What It Feels Like to Be the Big Bad Wolf

By Merrick Foote

Sometimes I wonder if I enjoy hurting people. I put everyone around me in pain so often that it seems as if there couldn’t possibly be an explanation for it other than that I like it. And I don’t mean the typical punches and kicks that are usually associated with pain; no, I mean the words that cut like knives, stabbing emotions of sadness and anger into the minds of those I see throughout my day; I mean the betrayal and manipulation that permeates from my breath; I mean the ruination of other people’s days for seemingly no reason other than that I take pleasure from it. Though I do consider the possibility that I truly find hurting people fun, I always come to the same conclusion: I hate myself for not allowing others to be happy.

Of course, the usual culprits are still to blame in my case; fear, anger and jealousy all play a role in why I target others the way I do. While much of that is taken out on those who are better than me at certain things, just as much is released on those I subconsciously deem to be unworthy of my attention. I attack everyone around me, regardless of whether I judge them as better or worse than myself. Even though I inwardly compare them to my own personal standards, I still realize that in reality nobody is any better or worse than anyone else. It’s not that I just hate everyone; to the contrary, deep down I care very much for almost every person I talk to on a daily basis. It’s more that I’m simply incapable of outwardly showing how much I really care. No matter how hard I try to let people in and tell them how much they mean to me, I can never get myself to do that.

It all stems from the pit of turbulent emotions inside me. Unfortunately, it’s revealed as a deep unhappiness that radiates outwards, infecting everyone around me with the same joylessness I feel. I know that me being unhappy with my own life does not mean that everyone else has to be the same way, and yet I still instinctively try to drag people down to my level.

At my core all I want is to make people happy.

There are times when I successfully show how much I care. It manifests in little things like tying somebody else’s shoes, giving them a few encouraging words or making sure they’re alright after a hard day. But for every one of those moments, there are ten others in which I tear someone down. I try my best to be a good person but I almost always fall short of that goal. Many people dislike or even hate me for it, but I know that the disappointment I have for myself will always be stronger than their disappointment towards me is.

I have never been a risk taker. Vulnerability is too much for me to handle, and so I never allow anyone to really know who I am. I’ve lost those who I’ve been closest to simply because I could not find it within myself to let them know how much they meant to me. Instead I put up my walls and pretend like I don’t care because in my mind, the alternative was risking their betrayal. Even if there is a 99 percent chance that I won’t get hurt, I’m still so deterred by that remaining 1 percent that I choose to just hurt them first and avoid the risk.

In all honesty, over time I’ve come to accept this as my role in people’s lives. Of course, I strive to be a better person than I am, but I always remember that in every story there is both a hero and a villain. One cannot exist without the other.

In movies I almost always find myself taking the villain’s side. The rationales behind what they do are so much more interesting and thought-provoking than the classic “it’s the right thing to do” motivation of the hero. Whether it’s Thanos, Principal Rooney or the Big Bad Wolf, I’m always secretly rooting for them to beat the good guy. It’s not that I have anything against the heroes, it’s just that the villains’ motivations are more logical than their counterparts. Thanos just wanted to protect the universe from famine. Rooney was sick of kids ditching class. The Big Bad Wolf needed to eat. I can’t fault them for any of that; however, the hero running around and doing things just because they want the world to follow their own skewed moral compass is ridiculous to me.

I’ve realized that if I am the villain, then maybe there’s a reason for it. The villain always pushes the hero to be better than they were before, and maybe that’s what I need to do as well. The third little pig never would have realized that he needed to build a strong house if the Big Bad Wolf had not come along and eaten his brothers. So I’ll continue to huff, puff and blow houses down, just as long as it means that someone else is learning to be better. After all, not everyone can be the good guy.