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How Do I Get Over Wanting Revenge Without Expecting She Will Get What She'S Due?

by Sandra
(New York)

Hi! Thanks so much for the opportunity to get some good advice. 5 months ago I was extremely betrayed by someone I called a friend. The outcome was that I ended up homeless (she was also my roommate).

I was talked about behind my back, had over 1200 dollars taken from me (excluding all the additional costs from having to use movers, put all my things in storage, plus pay rent while staying in an extra room in my friend's house etc). I was even reported to our college by her, based on completely false claims. I suspect she did this to intimidate me so I wouldn't demand back the money she took from me.

Even though the school acknowledged that there was no strong basis for the claims she made, for some reason this issue is still going to be on my record for 5 years at the school. I have something "on" my old friend that if I exposed it, it could lead to serious issues for her but I always felt that I did not want to do this because she's mentally ill. She's someone who has betrayed several of her friends and I honestly felt more sorry for her than I did for myself.

But these feelings of wanting revenge still come in waves. It seems that she has gotten absolutely NO repercussions for what she did to me. She's a fairly popular person, and people have still been supportive of her because I always took the high road and never talked about the situation, and because of the slander against me by her, I think many people believed her side of the story. She is also getting better and better mentally, which is bringing a lot of her old friends back.

I always hear about karma but in this case I have to accept that she will not get what she "deserves" for what she did to me. And I want to be OK with this - the question is how? Can someone give me advice on how to get over wanting revenge on her that doesn't rely on the fact that she will "get what she's due", because I really don't think that people get what they're due.

I am so sick of having this fantasy of anonymously outing this specific thing about her and seeing her most likely have her life ruined. I see myself as a good person so thinking this way is not something I see fits me. It's extremely tough for me to deal with these feelings.

I can get over everything she did to me - money comes and goes and thank God I had a friend with space for me this whole time, since I have no family in the area. It could be worse and I am grateful it wasn't. It's only these feelings that I seem to be unable to shake. She was someone I saw as one of my closest friends and she ruined my life for months. And I want to cause her harm because of this. Any advice on how to get over wanting revenge would help.
Thank you.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Sandra and thanks for telling your story here. I appreciate the clarity of your writing, and the specific question you're asking about how to get over wanting revenge. This is not an easy situation for anyone to deal with. I will try to help.

One thought is that since you don't believe in any kind of natural law that assures that everyone faces the consequences of their actions at some point, you are left with the belief that people can do wrong and get away with it. This will make it hard for you every time you feel you've been wronged by someone--you may feel that you need to be the one to deliver the consequences, since there is no assurance it will happen otherwise.

I encourage you to keep searching and reading, in hopes of finding a belief system that works for you, that will hopefully give you peace about these types of situations. I remember years ago reading about people who had near death experiences, and learning that in almost every case there was some type of "inventory" in their reports of what happened. The common account was that the person making the transition would see and feel all of the good they did and all of the harm they caused in their lifetime. You may find that interesting to read.

Now, to let go of your focus on revenge, try writing about 1) who you thought she was, and 2) who she turned out to be. Your emotional turmoil is based on the fact that she didn't turn out to be the person you thought she was. Make up your mind that you're going to get stronger and smarter because of your experience--that way you are not a victim.

I hope this helps, Sandra. You can do sure and try the exercises I recommended, and I think you will feel better over time and be ready to let go of the need for revenge.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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