I wrote it the way it sounds to me. Choppy and aggressive like the people who are stuck with it. Some people are vindictive chronically and they cannot help but be that way. Some people are vindictive occasionally. Some play are vindictive to make gains in negotiations. Regardless of the reason, if you are vindictive, Please stop it. It does not work. If you are pretending, it is easy to stop, but if you are like that, you probably do not know that you are. So, I will help you in this article identify vindictive behavior whether you are the sender or the receiver of it.
Vindictive in Merriam Webster online is defined as “vengeful, who tries to cause hurt or anguish.” But there is more. I felt the definition does not do the word justice and can easily cause it to be confused with other behaviors. So I went into to the online thesaurus to find its antonym (opposite). The antonym for vindictive is “Forgiving”. I think between the definition and the antonym it is easy to understand the meaning of the word.
To remove any ambiguity, I would like to use an example I went through yesterday. I will use words of a relative of mine, bless his heart. This person has good intent and wants what is better for me, but he was very vindictive. Here is where it gets complicated. I do not think he is vindictive because he wants what is good for me. He is vindictive because it is his nature, the poor guy. So, something inside makes him want to be vindictive. And so, he will dish out his vindictiveness whenever he gets a chance; when he loves someone he is vindictive:”You know I love you and I want what is best for you, this is why I might say things that make you angry. But really, how come you are not a multi millionnaire yet? after years of working hard, and still you do not have anything to show for it? Someone like you would have been a tycoon by now.” See? vindictive big time. He loves you and he uses this loving opportunity to be vindictive and satisfy himself. Ahh the beauty of the complex human psyche. I just love it (I dont love vindictive, but I love the design of the psyche). So everything gets twisted to help the vindictive be vindictive. Let us give another example. Someone made a minor mistake in the car in front of him: “Idiot. Does not know how to drive. The country is full of idiots driving. How do they give them license? This country is full of worthless bums. Animals.” Sorry for the harsh words but I wanted to choose excerpts from actual lines I have heard during vindictive behavior. I bet you heard these lines too. This does not mean that whoever uses them is vindictive. It means that at that moment his behavior is that of a vindictive. Now if he is like that all the time, he is a vindictive fella. If this happens once in a blue moon, is one thing. But if this is a pattern of behavior then this is definitely a vinedictive person.
I cannot but draw attention to a related personality disorder when talking about vindictiveness. Which is narcissism. Usually vindictive behavior can be seen from narcissists. I do not have scientific proof, but this is from my observation.
Vindictiveness can be very disguised. Even harsh blame is vindictiveness. “Didnt I tell you to do this properly? when will you learn to do better? Why are you like that all the time?” See? very easy to fall into vindictiveness mode. Sometimes, it is not even words. It is a look that you give your child or a sigh of disapproval, or a smurk on your face. All vindictive.
How not to be vindictive? the antonym I mentioned above gives it away easily: Be a forgiving person. Be a loving person. Be tolerant. This does not mean you let people walk all over you. And it does not mean that you do not ask people to stop when they bother you, or prevent people from hurting you. It means that you do not do it with vindictiveness.
Aikido is an antonym to vindictiveness, in my opinion. Aikido is a japanese martial art. It only starts with defensive moves. Meaning, if the person in front of you does not initiate attack, you cannot use it. So it starts by disarming the person in front of you, then applying some pain just to show him that his aggressiveness has consequences. But you do it in the utmost respect to the humanity of your opponent. I believe Aikido summarizes how we need to behave and react without vindictiveness.
If you are surrounded by vindictive people, try to stay away from them and not pay attention too much to what they say. They can hurt you. Remember they usually make wrong assumptions and give false proofs to prove to you that you deserve to be hurt. For example:”Look at Ahmed. He sold a land for hundred percent profit in a year. So, why can’t you be like him?” The vindictive person is making the assumption that everyone is making money by the millions except you. False assumption. If you fall for it you start hurting “Oh yeah. He is right! how come I am not like Ahmed.” Please. Spare yourself andthe people around you the drama. You are beautiful the way you are and have excellent strengths. Let us start with that and improve upon it. Remember? Love and forgiveness? Start with loving and forgiving self and do not pay attention to the Vin-Dic-Tives.