Self Expression Magazine

Done Being The Bad Guy

Posted on the 23 October 2020 by Littleredbek

Today has been a tough day for me; mentally and emotionally. I feel so drained and so absolutely consumed by the tears that I couldn’t stop from falling.

I recently decided to bow out of several relationships that felt so toxic and for the first time in a long time, I felt content. I didn’t wake up every day wondering if I was going to say the wrong thing, or if my words would be taken out of context. I didn’t have to worry about seeing things that would upset me and cause me to continually question my worth in the world. Then, against my better judgement, I was forced to reconcile and to try to move on and forgive. The thing is, I wanted to – part of me hoped that perhaps my concerns, my feelings of never being good enough would be magically thrown to the wind and I’d never have to fear again that I’d be the one to cause so much hurt and pain, as I’d always been told I had.

The thing is, with a month to think over, to have time without constantly fearing I was going to cause more pain and hurt, I realised something. People who constantly feel the need to bring you down, to misconstrue your actions and words, only do so because it justifies their poor behavior. After all, if you have someone who genuinely believes they are a terrible human being after years of being singled out, then it means you don’t have to apologize for any of your own wrongdoings. It means that you always have a scapegoat and a gullible, self loathing human who will willingly and openly go out of their way to apologize for all actions big and small. It means you can continue to use them as an example of a terrible, mean and hateful person – and use that person as a proverbial measuring stick for others. It means that you can generate fear in others, fear that if they step out of line or stand up for themselves, they too will need to learn how to constantly apologize for actions and reactions that don’t fit with the status quo.

Someone long ago once told me, ‘no one really wants to hear your brutal honesty’. Not that my honesty was wrong but that people don’t want the truth as bare and naked as I laid it out. In fact, if anyone threatened a life of constant self deceit, it meant that person was the bad guy – after all, most people would rather a lie that made them smile than a truth that made them cry. When I expressed my anger at this, at how stupid the world must be if this was true, it somehow also stirred something deep inside, for I knew this was the plain and simple reality of the world and society we live in. This is where herd mentality kicks in, where being in a safe and comfortable house of only people who idolise you or refuse to speak out against you, is so important to this situation. As long as you are cordial, quiet and polite, it’s easy to stay friends with everyone. The truth is, it’s easier to talk negatively about someone behind their back, than to address the issues to their face. It’s easier to single out those that don’t subscribe to this mentality, and try to bully them into submission, when they get tired of constantly explaining themselves, tired of having to apologize and tired of always being the bad guy. The problem is, everyone has a breaking point and it just so happens today I found mine.

After thirty years of this, of this constant desire to be loved and this constant understanding that no matter how hard I tried, how many mountains I moved and how many apologies I gave or tears I cried, I realised that I could actually just bow out. I could actually just say, I’m done – I’m done being the bad guy. Because the thing is, as much as you want to hope perhaps these people do love you and do think highly of you, the reality is, if they did, they wouldn’t make you feel so terrible in almost every interaction with them. They wouldn’t sit you down and hammer you in a public setting with your peers, and pick apart your personality, your choices, your decisions and make you feel like utter shit. They wouldn’t constantly be so willing to force you to apologize time and time again in front of an audience, while not admitting any fault or flaws of their own. They wouldn’t tell you to be quiet while they picked apart everything you did over an hour, and know that when it was over you wouldn’t have enough energy or resilience to respond with anything other than incomprehensible words of nonesense fueled by frustration.

They wouldn’t then move on to their next victim when they knew they couldn’t contact you, and put the next person through the exact same treatment they put on you. They wouldn’t use your name in heated arguments, stating that their next victim was ‘exactly like Rebecca’, when she disagreed with their choices or spoke ill of one of the few precious in their inner circle, untainted by any of the evils in the world.

As someone, who I once loved dearly told me, “people don’t forget how you make them feel – and you have made people feel like shit too many times for them to forget.” Regardless of the numerous apologies, the trying to rationalise and empathise, or the years of constantly throwing money and time at these people to show them I was growing and learning, I’ve decided my only option is to leave. I’m always the first to admit fault and apologise, and the few times I’ve stood up and spoken my truth after years of feeling used and sidelined, I’ve been made to retreat into my little house of constant apology to ensure I knew my place was not to speak out and vocalise the pain and hurt I felt. I was made to believe that I somehow manipulated relationships so much, that I had almost ruined marriages. Instead of these people looking in to themselves, in to their own lives and choices, their own discongruence with the reality they lived in versus the fantasy they thought they did, it was easier to point the finger and put blame on the person who was willing to point out the hypocrisy.

I don’t know the amount of times I pointed out that things I had said or words that were spoken, must have been misconstrued because I never had any malicious or hurtful intent. I would re-read messages ten times over, trying to understand how anyone could take them the wrong way, and coming up blank. I knew me, and I knew my intentions and my words were never meant to be hurtful or hateful. It constantly astounded me that somehow everything I said or did was taken the wrong way – and I wondered how it was possible that these people who claimed they loved me, were the very same people that thought I was some malicious, cold hearted bitch on a mission to hurt as many people as possible. It just didn’t make sense to me.

See, if someone I know who is good and well intentioned, says something or does something that I perhaps don’t understand, I give them the benefit of the doubt. I put my faith first in the person they are – and then try to view their actions through their lense. I don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that that person is suddenly a horrible and merciless arsehole, in fact, that’s usually my last line of thinking if it arises at all. Yet for some reason, these people, would take any minor thing I did or said, and turn it into a soap opera of entirely negative intentions on my part. I got so tired of always having to defend myself, to people that supposedly loved me but also thought I was a villain full of ill desires to destroy someones happiness. If i was this horrible person they kept making me out to be, then why the fuck was I still in their lives? Why hadn’t they gotten rid of me with the bathwater, or with other family members they decided were toxic and hurtful? Why keep me around if I’m only ever hurting people? I suppose I should have realised sooner that every good story needs a villain, and since all the other villains had been long gone, they needed someone new -someone who hated themselves enough to allow themselves to be constantly thrown under the bus, to make everyone else feel safe and warm. Someone they could pin their hate on, when they needed the world to feel sorry for them. Who better than the person who was taught to hate herself from the moment she could remember? Someone who was vocal, and passionate and mentally fucked up. And when she’s down and broken, it was ok because there was one just like her who was ripe for picking.

Rather than allowing these people to use my words against me, to use this as ammunition to justify their treatment of me, I’ve just decided the best option for everyone involved is for me to leave. To wipe my hands and say, I’m done hating myself to justify your treatment of me. And yes, it fucking hurts, and yes I fucking think I am the bad guy, but maybe that’s because those I love the most have spent years reinforcing that idea.

So here I am, the villain of their story, finally defeated and bowing out. Because perhaps, I deserve to be the good guy in my own story, and it seems that I can’t be both at the same time.


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