I had a rather peculiar but thought-provoking dialogue with someone in my dm's today covering, I believe, the idea that fundamentally, another person’s behavior and emotions are out of the receiver's immediate control, leaving the receiver's reactions to these two uncontrollable things essentially the only thing that is controllable.
In a perfect world these two strangers would acknowledge the common thought they share and part ways but not in Cake's world, oh no. I keep poking, asking questions, and we eventually end up (or followed the path to?) revenge versus justice island, my favorite island. We're expanding on betrayal and whatnot when they say to me "careful that you don't become enslaved by your own passions. Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord" and I am launched backwards in time to every single person that has ever tried to confuse justice with vengeance and make me feel bad for not just telling the one that flipped my world upside down, "oh, hey you, thank you so much for FUCKING GUTTING ME ON PURPOSE, I'm learning a fuckton about myself - probs wouldn't do that again to anyone else, though, my friend, kinda stung a little, but heyyooooooo, you do you, take care!"
We ended the conversation amicably and while I can't speak for them, it did cause me to really ruminate on what I see as reality, through my experience and via the many, many conversations I've had with others in similar positions as me, that there is a very real disconnect happening culturally, through narrative, regarding the meaning of and purpose behind revenge and justice; the dichotomy between victim and victimizer is cloudy, at best, non-existent, at worst.
It is clear to me that this culture has woven a narrative of equating righteous justice with revenge. The victims of victimizers are silenced through guilt, through gossip, through labels such as "crazy" if they dare depart from or desire to change what we already have been brainwashed to adhere to - head down, ask no questions, everyone get along.
Don't rock the boat, Cakey. It screws up their control.
When I pressed charges against my husband for illegally recording me nude without my consent it wasn't written in the police report that it took me an entire week from finding the video until I finally called the police. Apparently, those facts aren't relevant when reporting on a/to a crime (/s). I wanted to tell her though, it was so fresh, I wanted to tell the young officer that I hadn't slept in a week contemplating calling the police on my husband, the father of my children. I wanted to tell her my mind was tortured, going back and forth between the magnitude of the situation, my morals, my belief system, my innate personality of justice and fairness... I then started the self-attacks, self-questioning - "you're just angry, Cake, don't press charges; He made a mistake, he'll apologize; You will be the reason your children hate you, Cake, because you sent their father to jail".
I can't math but 7x24= a lot of hours to be in your head contemplating if you are about to change someone's life out of revenge or justice. I kept circling around the question of WHAT AM I SEEKING? WHAT AM I FOCUSING ON?
It didn't help I had all 5-remaining people in my life that didn't dip out when they figured out how big this shitshow was actually going to be telling me that I needed to really think about pressing charges on my perpetrator; how will you get child support, Cake? God will take care of it, Cake, you just need to focus on you.
Makes me ill even typing that out because you know what I needed in those 7 days that I was in my head going 'damned if you do, damned if you don't'? I needed someone to say "you know what, Cake, that man fucked you up big time - he did you wrong. He broke every code of marriage and overall humanity out there and I will support you doing what you feel you need to do to ensure that he doesn't do this to another human being".
After a couple of other run-ins with these classic I've sucked your soul out, now done with you people and being told I was to remain silent, to let it go after the fallout - "letting it go will help your healing, Cake", I've decided that revenge versus justice, in the overall way it's communicated in culture, is really, really harming those that have been left vulnerable, traumatized, and abandoned by those that have harmed them AND THEN those that CHOOSE to tell them they should suck it up and get over it.
Retaliation to harm is an instinct in every one of us with a foundation built on moral accountability, woven through each culture, a universal understanding of "do no harm" and recognition that intentional harm to others has consequences, or it at least used to. It used to, because consequences work, right?
When differentiating between actions taken out of revenge or justice, consequences are always desired by those who have had wrong done to them, but the reasoning for their desire of consequence differs in the minds of those seeking justice vs those seeking revenge. Those who seek justice, like me, we are the ones who take time to consider all factors, all ramifications. We are cognizant that we will be ostracized in this society and culture, I just never really understood why, until now.
I am told to be careful of vengeance and seeking revenge by those that can’t fathom any other reason for a human to desire justice * without it containing at some level a form of vengeance * i.e., me, ME! desiring to see others suffer, in pain, and get great joy out of it. Not likely. I am the kween of empaths. Not a hashtaghumblebrag, just fax.
Vengeance sounds pretty fucking sociopathic if you ask me, so we have to expand on that thought, because if vengeance is almost an innate desire when wronged then it would affect most humans and most humans aren’t sociopaths, so when one does come to the point of choosing vengeance or justice, that fork in the road, what makes *most of us* desire justice, not revenge?
Thinking back to my own situation(s), I mostly wanted these assholes to learn their lessons, not do it to other people, GROW as men of this world because Lord, do we need men and if their own brothers won’t hold them accountable and keep them in check from spreading their toxicity everywhere, well, I will just step right the fuck up then and hold school. And I am confident most victims, when seeking some kind of retribution, have formulated these desires for justice or "revenge" directed towards those that harmed them based on them 1) learning a lesson 2) understanding why they did what they did and why they cannot do it again 3) an understanding of how it affected the one they harmed to have done what they did.
Those three things above are why most victims go after their perps. I am deprived of sleep, don’t really know what planet I’m on anymore, but those three things seem pretty freaking rational, do they not? Do those not seem like good reasons for someone to seek accountability out of those that harmed them?
tldr is this, and really understand this – it is not acceptable for you to desire retribution for misdeeds done to you in this culture any longer. Culture has decided that silence is the remedy to misdeeds; culture now has say in what is communicated, why it's communicated, and they will determine YOUR intentions for what you communicate.
As those who are void of compassion and care for others in this world multiply at warp speed, those trying to stop them are being told it’s wrong of them to demand accountability.
There is something so screwed up about this culture, I am not sure it’s even able to be rectified at this point.
Le sigh – revenge vs justice
We have to understand there is a very real reason for "revenge". It is how *some* people can *sometimes* hold those that harm them accountable. The best course of correction (that will fall on deaf ears because nobody actually cares about seeing the roots of problems to things like war, and truckers, and riots, etc.) is holding those that do wrong accountable in these twisted times of modernity by letting their victim just fucking speak their experience. Exacting retribution via communicative power. Boom.