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The Psychopathology of Vengeance

What is vengeance? German born American social psychologist and psychoanalyst Erich Fromm, Ph.D., asseverates, in his The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness (1973), that vengeance is an instantaneous response to severe suffering heaped upon a person or his group. It is not a typical aggressive defensive maneuver because it occurs a posteriori to the harm exerted, when there is no impending threat. Moreover, the magnitude supersedes regular aggression, because of its odious, robust and unquenchable nature. Vengeance is so intense because, Fromm avers, “By destroying the one who committed the atrocity his deed is magically undone…. Vengeance may be said to be a magic reparation….” (p. 305). He b

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