“It is impossible to suffer without making someone pay for it; every complaint already contains revenge.”
Friedrich Nietzsche (German Philosopher)
“We are no longer puppets being manipulated by outside powerful forces: we become the powerful force ourselves.”
Leo Buscaglia (American Author)
“The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.”
Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor)
There will be times in life when you have to stick up for what’s right and call manipulative people out on their attempts to take advantage of you.
When these manipulators go too far, it’s up to you to reset their boundaries.
It’s up to you to pay them back in a productive way.
No one else is going to do it for you.
This is not “eye for an eye” payback.
The worst thing you can do is stoop to their level and become like them.
They wouldn’t get it anyway.
An equally toxic betrayal to yourself would be to just let it slide though.
Suck it up, avoid conflict, and hope it doesn’t happen again.
Hate to break it to you… it will happen again.
People wired up to twist others around for their own gain, with no conscience over the collateral damage, live this way as a pattern.
Because most people don’t call them out — they meekly step aside or shrink away instead.
The image alone is beyond pathetic.
The silent damage to your self-worth is piercing.
And they go skipping away looking for their next pawn, sometimes even circling back to see if they can use you for a second round.
It’s infuriating and hurtful, and makes revenge seem like a viable option.
Why Revenge Is Bittersweet
If you’ve ever been caught up in a loop like this with a toxic manipulator, you know how thoughts of payback run through your head.
Don’t feel bad — it’s normal.
Beyond normal, it’s healthy.
Thoughts of revenge on people who have manipulated you or used you are your brain’s way of trying to create exit strategies and justice, all at the same time.
Research published in LiveScience confirms that thoughts of revenge make us feel good.
Hearing about bad guys being punished elicited positive emotions in research subjects.
But revenge does prove bittersweet — bringing in negative moods following the reminder of the initial experience or offence.
The thought of enacting vengeful acts on people that have hurt you provides a temporary sense of justice.
Research in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed that revenge-motivated aggression actually served as a mood booster.
Participants were given negative feedback and then offered voodoo dolls to stick pins in as a way to retaliate.
After sticking pins into these virtual dolls while imagining they were the person who had given them the negative feedback, they reported an improvement in their mood.
Before you run around sticking pins in dolls, or people, note that these researchers also recommended against it.
As fun (or creepy) as it might sound, imagining revenge can be an effective and humorous coping strategy, but actually acting out revenge isn’t as satisfying.
Research in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that vengefulness in relationships was more associated with ruminating over the offense, decreased life satisfaction, increased negativity, and neuroticism.
So it’s not worth it… as appealing as it seems.
Ultimately, revenge is a waste of time.
How To Get The Best Revenge Over Manipulators
The reality of revenge is that enacting it is not worth your time and deflects from both personal responsibility and productivity.
And it gives the victory to the manipulator by giving them power over your time and attention.
The more thought you give to the situation, the more of your focus you’re giving to non-productive things.
You’re feeding the wrong beast.
Real payback is being able to regain control over yourself and cutting manipulative people out of your life without wasting any more time.
Here are the 3 best ways to get payback.
1. Shut it down when face-to-face with a manipulator.
When you come face-to-face with a manipulator, the very first thing you need to do is to stop talking, stop gossiping, and stop running your mouth in general.
When someone manipulates you, your initial reaction will be to complain about it or badmouth them.
This is a very foolish way of getting revenge.
When you turn into a gossip, you’re only hurting yourself.
When you turn into a complainer, you give manipulators the information they need to manipulate you even more.
You give them a bigger target to hit.
And you look weak and whiney.
It’s the best way to give manipulative people all your power for them to use against you.
And it’s your choice to do it — so now it’s your fault.
Quit feeding manipulators the fuel they need to control you.
Quit gossiping and giving them more and more things to use against you.
Manipulative people feed off of gossip.
They will twist your words against you over and over again.
They’ll do this to annoy you and to quickly ruin your reputation.
They’ll do it to feel powerful and leverage control over you.
Instead of gossiping against manipulators, get back at them by shutting off all communication with them.
No explanation required.
No backing down and rationalizing their crappy behavior either.
Stop getting sucked into their twisted little mind games.
Remove yourself and your words from the situation completely and watch the manipulators in your life fight themselves and eventually fizzle out.
2. Become stoic.
The second thing you need to do to pay back the manipulators in your life is to stay unemotional.
Even if you feel hurt, angry, or upset, letting these emotions govern your behavior will only make you weaker.
It gives the manipulator even more to use against you.
Getting even with a manipulative person should never be ruled by feelings.
Instead, it should be ruled by rationality.
Someone has manipulated you, and identified himself or herself as untrustworthy, and now you need to act strategically to improve your position so it doesn’t happen again.
The best way to do this is to channel other people’s manipulative actions into something productive that benefits you.
Don’t cry and whine about how unfair life is.
Self-pity is not allowed.
Instead, use this pain to your advantage.
Channel your energy into making something happen for yourself.
Growth is the best revenge.
Start new projects.
Meet new people.
Moving on and leaving them behind, while you seek out success, is the best payback.
Improving your life will pay back manipulators more than any amount of anger or sadness ever could.
Getting rid of them permanently makes room for people who aren’t corrupt and won’t suck your life dry with their voodoo styles of psychological manipulation.
3. Own your part.
The third thing you need to do is to take responsibility for the situation.
When manipulators take advantage of you in life, it’s just as much your fault as it is their fault.
You put yourself in a compromising position.
You allowed yourself to be pushed around and manipulated.
You didn’t set appropriate boundaries.
Now take responsibility for it.
Use the fact that you were mistreated as motivation to improve your position.
Where are you vulnerable in life?
What knowledge do you lack?
What skills do you need to develop?
Lashing out at others or turning sly and manipulative in return is a waste of time.
Don’t turn the microscope on other people, turn it on yourself.
After all, who are you really trying to help?
What’s the point in showing other people that they’re wrong?
Let them be wrong.
Let them keep living their sad little manipulative lives.
You have bigger and better things to do.
Real justice is not making manipulators see your point of view or confess to their wrongdoing. Real justice is rising so far above them that they can never negatively affect your life again. Manipulators win by your actions. The more you engage with them, try to enlighten them, or defend yourself, the more of a fool you become. You win when you stop reacting, take responsibility, and set new boundaries. This keeps them away and allows you to focus on keeping your time and energies protected and centered on you and your success.
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