) I would send her all the letters he’d written to me while he was sleeping with both of us, to see how passionately he’d cared for me. I would post her cheating name on the internet. I would hex her with a spell.

An inner part of me was horrified when these urges for revenge descended upon me, but I would let my mind play out the fantasy, knowing the desire would burn itself out. I’d force myself to never think about this woman, but over the past year, periodically a sharp spark of revenge would fly up and creative diabolical plans would spin out in my brain. I would allow myself to think about it, but vowed to never act on my impulses.

Finally, within the past few weeks, the revenge urge has dried up. What is the point? I don’t know her motives. I don’t know how much he lied to her. He is a professional liar, so I am sure that she received as many lies as I did, if not more. I am guessing that he told her that our relationship was not sexual, perhaps blaming me for some sexual deficiency (the opposite is true, we were always quite passionate.)

I don’t know her motives. I don’t know what she believed. I don’t know what he told her. I don’t know who she is. I do know that he has hidden from her the fact that he has been dealing drugs for over twenty years. I know that he has hidden the extent of his drug use from her.Like many lifetime addicts, he is also addicted to pornography and online sex, and drawn to very dark sexual fantasies.

So I know that she is a person involved with a man with many secrets, a man who will lie to her as much as he lied to me. If anything now, my feelings for her are those of compassion. She is sleeping with a man who has a secret life. I don’t envy her at all. I consider myself fortunate to be out of the situation. Perhaps she has done me a favor in letting me escape from him.



3 thoughts on “Letting Go of Revenge

  1. Pingback: hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, lash for lash… « master of life in earth, sky and sea

  2. I feel like I am reading my own story. Mine is very recent, within the past month, so it is very helpful to read the path that you are on. I know it will be long, as betrayal is the very worst form of abuse, but I appreciate your writing about this…it has helped me feel normal in a very out of control situation.

    • Yes, it’s amazing how all of our survivor stories from the aftermath of a relationship with a Cluster B personality have so much in common. They are basically all the same story with different details.

      Hang in there. You are not alone.


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