A good action movie or a novel generally has these roles. The villian is the dark and scheming character who is struggling to get what he wants in an unscrupulous way. The hero is the character who is on the right side of things. The hero struggles with the villain and his schemes and works hard to make things right.
A wise woman once described a relationship issue I was experiencing in the metaphors of the hero and the villain. But this description is much different than what you would see in the movies.
The hero in this situation convinces themselves that the other person- the villain, is broken, weird, evil, twisted, crazy, or just wrong. This gives the hero the license to do whatever they want. The hero feeds off of competition, power and control. The hero is always right. They have to be at the front. They have convinced themselves that the villain is so messed up they can treat them in a way that can be cruel, unfair, and disrespectful. Or they see the villain as competition. The hero can distort the facts so they feel like they have to take care of things. The hero has convinced themselves that the villain is so messed up that all regular conventions do no apply. They have free rein to do whatever they want. And its their job as the hero to jump in and make it right.
Meanwhile, the villain is just doing what they always do. They may be way different from the hero- but their heart is right. The villain may be unattractive or introverted or eccentric or have problems that the hero can’t understand. Things that really grind the hero. But generally, they are just different from the hero. The villain can’t understand why they are treated so harshly by the hero. They see the hero as someone they respect. They can’t understand why the hero wants to continually put them down. And the actions of the hero can be so subtle that the hero doesn’t even know what they are doing. But I can assure you- the villain can see it.
I’ve been the villain. More times than I can count. I am different. I am introverted. I am not competitive. I am an easy target.
Have you been any of these characters? Let me give you some dialogue/thoughts you may be able to relate to:
- All my son wants to do is play video games. I can’t get him outside and he hates fishing. I don’t know what’s wrong with him. I’m going to take away those stupid games.
- I’m just going to go talk to the client. John is just not good at this. I can’t trust him to take care of it. He’s not like me. I will close the deal.
- I have to take control of things. My husband is so passive. Yes, I can be a little bossy- but I have to. Somebody has to do it.
- Why do I have to do everything around here. When I give you a task to do you always take too long and make mistakes. Good thing I am here to clean up your mess.
- There is no way I could promote her. She barely talks to anyone. How can she be a manager? I’ll continue to take care of it myself.
- He is so weird. I am afraid to take him to any meetings because he will make us look bad. He just sits there and when he talks he makes weird comments. I am so glad I am good at covering up his comments.
- I don’t get her. She hates shopping. What woman hates shopping? I am surprised she has any friends. All my friends love to shop.
And so it goes. The discouraging thing is that once the roles are set the hero rarely changes. They continue to see the world as though they are the only person who is equipped to handle things properly. This sounds as though they are well equipped, right? No. The truth is the hero is actually very insecure. They see the world as a stage and they need to have everything looking good. Any opportunity that could make them look bad is intolerable. The hero must continue to be the hero and will fight for it at all costs.
So where are you on this? Have you seen the villain or the hero? Maybe a hard look at your relationships is in order.
Remember that different is good! And just because someone is different than you does not give you a blank check. If you are inherently competitive or have an issue with control you may need to do some self-examination of your real motives. The villain is not broken. They are just different than you. And you need to give them some space!