Have you ever encountered someone who seems consumed by their hatred towards another person? Someone who spends all of their energy trying to prove their own righteousness and seek revenge on the person they consider their enemy?
Does this remind you of anyone? Perhaps the character of Edmond Dantès in Alexandre Dumas’s “The Count of Monte Cristo,” who spends years seeking revenge on those who wronged him, fueled by all-consuming hatred.
But in real life, this obsessive focus on revenge and hatred can be just as destructive. When we allow our hatred for someone to consume us, it can become all-consuming and all-defining. It can consume our thoughts, our actions, and our relationships with others.
So why do some people choose this way of life and what can be done about it?
One reason why people may be consumed by their hatred is related to a sense of powerlessness. When we feel that someone has seriously wronged us, it can be difficult to let go of the anger and hurt we feel. Holding on to these emotions can give us a sense of control over the situation, even if it is an illusion.
Another reason may be a desire for justice. When we feel that someone has wronged us, it is natural to want them to be punished or held accountable in some way. The desire for revenge can be a way to right what we perceive as injustice and bring a sense of fairness to the situation.
However, there are several reasons why a life consumed by hatred and desire for revenge can be pointless:
- It doesn’t bring true satisfaction: While the desire for revenge may bring a temporary sense of satisfaction or fairness, it doesn’t bring true, lasting happiness. In fact, it can often lead to ongoing feelings of anger and resentment.
- It can damage relationships: Hatred and a desire for revenge can damage our relationships with others, pushing away those we care about and limiting our ability to form new connections.
- It can consume us: Allowing hatred and a desire for revenge to consume us can take over our thoughts, actions, and emotions, making it difficult to focus on other aspects of our lives.
- It can hurt ourselves more than it hurts the object of our hatred: Holding on to hatred and desire for revenge can cause more harm to ourselves than to the person we hate. It can affect our mental and physical health and make us bitter and unhappy.
- Instead, it is important to find healthy ways to cope with feelings of anger and hurt, such as seeking support from friends and family, practicing self-care, and finding ways to forgive and move on.
By recognizing the impact of emotional abandonment, seeking help through therapy, practising vulnerability in supportive relationships, and understanding the neuroplasticity of the brain, you can work towards healing and regaining a sense of self-worth and belonging.