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Getting Even
Without Causing More Problems For Yourself

Authored by William G. DeFoore, Ph.D.

Getting even doesn't have to get you in trouble. You've already got some pain, stress and anger, or you wouldn't even be thinking about getting even. What you are looking for is a feeling of resolution. 

getting even

Think about it. If you were to "get even," that would mean you would feel like things have been made right somehow.

So, what we're looking for is a way for you to feel right, without creating a new problem for yourself.

Our approach here is that you're a good person, and doing something really harmful to another person won't feel good to you in the long run.

I know, you want the other person to suffer like you have--maybe they already are. 

What's Wrong With Making Them Suffer?

That's a good question (even if I did think of it myself). I don't have the last word on this, but here are some thoughts to consider about causing pain for others:

  • What goes around really does come around.
  • The question is, do you want to be on that not-so-merry-go-round?
  • The old "tit for tat," back-and-forth, conflict and injury, getting even game leads to pain for everyone, and nobody really wins.
  • There is a school of thought that says, when you hurt someone else you're hurting yourself. Whether you believe it or not, it's something to think about.

Those are just some things to think about when it comes to getting even.'ve already got a problem, so you don't want to just add a new one. 

How Do I Get Even Without Getting Revenge?

Good question. Since we've decided it's a feeling you're going for, then let's figure out how to get that feeling without creating new problems for you.

There are two parts to getting even--the other person, and you. First let's take a look at the other person.

What do you want the other person to feel and experience?

  • You want them to know they hurt you. They do. At some level, they know what they've done. The subconscious mind is tremendously smart, and we all know when we've hurt another person.
  • You don't want them to get away with it. They won't, even though it looks like they are. Sooner or later, they will feel the consequences for what they've done. Life balances itself out, and has its own justice. Nobody ever really "gets away with" anything. That's part of how we evolve and improve as a species.
  • You may want them to hurt like you do. Well, nobody knows your pain but you, so you're not going to get this one entirely. This "wanting them to hurt like you hurt" is a futile attempt to get the pain inside you out and into another person. It just doesn't work, and if you do it too much you become an abuser.
  • You want them to "learn a lesson." They will. Life guarantees it. Study history, read literature, read the great philosophers, and study religion. You will see that we all have to learn, the easy way or the hard way.
  • Nature seeks balance. Trust it.

Whether you agree with the above viewpoints or not, give them a try. If you can believe just a little of this, it will help you with your anger and desire for getting even. You're not the grim reaper, and if you try to be, you'll only end up hurting yourself. 

What Do You Want To Feel When You're Getting Even?

  • You want to feel "even." That feeling, by the way, comes from inside you, not from someone else If you subscribe to some of the above beliefs, for example, you will feel "even" even if the other person has not suffered the way you think they should.
  • You want to feel that you can go on with your life. That's a choice. Work for the feelings you need to have, then go on with your life. Do the three-part journaling process described on this page, and it will help you tremendously with moving on.
  • You want to be happy and feel good about yourself, and that's really why you're reading this page about getting even. You don't have to wait to get that done. Learn about self love and goodfinding to build your happiness and self esteem.

I think you're getting the idea here. Being the "avenger" can really backfire on you, and you don't want that. Follow the links and ideas above, and you'll be able to feel the sense of balance and "all is well" that you're looking for.

I think you'll also enjoy this article, Don't Get Even, Get Even Better!

And, here's a novel about forgiving instead of getting even? I know, you may not be anywhere near that possibility, but you can sure get closer by listening to this program on Love Anger and Forgiveness

love and forgiveness

Creating Joy and Healing in All of Your Relationships 

Discover and learn to make the powerful journey from anger through forgiveness and back to love. Love is who you are at the core of your being, and there is always a deep yearning within you to return to your true nature.

These unique and dynamic anger management CDs will help you to understand the essence of love, anger and forgiveness in all of your relationships. 

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