That’ll teach her. She doesn’t own me!

Have you ever heard of revenge consuming?

It’s this thing we do when something has happened that annoys, inconveniences or angers us, and so, we eat, drink, shop, gamble, fuck, whatever, as a way of getting back at the person who wronged us.

We’ve all done it before.

Think back to when you were a kid and your mom made some comment like, honey, you shouldn’t be eating cookies, otherwise you’ll gain more weight.

And how would your adolescent brain respond? By marching right over to that damn cookie jar and stuffing twelve ginger snaps into your face, all while making intense eye contact with your mother the whole time.

That’ll teach her. She doesn’t own me.

Unfortunately, like most unhealthy coping mechanisms, revenge consuming hurts nobody but us. In fact, it often creates an even bigger issue for us to deal with down the line.

According to one psychology study, a person’s inability to emotionally regulate, especially negative feelings, is thought to result in increased negative affects, chronic sympathetic hyper arousal, and impaired immune status, which can lead to the development or exacerbation of somatic disease and pain.

Resentment is a cruel tormentor, isn’t it?

Looks like we need to find healthier outlets for our discomfort. We need to learn how to process our emotional experiences in ways that don’t involve numbing, dissociating and escaping from our difficult feelings.

Blanton’s groundbreaking book on radical honesty makes a strong case against this kind of resentment. Reflecting on all his difficult psychotherapy patients from one the years, the doctor says that if he kicked everyone out of his office who deserved being kicked out for not cooperating with him for their own good, then there might not be anyone left, including himself.

The questions he recommends people ask is:

*How could we take care of ourselves creatively rather than resentfully right now?
*How could we take positive steps to cope with our distress stress rather than succumbing to it?

Maybe what we need is to go for a walk for twenty minutes. Or call a friend who is willing to listen to us complain. Or crank up our favorite death metal album and thrash around in our room until the anger flushes out of our system.

Any of these coping mechanisms are healthier, cheaper and more effective than revenge consuming. Plus they don’t result in a stomach ache, hangover or credit card bill the next day.

Look, all of us are human beings who have human reasons for our resentment. It’s the natural result of seeing the difference between life as it is now and how much better it could be.

But let’s not hold onto that toxicity just to get revenge on someone or something for wronging us. 

Does your belief system have any room for mercy or forgiveness?


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