Spite and comeuppance

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

“Ignorance is in many cases a greater cause of suffering than evil intentions.” - Socrates

“If you’re reading this, I hope your abuser is miserable. Karma always comes through.” - a hurt person.

Is there truly a good reason to ever wish suffering upon another person? I’m asking this as someone who has harboured spite in the context of past abuse. It might have made sense at the time, within the context of abuse, for it’s only natural to reciprocate contempt, but to hold onto the sentiment after the fact is to bear a grudge, to take upon yourself the burden of ill intent. Two wrongs don’t make a right. 

From George Orwell’s 1945 essay ‘Revenge is Sour’: 

“Who would not have jumped for joy, in 1940, at the thought of seeing S.S. officers (nazis) kicked and humiliated? But when the thing becomes possible, it is merely pathetic and disgusting. It is said that when Mussolini's corpse was exhibited in public, an old woman drew a revolver and fired five shots into it, exclaiming, ‘Those are for my five sons!’ It is the kind of story that the newspapers make up, but it might be true. I wonder how much satisfaction she got out of those five shots, which, doubtless, she had dreamed years earlier of firing. The condition of her being able to get close enough to Mussolini to shoot at him was that he should be a corpse.”

So, the notion of “getting back” at one’s abuser, while enticing in theory, while seeming to be a resolution to one’s hurt, when the act itself becomes possible it is merely pathetic and disgusting.

The avenger will disagree and see inevitable consolation where sinister ends justify sickly means. Not until one has enacted one’s whim might one realise one’s mistake, that in harbouring and inflicting spite against one’s abuser, whether directly or indirectly, over the sound of a single gun shot or the course of many gruelling years of pettiness, one becomes no better than one’s abuser. Rather one binds oneself to one’s abuser in grotesque fashion. 

One who treads this path will not find satisfaction, only emptiness. One’s wounds will remain, festering, and nothing will have been accomplished in spirit. 

The only true way forward from abuse is to forgive one’s abuser, for in doing so one learns to let go of the associated tension, frustration, anger and despair. The abuser is no longer present, so in not being able to forgive, one keeps with them that needless hurt which is made worse over time by festering. 

When one finally learns to forgive their abuser, charged emotions suddenly give way to pity. One becomes wistful for what one has forgotten in one’s mental anguish, and capable of rational thought where previously emotions clouded one’s judgement. 

Would it not then be preferable to forgive and carry on in peace, than cry an oath of comeuppance and commit to spite and grudge and subsequently act in a pathetic and disgusting manner, after all has been said and done? That is a personal matter for one to decide for oneself.


Submitted: June 02, 2021

© Copyright 2021 olive tree. All rights reserved.

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