I had a thought that scared and intrigued me this week. It went something like this:
“What if I am the villain in someone else’s story?”
Maybe villain is too strong a word – as I’m fairly sure that I haven’t done anything that would make me the “bad gal” in a Disney movie. I could rephrase it this way:
“What if I am ‘in the wrong’ in someone else’s story?”
Wow, am I uncomfortable with this thought! It makes me feel a little icky, if I’m fully honest with you. I don’t like being wrong. I don’t like to think of myself as the “bad gal”. I want everyone to know that I love them and would never want to hurt them. Yet, what if, despite all of that, I am still wrong? What if I have still caused lingering hurt? Darn it, I just know this must be true: I’m sure there’s someone for whom I have come out on the wrong side, whom I have hurt, for whom I am the “villain”.
Yet, I think there is something special about this relationship. There is a part of me that wants to embrace this villain status. People love movie villains, right?!? Why is that?
Here are a few examples of how understanding that you may be the villain is healthy:
1) I’m sure a huge part of parenthood (especially for those who have a teenager) is being comfortable being the “awful parent” who sets boundaries and punishes when those boundaries are ignored/blatantly crossed/forgotten.
2) This view of yourself (as the “bad guy/gal) works in opposition to another story character we might find ourselves often being: the victim. When we always find ourselves as the victim, we may inadvertently start to feel/believe that we have less control over the course of our own lives. We may start to miss some of the options that life offers us, or start to feel persecuted by having to “accept” less than favorable options. When we see ourselves as the “villain”, we can remind ourselves that we do have power.
3) This view of yourself (as the “bad guy/gal) works in opposition to another story character we might find ourselves often being: the hero. When we always find ourselves to be the hero, we may inadvertently start to feel/believe that we are always right. As the hero, our version of the story is always the most accurate, the most ethical, the most important. It’s also easy to slip from hero status to victim status and vice versa. When we see ourselves as the villain, it may help us see the perspective of another. It may help us truly see others, to acknowledge the reality of another. It stops us from being overly selfish and reminds us that the way another person understands reality is valid.
In what relationships might you be the villain?
Are there times in your past that you can see now that maybe you were on the wrong side?
In what areas of your life might you learn something new if you think about yourself as the villain instead of a victim or hero?