Sanctuary for the Abused
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Difference Between a Rage and Revenge Affair
by Dr. Robert Huizenga
The revenge affair.
It occurs in a marriage in which one feels slighted in some manner and seeks revenge by engaging in infidelity. It is less a movement toward the other person and more a movement away from one’s spouse.
1. The affair may be a direct response to the affair of the spouse. “I’ll show you! Take this! I want you to hurt as much as I hurt.” Or the affair may be revenge for some other form of cut-off or perceived emotional injury: “I’m not getting enough here, so I’ll show you!” Or, “There, I got your attention!”
2. This typically occurs in a marriage where effective personal confrontation does not happen or happens ineffectively. There is a mistrust of expressing one’s self fully to the other person. The marriage relationship usually is marked by civility, but the two, in essence, do not know each other very well. They are polite, but there is no fire. They may want more, but are not sure how to get more.
3. The fire that does exist is a smoldering tension under the surface of the marriage. The tension may be the result of the frustration that one or both experience when they believe their needs are not being met. There is a genuine desire for more – from the spouse – but it’s not happening.
4. This form of revenge affair serves as a wake-up call for the relationship. If, and I use the word if advisedly, the couple can “get it out” – drain off the tension – and begin talking about needs, yes, the relationship stands a very good chance of turning into something wonderful. One or both must say with a great deal of passion, “I REALLY want you! I no longer will settle for the boiling frustration and seeming indifference to my needs. This is what I need and expect…..”
5. There is another kind of revenge affair that holds less hope and is more destructive. A revenge affair may be the result of long-standing and unresolved anger or rage toward the opposite sex. There is a persistent pattern of the person pushing others away with rage or anger. There also is a great deal of projection, or this person blaming others for his/her situation.
6. This form of anger is more rage than frustration. The rage emerges from a desire to hurt rather than from the frustration of needs not being met. This person exhibits little concern, as well, for the other person. Whereas someone more frustrated because they want their needs met, is usually more considerate of the other person.
Tip: Begin to make distinctions between rage and frustration. Determine the type of revenge affair you must face. If it is rage, learn to protect yourself and set boundaries. Begin to take exceptional care of yourself. Begin to say no! If it is an affair of frustration, begin looking at your needs. Identify and express those needs. Take a risk. Turn up the passion button. Dare to engage about needs, both yours and the others.