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Addressing the Dilemma: Is Revenge Considered Justice?

A person using a sledge hammer to destroy someone’s property.
Is revenge considered justice? Although they may seem similar, there’s one key difference that you can use to identify them.

In the novel The Count of Monte Cristo, the main character, Edmund Dantes, was beloved by everyone. However, a certain turn of events led him to become falsely imprisoned.

Once he was able to reclaim his freedom, the story began to revolve around Dantes’ quest for revenge against those who betrayed him.

Surely, like Dantes, you’ve thought about taking matters into your own hands after being angered or wronged.

You seek vengeance and justice in the form of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

However, is revenge considered justice?

The thin line that separates the two makes it hard for anyone to distinguish. More so when you’re overcome with strong emotions and the desire to be appeased.

In this case, understand what differentiates these two sides of the coin.

Only then can you determine whether your actions and the consequences that come with them will be worth it.

Why People Seek Revenge

There’s no such thing as “just because.” With this, take a look at your reasons for considering revenge. Most people mistake this for wanting to have justice, when in fact it’s more on getting even.

This is what differentiates the two.

That being said, here are the most common reasons for wanting revenge.

Means to Cope with Grief

Did you experience the death of a loved one, break up with your significant other, or lose a long-term career or your material possessions?

Regardless of what it is, when you lose something, it’s normal to experience different levels of grief. Oftentimes, you start feeling sad. However, that sadness can quickly turn into anger. In an immediate response, you direct your blame towards anyone besides yourself.

Doing so is an easy way to validate feeling vengeful and resentful. As a result, you begin to execute a plan for revenge with the pretext of trying to address the root cause of the problem.

Survivor’s Guilt

Survivor’s guilt can also be one of the reasons for wanting revenge. You may have moved on from an emotionally abusive relationship and feel like it was unfair for you to go through all that pain and suffering.

Or you may have survived a car accident but lost a loved one.

As a victim, you want to see the perpetrator suffer as much as you did.

You try to justify revenge by saying that they deserve to be punished for what they did. If not, you’ll feel like you’re letting yourself down.

Saving Your Reputation

Experiencing anger or misfortune can be a direct hit to your ego, especially if you’re someone who’s used to keeping up the “tough guy act.”

This is when you use revenge as a means of trying to save face.

You want people to see that you’re not someone others can just stomp on. And if they try, the harm they did to you will come back to them tenfold.

A woman feeling vengeful and resentful.
If you’re feeling vengeful and resentful, you may see revenge as the only way to appease yourself.

Types of Revenge

If revenge is constantly running through your mind, it comes as no surprise if you’re already thinking of ways to execute it.

Like some, you may be smiling at the thought of getting back at someone through the following types of revenge.

Public Humiliation

Social media allows you to connect with people worldwide. But oftentimes, those who seek revenge want to use popular sites like Facebook and Twitter as a tool for public humiliation.

Revenge in relationships is one common example, like when someone wants to call out a cheating ex and the person with whom they had an affair, then proceed to narrate the betrayal they felt after finding out about it.

Because the story is told from their perspective, it becomes easy for other users to barrage the cheater and the third party with hate messages.

Aside from social media, public humiliation can also take the form of vandalizing someone’s property, such as spray-painting their car, wrecking their home, or putting signs on their front yard.

Financial Hit

Money is what allows people to live a satisfying life. So what better way to get revenge than to let them take a financial hit?

For example, if two business partners ended on bad terms, one may try to seek revenge by sabotaging the other’s business. This can be in the form of stealing their clients, filing a lawsuit, or manipulating the company’s financial records.

Passive-Aggressive Confrontation

Among the many types of revenge, passive-aggressive confrontation is what pushes people to get a bit creative with their tactics.

For example, instead of publicly humiliating their cheating spouse by broadcasting it to everyone, they secretly report it to their parents and friends. This, in turn, causes the spouse to feel like an outcast in their own inner circle.

Another form of this type of revenge would be replacing the contents of the cheating partner’s shampoo bottle with hair removal shampoo.

A car that has been vandalized, an example of the most common types of revenge
One of the common types of revenge is publicly humiliating someone by vandalizing their car with insults.

Difference Between Revenge and Justice

You may have your reasons and most likely already have a plan on how to execute your revenge, but it’s not too late to think about whether your actions will bring you justice.

There are some similarities between justice and revenge due to their nature of being natural responses to being wronged and how it stems from your desire for resolution. But the key difference that allows you to identify one from the other is the action taken.

Revenge is when you respond by hurting or punishing someone for their wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, justice is a course of action taken to address the wrongdoing based on the laws of the state, the rules of an organization, ethics, and equality.

The same goes for retribution vs retaliation, wherein the former is to punish the wrongdoing and strive to correct the action, while the latter is to impulsively harm someone for personal gain.

Given their definition, what do you think?

Is revenge considered justice?

Is revenge ever justified?

Let’s find out.

Is Revenge Ever Justified?

“The old law of ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everyone blind.”

It’s possible to have those who wronged you pay for their actions through justified revenge.

To make the distinction clear, the term means that someone’s punishment should fit the crime.

For example, in cases of embezzlement, the court may determine that the compensation should be the equal amount of the financial damage that was caused to the company. Moreover, they will be sentenced based on the severity of their actions.

If the victim agrees that the punishment declared is appropriate retribution, then it can be said that they have received justified revenge.

The Best Way to Get Revenge

How about those who are seeking retaliation, is revenge considered justice then?

You may be wondering how you are going to cope with your grief and guilt, as well as save your reputation. After all, justice in court can often cost too much and takes a long time.

There are three answers to this.

Rely on Karma When Someone Wrongs You

The universe never takes sides. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing someone who has done you wrong suffer in the hands of karma without you having to do anything.

Let Them See You’re Living Well

People hurt others to see them suffer.

Because of this, the number one thing that irks someone who has done you wrong is when they see that their efforts to cause you pain have had no effect. Let them see that you’re living well.

Acknowledge Your Pain

The harm has already been done.

But does revenge allow you to change that? No.

Revenge is a temporary fix to your pain. It does not undo the pain you felt nor does it repair the situation. If anything, it will only escalate it as your anger will turn into hatred. And you’ll end up in the same boat as the person who did you wrong.

A figure of the lady of justice whose scales portray equality and the difference between revenge and justice
Your actions make all the difference between revenge and justice. Think about the consequences before you act.

So When Is Revenge Considered Justice?

Modern day examples of revenge that you see on television may lead you to believe that it’s sweet.

Then again, what are the benefits and limitations of revenge? Will revenge ultimately satisfy you and give you the justice that you deserve?

With that, remember that revenge is not an act of justice. You will get nothing out of it other than temporary pleasure and a heart filled with more hatred.

So instead of seeking revenge, weigh your options and the consequences of your actions. More importantly, keep in mind that the best revenge is when you don’t have to do anything at all.

You get to keep your peace of mind and go on knowing that you didn’t give in to your anger.

“Weak people revenge, strong people forgive, and intelligent people ignore.”

When you give in to revenge, you’ll never be able to understand and appreciate what true justice really is.

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