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When You Are The Villain In Someone's Story

If you have found this article, you have probably found yourself the villain in someone else’s story. You are the bad guy and it really doesn’t feel good.

Unless you have done something egregious (like violate someone’s rights), whatever you have done has probably been done before. One of the most common ways that a person ends up a villain is when they lay down a solid boundary with someone else.

This means you have said “no” to something, ended a relationship, or rejected someone in some way. How do you cope with this situation?

Start By Reflecting

If you are the villain in someone else’s story, first you need to decide if you did harm to the other person. If so, is the harm repairable? If you think it might be, you can try some communication techniques to begin the conversation.

If you have reflected, and decide that you have not done harm, then consider how important this relationship is to you. Do you feel like this person is someone you would like to work with. If so, and this person is safe, don’t be afraid to start the conversation. It is just a small discomfort for you to face someone and figure out how to clear up the problems.

But what if you are done? What if this is not a repairable situation and you are no longer interested in working things out with this person?  

Since you have reflected, you will know that this is the best choice for you.

Let Time Do It's Work

If you are done with this relationship, and they are out there telling others about how you have done them wrong, slow down. The best thing you can do is to not discuss this situation with many people. You are done and you do not need to talk about it or defend yourself. The less you say the better.

If you have to discuss it with someone, seek out a therapist or counselor who can help you process your emotions. If you have people you know you can trust to keep your point of view to themselves, then it is okay to confide in them. Just really keep your conversation about this person to a minimum so they cannot collect evidence or ammunition against you. Anytime that you talk and it gets back to them, they will weaponize your words further and do what they can to paint themselves as the victim.

What you need to do is be patient and allow the other person to just be who they are. If you know that this person has been toxic, then they will continue to be toxic with others. You do not need to prove this, just allow time to pass and they will prove who they are.

Take Care of Yourself

You might not ever be proven “right” to let this person out of your life (usually, though, they show who they are). Also, you might never get closure that proves you were not “the bad guy.” What you CAN do, though, is take care of yourself.

Remember, you are not going to gossip about this person, you are going to let time do its work. Also, if you are someone’s bad guy, you’ve been through something serious, possibly even traumatic. This means that you need to really work on processing what is going on and moving on with your life. You need to heal and decide what your life looks like. 

You Can Handle Being the Villain

When I became the “villain” in someone else’s story, I was devastated that someone in the world might not actually like me. In fact, someone in the world HATED me! It was like my whole identity was called into question. 

But here’s the thing; if you are pleasing everyone, then your identity is already lost and your boundaries are not clear with others. It is natural that you will be disliked by others and even a key player in their lives as a “bad guy.” 

What others think about you really is none of your business. All you need to to is understand yourself the best you can, know your values, and stay true to yourself and it will all work out. 

Dr. Autumn Thomas

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