I think this is one of the wisest pieces of wisdom for me that I have ever read. As one who has thoughts of revenge, but never seriously acted on it, made me feel validated that I never went that far. I wonder how many of our difficult children (or us) are hardwired for revenge. Is Revenge Hardwired? Dan Ariely discusses revenge experiments in which the participants' brains were scanned by positron emission tomography (PET) while they were making decisions about revenge. The results showed increased activity in the reward center of the brain (striatum). The greater the activation, the more the participants punished the offenders. Ariely suggests that this punishing betrayal or perceived betrayal has a biological basis and feels pleasurable. At least the decision to get revenge does. Reestablishing Trust Ariely states that revenge and trust are opposite sides of the same coin. Perhaps the idea that people believe revenge restores justice is really about reestablishing trust. Ariely's experiments on revenge showed that the tendency to seek revenge did not depend on whether the actual person responsible for the offense suffered, but only that someone associated with the offense pay. Time passing helped lower the urge for revenge for small annoyances. In addition, apologies completely counteracted the effect of small annoyances. When an apology was given, the participants did not extract revenge. Please note this was a one time annoyance, not a series of repeated offenses. What to Do When You Have Thoughts of Revenge As with all internal experiences, being mindful of what you are experiencing is the first step. Thoughts of revenge apparently feel good and may be a basic human instinct, perhaps to help us survive. Accept your urges and thoughts of revenge as a basic human response related to trust. Trust is important in any relationship and critical for cooperative societies. When you are thinking about revenge, it usually means you believe trust has been broken. Remember, while the anticipation of revenge may feel pleasurable, the actual carrying out of revenge brings little satisfaction and may create more problems and suffering. Acts of revenge do not repair trust or restablish a sense of justice for both parties. Wait until you are calm emotionally and can think rationally before making any decisions. This is the cold part of "revenge is a dish best served cold." If you act impulsively on such urges you are likely to create more suffering for yourself and others and regret your actions. Consider whether the loss of trust is justified. Do you have all the facts? If not, get clarity about what truly happened before taking any action or making any decisions. If someone has acted in ways that truly are untrustworthy and hurtful, then task suggested by your thoughts and urges is to find ways to repair the trust or to move forward in a different direction. Maybe there has been a misunderstanding, a miscommunication, or maybe there is a problem that could be solved. Would a dialogue with the offending person to explain your position be helpful for you, even if nothing changed? Would the offending person be willing to listen? Sometimes expressing your views and feelings is helpful. An apology could be quite healing and having a dialogue could give the offending person the opportunity to do that. Learn from the experience. Were there signs of problems that you ignored? Were you careful about who you trusted? What positive changes can you make based on what you have learned? How do you see yourself as a result of this experience? Did you make decisions that show self-respect and reflect your values, regardless of how the other person behaved? Focus on what is in your control and take the next right step. Sometimes it may be that standing up for yourself is the right step, but doing so in a positive way rather than for revenge. Practice radical acceptance that some people will break your trust. That is a statement about them, not about you. Your response is about you. When you are emotionally sensitive, you may experience many situations in which you feel hurt by others and those urges for revenge can be managed.