April 11, 2024

Why Leaving (or Saying “No”) Often Makes us the Villains.

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The smear campaign.

Have you been on the end of one of these suckers?

I recently came across a meme of the animated villain, Skeletor, He-Man’s archnemesis. The caption reads: “No matter how good a person you are, you are evil in someone’s story.”

And there’s an image of Skeletor, cackling, “Ha, Ha, Ha,” as only a maniacal villain, complete with fists pumping in the air and menacing skull face, can cackle.

Often, with abusive people with toxic traits, we can get pegged, conveniently so, as “evil.”

There is no nuance, no other incoming perspective; there is no other information.


Evil. Villain. That’s all.

If we dare to entertain other possible reasons, there can be some deeper explanations, painting us in the “Skeletor” villain role.

So, let’s entertain some things, shall we?

Why are we “conveniently evil”?

Well, for starters, we said “no” to them.

“No” can, unfortunately, be such a declaration of war to someone who may want our “yes” instead.

What did a certain person want from us?

Did we give them what they wanted?

Did we perhaps “give in” and once give them what they wanted, especially for weeks, months, years, or even decades at a time?

Yes? Okay.

Well, what if one day we decided to do things differently and change? How did that go?

Whether we responded with a first “no” or a recently changed, negative response to someone else’s much-coveted want, we can still encounter being assigned this evil designation.

Besides being met with epithets at my no, I, personally, have also been met with this response: “You’re mean!”

Really? Declaring a personal “no” is “mean”?

Huh. Interesting.

It is here where we bump into a recurring theme of entitlement.

It stems, exists, and flourishes all from a place of “You owe me your ‘yes.’”

What does that mean?

“Yes” represents pleasure. And how does one typically experience pleasure? Answer: by being pleased.

We associate being pleased with getting what we want.

We all like getting our way, getting the things we want.

However, when we say no to an entitled receiver, they view us as evil and cruel. Our “no” is equated as the most violent hate speech of a dictator.

But we do not owe fulfilling a person’s expectation, especially if it compromises us, causes us harm, and showcases the disrespect we’re being shown as “normal.”

We can say “no” and not be a villain.

We are not Skeletor.

Another Skeletor/“conveniently evil” explanation?

We left them.

Here we see a “no” with a geographical, mental, and emotional relocation.

We distance from them. We remove ourselves from them.

We didn’t just stay and “take it.” We moved away from being mistreated, being okay with it, endorsing it.

We left.

And the abusive person decides that departure means that we are villainous Skeletor.

We abandoned them. We left them. They are destitute now.


It’s not a case of us being abused by them? Being harmed by them? Being exploited by them?

All, again, because we did not just “stay and take it”?

That’s convenient for the person who is harming us.

We’re just evil, an abandoning Skeletor. That’s all.

They don’t need to own their abuse of us.

Nope. The fault lies with us. Nothing to do with them.

But we are not obligated to stay with someone, somewhere, just because there’s supposedly love, investment of time, or blood relation attached to that stay.

Nope. Abuse and harm negate those selling points.

We’re not Skeletor; we’re just viewed as that villain because we choose to not “stay and take it.”

We are still “conveniently evil” because of another “reason.”

We didn’t chase after them.

What’s that? We’re not going after them, begging for them to be connected to our lives? We are gone, we stay gone, and we don’t go back for more?

Yeah, all Skeletor prerequisites.

The choice we make to not pursue them so that they can further harm us is supposedly the worst thing that could be done in all of humanity’s history? Really?

It returns to, again, to the entitlement position.

Perpetrator and victim get switched here.

Entitlement, from an abusive person with toxic traits, asserts that their access and ability to harmfully mistreat us are God-given rights, and therefore, denial of that “right” (complete with our refusal to continue the toxicity) makes them the most victimized people ever.

Not having those terms set up, therefore, seems to cast them as the harmed, maimed, desolate party.

Therefore, to really sell that, what must we be then?

Skeletor. “Conveniently evil.”

But we have a right to protect ourselves; we have a right to be healthy. We are entitled to remove ourselves from harmful and dangerous people.

Don’t believe the lie that we have no such right to do so.

So, we have covered some ground about why you and I may be regarded as the villain.

There are further and unique reasons for us being conveniently evil.

Here’s another solid reason:

Other people wonder what happened.

Embarrassment. Awkward moments. Images challenged.

The perfect picture of a family, a marriage, a reputation, and a “nice guy” suddenly has been called into question.

Again, perhaps, we have gone along with a certain portrait for years. We kept the story going that all was well, everyone was happy, perfect, not abusive, and not being held accountable for their actions.

And then, someone, say, us, one day chooses to make a change, say “no,” walk away, refusing to come back to them.

Now, they encounter someone who asks about the missing spouse or child.

Now, they encounter someone who hears about the arrest, the divorce, the poor choice made, and the “fall from grace.”

Now, to one degree or another, there is public knowledge.

That can be unforgiving, unrelenting pressure on the disordered, abusive person.

Therefore, now is the perfect time for distraction and pointed fingers at us for being Skeletor.

We are now cast as being “conveniently evil.”

Yep, we are the real reason for the downfall, the abandonment, the absence, the unflattering image.

Not them. Surely, not them!

Again, we must be to blame.

Our villain selves are the explanation given to enquiring outside parties. With us cast as evil Skeletor, the abusive person believes that they can protect their image from other people’s curiosity and probing questions/judgments.

If other people can believe their slant on reality/truth, well, then the heat is taken off from probing them. It then returns and lands on us.

This is, according to the abusive person, where it rightfully belongs.

But manipulation of truth is not the same thing as truth.

Yes, harmful, abusive individuals are primarily interested in manipulating how things appear.

We need to embrace this reality: people may believe the inaccurate portrayal.

They may, indeed, believe that we are evil Skeletor.

These are just a sampling of reasons as to why we are cast as an evil Skeletor.

So, what’s the solution?

Still, what are we to do?

What’s our response?

The antidote for conveniently evil?

Knowing who they are; knowing who we are.

Yes, first, it can help to know who “they” are.

When we see their insecurities, motives, and agendas in operation, that information can restore a sense of sanity to us.

We are not crazy. We are not “imagining things.” No, “they” are doing what they are doing.

It’s not a fair fight.

It was never designed to be that. It was designed to be a setup in which “they” would create, gain, and maintain an advantage at our expense, for a myriad of reasons.

And largely, we have little control over what “they” do if “they” are hellbent on making us their “conveniently evil” villain.

So, that leads to the more empowered component of what we can do.

We need to know who we are.

Who do we know ourselves to be? What are our values? What are our vulnerabilities? What sets us apart from anyone else?

These are the things we need to focus on, answer, and live life by. Someone else’s distorted agenda doesn’t change that.

By knowing ourselves and by knowing the nature of others—including those who wish us harm—we are better equipped to not fall for any distortion, which insists on telling us (and others) who we are.

But choices are still made, nonetheless—those of convenience and inconvenience. Intentionally made or unexamined.

Knowing who both they and we are will not necessarily change.

What is said, about us and to us, from another person.

What another person’s motives and action plans are.

How someone’s choice to cast us as “conveniently evil” can impact us.

How unfair the distortion of truth is.

Are we really an evil Skeletor?

Most of us could not simply answer “yes.” We know that there is more to a situation than that.

What are those things?

And what convenience, at our expense, is built into those things?


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