People hurt each other. It is an unfortunate fact of life yet it is a given. Everybody hurts somebody some of the time. Sometimes it’s accidental. Like maybe someone is feeling some sort of way and is in some sort of mood, and takes it out on you even though it’s not your fault and you have literally NOTHING to do with whatever is going on. Maybe someone got triggered and you just hapepend upon them the moment after and they haven’t even had a chance to process what has happened yet so they are totally reactionary. And you are the unlucky recipient of their unpleasantries.
However, sometimes people hurt others on purpose. The triggers may be the same as those mentioned above. After all, we have no power and control over what triggers us. Nor do we have any power and control over the organic emotions that arise after we have been triggered. And we all have triggers. Lots and lots of them. Some we know. Some we don’t. And some we pretend aren’t a thing. But they are there. And we have no power or control over them.
Where we DO have power and control is how we manage these feelings after they arrive. We can lash out. We can retreat. We can isolate. Or we can intentionally hurt someone else because we view that person as the reason why we feel a way we don’t want to feel. That, my friends, is doing something in retaliation. That is doing something out of spite. And while it may feel like it works and is helpful, at least in the moment, the consequences are always not quite what we had hoped for.
Spite is never, ever effective. And spite never, ever works out to the “doer’s” benefit. EVER.
Sex out of spite may feel good in the moment, but then feels dirty and yucky. Chores out of spite may make you feel good and accomplished, but then the bitterness sets in. Giving gifts out of spite may make you feel like you’re acting like the “bigger person” but then animosity arrives. Loaning money out of spite may make you feel like you’re “showing him” somehow, but then cynicism descends.
Spite just sucks. And any good feelings that it may create are not sustainable. It is an ineffective tool that people use to feel better however it does nothing to serve you. All it does is create resentment and frustration and unhappy feelings. Then, to top it all off, guilt tends to creep on top, like the sprinkles on top of the frosting of your spiteful cake. That’s a cake nobody wants a slice of.
So how can you better manage this? How do you combat the urge to be vengeful or retaliatory or spiteful when you perceive that someone has wronged you in some way? The answer, while at times difficult in practice, is quite simple to share. It’s the golden rule: treat others as you would like to be treated. Think about why someone may be behaving in a way that makes you want to retaliate in a spiteful way. There is always a reason. Sometimes these reasons are obvious and sometimes they are so deeply hidden, maybe even repressed, that the person is totally unaware.
Speak and act from a place of love. Try to do this always. And while it can be so, so difficult at times, the rewards will always outweigh other types of behaviors.
A Testimonial From a Previous HTW Client
"Hi Megan I almost texted you a couple weeks ago to tell you how great I am on the highway thanks to your help. I am now working as an adult educator driving to Providence every day on I-95."