2022-08-25
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If you were drawn to this article, perhaps you’ve encountered an evil person. We love to give them labels and excuses instead of calling them out for what they are – just plain evil. The evil person in your life might be a boss, a sibling, a spouse, a neighbor, a co-worker, or even your mom or dad.

How do you know if you’re dealing with someone truly evil? Evil people will not accept responsibility for their actions. They lack empathy and enjoy manipulating others. They blame everyone for their failures. They often have an exaggerated self-image of themselves. They pretend to be good and generous, but it’s all about appearances for them. Evil people tend to be greedy and cheap with their money. They are malignant narcissists who love to make everything about them. And lastly, evil people lie.

This last one might sound simplistic. We’ve all told a lie here and there in our life. Does that mean we are all evil? Hardly. But evil people build their lives around lying. They lie to themselves and others about everything. M. Scott Peck wrote a fantastic book on the problem of evil called People of the Lie. He named it that because he determined from his years as a psychiatrist studying evil people that the one thing they all had in common was a persistent need to lie. The following highlights steps you can take to protect yourself from the evil person in your life.

Don’t rely on them.

You can not rely on these people for anything. They will use it as a way to gain power over you or to hurt you. Remember, when dealing with an evil person, everything is about them. They only consider people in terms of what others can do for them.

Evil people are incredibly concerned with appearances. They want to appear to be good people. They want others to envy them. Therefore, they will often live above their means. They will brag about their life and inflate their success. When they volunteer or give to charity, they practically shout it from the rooftops. If someone compliments them, they tell everyone about it. Since they don’t understand the meaning of love, they will only associate with people who can do something for them or make them look good.

Since everything is always about them, evil people are greedy and cheap with their money. If they do act generous – such as a large donation to charity or a big tip at a company dinner – it’s only to look good in front of others. But at their heart, they don’t like parting with their money. If you rely on them for anything, they will use this to manipulate you and strip you of self-control and personal strength.

Don’t believe their lies.

Evil people lie. It’s a simple fact. They will say and do anything to get their way. They use lies to control, manipulate, inflate themselves and hurt you. If you have to deal with an evil person, it is this need to lie that can be the most difficult to deal with. An evil person who is caught red-handed will lie about it and blame others with such conviction that you walk away feeling confused and unsure about everything.

They are masters at convincing others they aren’t the problem, that they aren’t wrong. Therefore, the most important way to begin dealing with evil people in your life is to recognize them for who they are. Take away all their excuses – their crappy childhood, their perceived lack of opportunity, their failures, their health issues, and on and on – strip that all away and see them for what they really are – just plain evil. This realization will act like armor for you. It will protect you from accepting and buying into their lies.

Don’t confront them.

Evil people tend to see others as evil and the source of their problems. They are not capable of seeing it in themselves. This is why it’s fairly pointless to confront an evil person with the truth. They will never see it, own it, validate it or apologize. Instead, you will walk away from this confrontation feeling shaken, confused, disoriented and questioning your sanity. Don’t try to convince an evil person they are wrong. Don’t try to argue with them or point out to them how they’ve hurt you. It is a waste of your time and energy. Evil people will never, ever own up to their sins.

Evil people enjoy controlling others. There’s the teacher who sets impossibly high standards and enjoys watching her students try – and fail – to meet them. The church leader who uses misguided faith to control what everyone believes. The parent who controls every aspect of their child’s life, from the style of clothing and friends to afterschool activities and grades. And if you waste your energy pointing this out to them, they will lie, deny and blame until you are left feeling as though everything is your fault. If you need validation that you’re dealing with an evil person, seek it through a trained therapist. You will never get the validation you deserve from the evil person.

Don’t expect them to change.

Evil people tend to enjoy being exactly as they are. They don’t change. It is a waste of your time to put your hopes, expectations and energy into the fantasy that they will change. Put all that hope and change into you instead. Evil people are mentally strong. They submit only to their own will and their needs. They tend to enjoy a fight and will not back down. They also enjoy starting fights among others. Think of the evil boss who enjoys pitting co-workers against each other. Or the malignant parent who manipulates siblings into competing for parental love and approval. The evil coach who uses blame, humor and teasing to make a team member the scapegoat for a game loss.

Rather than hoping or expecting them to change, focus instead on yourself. It can be sad to let this dream go. In his groundbreaking book Fantasy Bonds, Dr. Firestone writes, “Most people are afraid of leading separate, independent lives and cling to fantasies of love which offer the illusion and false promise of connection.” You deserve better than relying on an old fantasy that he will change or that she will suddenly wake up and become the loving person you know she’s capable of. This is not going to happen. Wake up out of your illusions and focus on yourself and your happiness. Do not expect anyone else, least of all an evil person, to fulfill your needs.

Don’t take their words and actions personally.

We’ve already determined that evil people lie and manipulate to get what they want. So why would you believe their words about you? If they lie about everything, then everything they say to you is also a lie. , “Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their minds. Taking things personally makes you easy prey for these predators, the black magicians. They can hook you easily with one little opinion and feed you whatever poison they want, and because you take it personally, you eat it up. But if you do not take it personally, you are immune in the middle of hell.”

The effects of living with an evil person can feel impossible to overcome. The husband who spends a lifetime downgrading his wife by telling her she’s ugly, lazy, or useless is a murderer of a different sort. He has murdered her will, her courage, her belief in herself. Evil people can break a person’s spirit without ever leaving a physical mark or scar as evidence. But if you don’t take their actions and words personally, you will turn those scars into armor and shield yourself from any future abuse as you live a life of joy.

Create distance.

Dr. Peck writes, “Evil is dangerous. It will contaminate or destroy a person who remains too long in its presence.” If possible, the best way to deal with an evil person is to not deal with them at all. Distance yourself as best as you can from the evil person. Don’t confide in them. Don’t put your trust in them. Never be vulnerable with them. Set good, firm boundaries. Don’t have any expectations of kindness or support. Do not hope that they will change. Instead, focus on yourself and make you as strong as you can be. You can still empathize with the evil person. It’s got to be awful to live life the way they do – devoid of any love or compassion.

You can love them from afar and pray for them. Try to recognize any positives from your encounters with them. You’re stronger because of them. You’re probably more independent because you’ve had to be. Evil people truly enjoy seeing others be miserable. So, if you have to deal with an evil person, the best thing to do is to ignore them. Shine your light so brightly that their words, deeds, lies and manipulations bounce right off you and return to them.

Accept them as they are and move on.

We often think evil people are the ones who commit horrible crimes, but evil is often very ordinary. Think of the evil woman who spends years telling her kids they are no good, they’ve ruined her life and that they’ll amount to nothing. This woman might be beautiful. Maybe she goes to church every Sunday and brings soup to sick friends and homemade bread to welcome new neighbors. But she’s still evil, and her broken children are the proof of that.

M. Scott Peck writes in his book, “To come to terms with evil in one’s parentage is perhaps the most difficult and painful psychological fact a human being can be called on to face.” Many grown children refuse to accept the fact that an evil parent raised them. So, instead, they take on the blame for themselves and go through life apologizing for their existence. You are stronger than this. Accept the evil person in your life as they are and leave it. Spend the rest of your life focusing on you, not them – your healing, your strength, your joy.

Live a life of joy.

It’s often said the greatest trick the devil ever pulled off was convincing us that he doesn’t exist. The same holds for evil people. Khalil Gibran taught us that “out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” It’s never easy encountering an evil person. But always remember that you have the power to let people in – or out – of your life.

Recognize and validate for yourself the impact this person had on your life, and then distance yourself from them and live a life of joy. In the words of the singer Jewel, “No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from. Fill your lives with love and bravery and you shall lead a life uncommon.”

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