Mindsets & Rationales That Lend Well To Villainy

A list of mindsets that can plausibly and realistically drive and motivate villainous behavior in a character, be it a highschool bully or a full-blown supervillain. Remember, with any sufficiently developed and realistic villain, any number of these will be present and overlap with each other.

Table of Contents

"You hurt me. Therefore, you deserve to be hurt back."

The belief that someone one has been wronged by deserves to be hurt back in kind… or with interest. Sometimes, it doesn't even have to be the individuals responsible for the initial act - sometimes, just another member of the same group will do.

"I'm not the problem - everyone else is."

The belief that it cannot be oneself or one's own ideas that are at fault, but rather that everyone else is in the wrong or is the problem.

"If others don't go along with what I say or want, it's because they're selfish/hate me."

The belief that those who fail to comply with one's orders or wishes do so out of selfishness or maliciousness.

"I can't trust others to make good decisions."

The belief that one is the only person (or at least, one of the very few) who should be allowed to make important decisions because everyone else is too incompetent, ignorant, selfish, short-sighted, etc. to be allowed to make decisions for themselves.

"If I have this power or advantage, it's because I deserve it and/or was meant to have it/do great things with it."

People tend to attach meaning and significance to random events - EG, the sole survivor of a horrific accident might assume there must have been a higher reason for it. Similarly, people with advantages and privileges may subconsciously (or even consciously!) believe that they've done something to earn them, even though the reasons for them may have little to nothing to do with the virtue of the people involved. (See also the Just World Fallacy.)

"I deserve to have it, and anyone who gets in my way is stopping me from getting what I'm entitled to."

Otherwise known as an "entitlement complex" or an "unwarranted sense of entitlement," the belief that one is owed or deserves something for one reason or another, and that anyone who stands in the way of getting it is an obstacle or even an enemy.

"It's okay if I do it because my intentions are pure."

Believing that one's actions are justified through perceived purity of intent - no matter what those actions are.

"If my actions hurt people, they deserved it anyway."

Justifying one's questionable actions by rationalizing that the recipients deserved it somehow or another.

"It doesn't concern me. Why should I care?"

Rationalizing that because other people's pain and suffering has no significant impact on oneself, it can be dismissed and ignored.

"Even if people are hurt, the end results will make up for it."

Or more commonly known as "the end justifies the means." However horrible the actions one takes are, one believes that they will be justified by the end results.

"You're getting too big for your boots. Someone needs to put you in your place."

The belief that anyone who acts in a manner that one perceives as too presumptuous or as overstepping their boundaries in some way must be punished or disciplined for it, regardless of the actual harm of the action deemed improper. Reasons for this can vary - the offended party may feel threatened by the actions of the other, or society as a whole may just perceive someone acting this way as an inherently 'bad' thing that must be corrected.

"You are a piece of trash and deserve to be treated like it."

The belief that someone is fundamentally bad or flawed in some way, and that because of this, all sorts of petty, callous, or cruel actions are justified.

"Deep inside, everyone is just like me. I'm just one of the few people who is actually honest about it."

The belief that others are just like oneself in some or most ways, and that if they say or act otherwise, they're lying, pretending, or are in denial.

"I am in a position of authority; therefore, unconditional respect is mandatory."

The belief and expectation that because one is in a position that is typically considered to command authority or deference, that one is entitled to respect no matter what one does simply because one is in that position - whereas in reality, if one fails to satisfactorily meet the responsibilities associated with that position, then others are well within their rights to lose respect for, and in some cases even depose the person in question.

"They have terrible intentions!"

In a nutshell, good old-fashioned paranoia in general. This can range from minor incidents being perceived as far more threatening than they really are, or even someone believing elaborate delusions with absolutely no basis in fact at all.

If you liked this, you might also be interested in:

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