How Vengeful Are You? The Transgressions-Related Interpersonal Motivations Scale Might Tell You How Much You Need Revenge

Imagine you're in the produce section of the grocery store and you spot a person you recently had a fight with, or maybe someone you just don't like in general. There are a few ways you could respond, but two big ones in particular stand out: You could race to the canned soup aisle and avoid them completely, or — depending on how vengeful you are — you could hope that a cantaloupe goes flying out of the crate and explodes all over them. In other words, you could practice avoidance or seek revenge. And hey, guess what? There's actually a scale used to measure where approximately you stand: The Transgressions-Related Interpersonal Motivations Scale, or TRIM for short.

Avoidance and a thirst for revenge are very common responses to this type of situation. They might be prompted by different emotions — for example, research has suggested that avoidance is rooted in hurt, while revenge is propelled by anger — but the appearance of both types of behavior often occurs for the same reason: We avoid problems or seek revenge because we haven't moved on.

Researchers developed TRIM to help determine where people fall along these two poles of avoidance and vengeance; the test was then then adapted by Science of Us with the help of some nifty coding, giving us an interactive version that's easily taken online. (That's the version we'll be looking at today.) The questions use your reactions to certain scenarios to determine where approximately you rest.

Like most personality tests, though, your results to the TRIM scale are not necessarily the be-all, end-all answer to how vengful you are. Your answers could easily vary based on the severity of the situation, how close you previously were to the other person, and a huge number of other variables. And even if you were to score high in avoidance or vengeance, that doesn't mean your future is set constantly seeking revenge or hiding behind every corner.

TRIM is, however, a good reminder to learn how to forgive — for the sake of your own mental well-being. I took the quiz myself to see itin action, so let's take a look.

The Test

Science of Us' version of the test consists of 12 items, which we're instructed to rank on a scale of one to five (one being "strongly disagree," three being "neutral," and five being "strongly agree"). Here's a selection of the kinds of things asked:

1. Wanting To Get Back At Them

I'm in the camp of "success is the best revenge," so that's why I put a two instead of a one — because of the fact that this specific kind of revenge does motivate me. My own version of making people "pay" is being successful and proving them wrong. Naysayers have always fired me up.

2. Avoiding The Problem

I find that I don't put the effort into avoiding someone. For as much of an introvert as I am, I can also be very confrontational. If I feel someone has wronged me, and I run into that person on the street, I have no reason to feel uncomfortable — they do.

3. Pretending They Don't Exist

I'm on the fence about this. I certainly won't welcome a nasty person into my life, but I'm obviously still aware of their presence. They don't stop existing; but I certainly won't spend a ton of energy on them.

4. Being Suspicious Of Their Intentions

Guilty as charged. Once I've seen someone's true colors, and I've confirmed that their motives are less than kind, that's about it.

5. Not Being Able To Fake It

I can definitely play nice if I need to — like if it's a work situation. But generally, if I don't care for someone, I keep my distance.

6. An Eye For An Eye

Nope, nope, nope. That's not my job. If I cause pain, I'll receive pain. Good vibes only.

7. Quitting Cold Turkey

I don't think I feel the need to eliminate relationships completely, most of the time (excluding exes after horrible, horrible break-ups — yuck!). But I will just about get to that point.

My Results

Well... huh. Getting average revenge actually kind of surprised me. If I may toot my own horn for a moment, as an adult, I've gotten really good at taking the high road. I've managed to walk away from ugly situations having done my best to leave on peaceful terms. I've let hate go from my heart, and I know how to forgive and move on — because really, we forgive for us, not them. Why live every day with hate?

Scoring average avoidance is less surprising to me, though, because in many situations, I could go either way. I could be in a room with a person I don't like and not really care, or I could make a point of limiting my contact with them, because they're a bad influence.

Interesting little quiz! While I tend not to read too much into these things, it's still fun to maybe learn a bit more about yourself. If nothing else, these questions make you think. Head on over to Science of Us to take it yourself.

Images: AdinaVoicu, RyanMcGuire/Pixabay