Justice Vs Revenge

After the recent break ins at my apartment, the entire staff and my neighbors stop and talk to me daily. They are all curious if the police caught anyone, or found anything and what is going to become of the culprit. I’m over here just glad the creeps aren’t coming back, but everyone else is focused on justice or revenge of some sort. To me, once the police came and took the evidence, my job was done. There really isn’t any need for me to be consumed with getting back at the culprit. It’s true, our justice system is flawed at best, but it’s the only thing we have. There is nothing else I can do except wait and allow law enforcement to do their job. Even if they never catch the guy, and even if nothing comes of it when/if they do, there is quite literally nothing else. I’ve done everything with in my power by making sure the apartment is secure. The culprit wasn’t truly forcing their way in, and once I took care of my own negligence they haven’t returned.

I guess that sort of comes with a life of victimization. The immediate ability to compartmentalize after a crisis. The safety of my family was my single concern. Once that was taken care of? The rest is irrelevant. I mean sure, I’d like for them to catch someone and hold them accountable for their crimes. I’m just very well versed in the fact that more often than not the system fails for various reasons. Many of the same checks and balances used to protect the innocent, also give the guilty a vast catalogue of loopholes that crafty lawyers are well versed in finding and exploiting. I mean it’s not pretty, and seems some what pessimistic to think that way I know. It is what it is.

The system has failed me countless times. Almost every time I’ve ever been involved in it. Most of my life it was used as a tool of abuse against me. An ever constant threat, that if I didn’t obey my mother’s every whim I would be taken away. Does anyone remember back in the day where those kids were always rounded up on the afternoon talk shows and sent to behavioral bootcamp? Yes. That was my life. “If you don’t listen to me, I’m going to send you to one of those bootcamp places so you can learn what life is like in the real world when you rebel!” Being subjected to that, and also cut off from most of the outside world has given me a very hefty irrational fear of law enforcement. Especially for a tiny middle class white lady. I’m in the butter zone as far as police service goes, and I still can’t breathe when they’re around. Which generally makes me a nervous wreck and doesn’t help to maintain my own innocence some times, when I need them. Although the seasoned officers can tell it’s fear, some of the rookies aren’t always so insightful which generally makes things worse.

I can’t count how many times, especially in my late teens, my mom called the police on me for doing nothing more than standing up to her when she got in one of her super irrational moods. I think there are four or five different times. Every single one of them was because I fought back against her abuse, most of the time I just ran away, but a few times there were blows exchanged. The worst one I think was when she forbade me to work an extra shift during the week in a effort to save money to buy my own car. Up until that point I had been borrowing my parents cars to get back and forth. I was so close to 18, because I didn’t even get my license until I was 17, but I don’t remember exactly when it was.

Mom and I fought at the house, as she was telling me that I couldn’t do this or I couldn’t do that, and I ran out of the house snatching the keys and took off. I didn’t have anywhere else to go, so I went to work, and sat in the dining room listening to CD’s and working on my first novel, minding my own business trying to calm my nerves, when a few moments later here comes a police officer accompanied by my dad. Mom had called and reported the car stolen. The officer had the grace and insight to talk her out of pressing charges after finding me less than ten miles away from the house, but I will never forget that moment. That was one of the biggest moments that set me on my downward spiral toward suicidal thoughts.

My mom didn’t care about what happened to me, my career, or reputation when she accused me of such a serious crime. She just had to be right, had to control me, and get her way. Luckily my boss was working that shift, and I was able to get the next three weeks off of work while I was serving my parentally imposed sentence. All I wanted to do was gain my independence, which most normal parents are ready to give to their adolescent kids by the time they’re nearing 18, and I almost got arrested and sent to jail. I will never forget that feeling. How, betrayed, helpless, trapped I felt in that moment. Being accused of something so severe just because I wanted to get away. I mean grand theft auto as a 17 year old kid with an otherwise clean record is a big deal. It was my own mother. The woman who was supposed to nurture me, teach me and care for me. She didn’t give a shit. You can think what you want, but I will never be my mother.

I still remember as my dad drove us home after the officer left, calculating the remaining days until my 18th birthday. This happened some time in the Fall, and things just got progressively worse from there. In the Spring of my 18th year, I fell victim to workplace politics and nearly lost my job when a fellow manager decided to take it upon herself to set me up, spreading all sorts of rumors about me. She got herself in trouble one night, I happened to be out and stop by, I foolishly went to get some product from another store and that was my undoing. There was a huge workplace investigation, I was suspended for a few weeks, banned from working at several stores and assigned to the training store. Of course, being a minor my mom was involved. She made everything worse believing the rumors about me, and going to confront people, under the guise of “defending” me. Really she just wanted more information to add to her arsenal of mental abuse, and she did.

That was the first time my reputation was destroyed. Lol. Let me tell you, after the first time? Any subsequent attempt, rolls right off. You learn pretty quickly after having your name drug through the mud several times, that eventually mud washes off. A lot quicker today in the social media age, than it did ten years ago. There’s a quote I really love about that: “Character is who you are, reputation is who others perceive you to be.” I think that’s the fundemental difference really, between wanting justice and seeking revenge. Revenge is primarily motivated by protecting your reputation or Ego, like my mom. Her fragile ego couldn’t (still can’t really) accept that I am a separate person capable of making my own decisions, so she acts impulsively to protect her ego. Setting out to teach someone a lesson, or “put them in their place?” That’s revenge.

Justice I think is where someone is more concerned with the truth, and what’s right. Secure in their own sense of self with no need to protect a fragile ego, or teach someone a lesson when they’ve been wronged. It’s not about WHO’S right, but more in line with WHAT’S right in terms of justice. At least that’s kind of how I look at it. Revenge is a waste of time and energy. It servers no purpose, and often times gets you in more trouble than what you started out with in the first place. It requires anger and hatred, and I have neither of those things when in relation to being victimized.

They seem to have been switched off, or beaten out of me somewhere along the line. Not a lot of people understand that. Hell, I can’t even understand it. I know anger is okay when it’s justified. I mean someone broke into my home, and violated my space. By all rights, I should be fuming and angry, but I’m not. Maybe that’s more of the PTSD numbing in effect right now, where it’s become so overwhelming with everything going on my brain just ticked over, like: *boop* “Everything is fine. Nothing is wrong here. You’re happy. Be happy.” Because I can’t effectively process the amount of wtf happening in my life right now… I don’t know.

I just know that it’s kind of creeping my neighbors out that I’m over it so quickly, and really not angry about it. Meh. Mud washes off.