Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Revenge Addiction

One of my family members is consumed with getting ‘revenge’ on anyone and everyone for anything perceived as a putdown or slight or negative teasing—no matter how small. This individual seems unable to stop lashing out or planning tit-for-tat retaliation those now perceived as an “enemy.” It has become almost impossible to live with. The doctor says it appears to be “revenge addiction” but I do not understand what that means. Help!

I regret you have this to deal with. If you understand the principle behind addiction—a behavior or ingestion of a substance that triggers the Brain Reward System to release the feel better chemical, dopamine—then revenge addiction will likely make more sense to you. James Kimmel, a specialist in psychiatry and lecturer at Yale University School of Medicine, has been reported as explaining that the human brain that perceives personal  injustice is just like the brain of a drug addict. Studies have shown that the feeling of injustice, real or imagined, stimulates the same nerve circuits as do drugs. A revenge addict may be a loner and not a team player or may belong to a family group, an organization, or a group/gang that is addicted to revenge.

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